‘Our efforts are far from over’: Responsible drinking alliance highlights 2015 progress

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

IARD highlights 2015 progress

Related tags Drinking culture Diageo

The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking – a group supported by global alcohol beverage companies including AB InBev, Heineken and Diageo – says ‘good progress’ has been made on a set of commitments to reduce alcohol related harm. 

The 2015 Producers’ Commitments Report outlines the efforts companies have made in five areas (such as reducing underage drinking and strengthening marketing codes of practice).

Signatories are working towards a global target to reduce alcohol-related harm by 10% by 2025.

Twelve global alcohol beverage companies are signatories to the commitments: Anheuser-Busch InBev; Asahi Group Holdings; Bacardi; Beam Suntory; Brown-Forman Corporation; Carlsberg; Diageo; Heineken; Kirin Holdings Company; Molson Coors; Pernod Ricard; and SABMiller.

In 2012, the group of beer, wine and spirits producers embarked on a five-year program to tackle the harmful use of alcohol.

“While there is still much work ahead of us, good progress has been made to achieve the 5-year targets (2013-2017) set out in our Commitments to Reduce Harmful Drinking,” ​said Carlos Brito, chair of the group and CEO of AB InBev.

The report shows that, in 2015, there were 257 underage education initiatives implemented: a 49% increase on the year before. The number of countries engaged increased from 57 to 82.

The IARD says that programs have directly engaged almost 30m ‘adult influencers’ (for example parents, teachers and community leaders) while reaching 192m addition individuals.

The 5 commitments are:

Reducing underage drinking

Strengthening and expanding marketing codes of practice

Providing consumer information and responsible product innovation

Reducing drinking and driving

Enlisting the support of retailers to reduce harmful drinking

“The responsible drinking initiatives we have developed around the world in response to this important global public health issue are gaining momentum, within many different cultures with unique challenges,” ​said Brito.  

“It is particularly gratifying to see some of our programs not only being continued year after year but also being expanded.

"However, we do not claim this success as our own. It has been achieved in collaboration with an ever-increasing number of industry associations, governments, NGOs, and retailers who are as determined as we are to encourage responsible drinking.

"Our efforts are far from over.”

Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes also pledged the industry will continue to address harmful drinking. "While we have made good progress, there is still more work to be done,"​ he said.

An example of a Diageo initiative is 'Smashed', a theatre and education programme to inform young people about the dangers of alcohol. It was launched in the UK a decade ago and and is being rolled out globally.

The report can be read in full here.