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Our ability to help create a more positive role for alcohol in society depends to a great extent on a balanced regulatory framework within which alcoholic beverages are responsibly made, marketed, sold and consumed.
We partner with many stakeholders to help define and deliver policies that encourage responsibility – by industry, government and our consumers. Recognising that there are diverse views on the proper way to address alcohol-related issues, we work to foster balanced debate and broad stakeholder dialogue.
Nonetheless, to ensure a sustainable future for our industry, we think it is vital to establish consensus on public policy issues such as responsible marketing and retailing, drink-driving, legal purchase age, labelling and tax policy, as well as on other regulatory measures such as how to deal with non-commercial alcohol. Non-commercial alcohol is defined as traditional drinks produced for home consumption or local trade, unregistered and counterfeit products, and ‘surrogate’ alcohol derived from medicinal compounds, automotive products, cosmetics and other substances.
We therefore support effective and targeted alcohol policies at both global and national level. To be effective, we believe such policies must:
We recognise the importance of having strong industry codes in the countries in which we operate, and work in partnership with self-regulatory bodies, the World Federation of Advertisers and industry groups to establish them. We are working with the International Center for Alcohol Policy to strengthen self-regulation systems for responsible marketing in more than 10 countries (see: www.global-actions.org).
We continue to work with our stakeholders to promote effective alcohol policies and aim to address concerns in the marketplace through active stakeholder engagement and partnership. This year we were involved in two particularly significant partnerships, working with industry on helping member states implement the World Health Organisation’s Global Alcohol Strategy and the UK’s Responsibility Deal.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched its Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol in May 2010 to address alcohol misuse around the world. Together with other major international drinks companies, national trade associations and domestic companies, we aim to work constructively with WHO member states to support implementation of the Global Strategy by contributing to realistic, effective policies and programmes to prevent and reduce harmful drinking.
This year we took part in a number of regional industry consultations organised by the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), to raise industry bodies’ collective level of awareness of and engagement in the Strategy. ICAP is a not-for-profit organisation, supported by major producers of beverage alcohol that promotes dialogue between the drinks industry, research and public health communities, government, and civil society in developing alcohol policy around the world. It is the lead organisation for implementing the Global Actions on Harmful Drinking.
During these consultations we shared examples of our responsible drinking initiatives that could be considered best practice in the areas of underage drinking, drink-driving and industry self-regulation. We also presented participants with an overview of the Global Actions. This work is the result of a collective commitment by chief executives of major international drinks producers to make a significant and meaningful effort to address harmful drinking through a combination of global and local initiatives, with a particular emphasis on low- and middle-income countries. It addresses three areas: self-regulation of advertising and marketing; drink driving; and research and action on non-commercial alcohol.
This initiative, announced by UK Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley in March 2011, shows how partnership and challenge can be the most effective way of tackling some public health objectives. Working in partnership with members of the voluntary sector, business, industry and the retail sector, the Responsibility Deal is able to deliver faster and better results than a regulatory route, which is not always available.
Within the Responsibility Deal, Diageo is specifically focusing on fostering a culture of responsible drinking, which will help people to drink within guidelines. Together with others in the drinks industry Diageo has made collective pledges in terms of alcohol labeling, consumer information at point of sale in the on and off trade, funding of Drinkaware Trust and ‘Why let the good times go bad?’ campaign, prevention of under-age sales, responsible marketing of alcohol, and local community actions to prevent social and health harms. Additionally, Diageo has made individual pledges including funding support for NOFAS and the nationwide expansion of the Best Bar None scheme.
Over the years, we have helped establish many social aspects organisations (SAOs). These are industry-funded organisations that work with government, the private sector and NGOs to promote responsible drinking and tackle alcohol misuse. We have worked with SAOs to develop codes of responsible marketing and raise awareness about responsible drinking. Following is a list of our SAO memberships as of 30 June 2011, plus links to their websites.
Diageo believes that we work best when we work together. Responsible use of alcohol is a hot-button issue in Mexico.
© Diageo plc 2011