As part of its effort to create a positive role for alcohol in the society through partnerships and programmes, Diageo Plc, a global leader in beverage alcohol, has joined International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) to commemorate the second year of the Beer, Wine and Spirits Producers' Commitments to reduce harmful drinking.
The Beer, Wine and Spirits Producers' Commitments to reduce harmful drinking is an ambitious programme of actions aimed at reducing harmful drinking over a five-year period which started in 2013 and will end in 2017. The IARD is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the global public health issue of harmful drinking and to promoting responsible drinking.
The programme, coordinated by IARD, is in line with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. It also conforms to the target set for governments around the world by WHO to achieve a 10 per cent reduction in harmful drinking by 2025.
Mr. Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive Officer, Diageo, said "We are two years into the most ambitious initiative the industry has ever collectively undertaken to address harmful drinking and, while we have made good progress, there is still more work to be done. And we will do more.
"The second year of collaboration has encouraged us that through partnerships even more can be achieved and we will continue to work in communities across the world to reduce harmful drinking," Menezes said.
Presenting the programme's 2014 Progress Report, Ann Keeling, President/Chief Executive Officer, IARD, said; "We believe that addressing harmful drinking must involve all sectors of society—governments, civil society, and the private sector—and are therefore pleased that the CEOs of the major alcohol-producing companies have agreed to a set of five commitments to address harmful drinking in a five-year programme of work."
Notable in the report is the producers' progress in supporting the reduction of underage drinking. Signatory companies have undertaken 180 underage drinking prevention education programs around the world, with the programme having a monumental influence in the development of a legal purchasing age policy in Vietnam in 2014. Other far-reaching successes highlighted in the report include substantial efforts made at reaching out to people on the dangers of drink-driving, launching of an alcohol education guide and establishment of digital guiding principles for alcohol producers.
Diageo, in collaboration with other alcoholic producers, embarked on a wide range of activities in the global campaign against harmful drinking and the misuse of alcohol. Such activities included steady liaison with retailers and marketers on the need not to sell alcoholic drinks to persons below the approved legal age, public enlightenment shows, and use of media platforms, and social media campaigns informing the public on the dangers of excess alcoholic consumption.
By the end of the second year of the programme, Diageo and other signatory companies had increased the reach of underage education programmes, doubling the number of young people and tripling the number of adults reached. They had also launched the first ever global digital guiding principles to ensure a consistent approach to responsible marketing online and collectively ran over 375 drink driving prevention programmes.
Diageo has also prepared itself to move beyond industry-wide commitments so that from 2015, the company will work in partnership with support programmes to address harmful drinking in its top 20 selling countries. By 2020, the company also aims to reach one million adults with training materials that will enable them to champion responsible drinking.