Moderate & Responsible Drinking

As part of the SABMiller group, these are the six core principles on alcohol which set the standard for our personal and commercial conduct, and guide our commitment to reducing alcohol abuse in South Africa:

  • Our beer adds to the enjoyment of life for the overwhelming majority of our consumers
  • We care about the harmful effects of irresponsible alcohol consumption
  • We engage stakeholders and work collectively with them to address irresponsible consumption
  • Alcohol consumption is for adults and is a matter of individual judgment and accountability
  • Information provided to consumers about alcohol consumption should be accurate and balanced
  • We expect our employees to aspire to high levels of conduct in relation to alcohol consumption

These same six principles are integral to choices we’ve made around the kind of programmes we are investing in. They also shape our approach to partnerships with stakeholders.

A focused, multi-faceted approach

Underpinned by bold new action plans, SAB is determined to combat alcohol abuse with a multi-faceted approach that has a real impact on society and goes beyond just communication and education. The three key dimensions to SAB’s strategy to counteract the negative effects of alcohol abuse are to:

Lead by example

This starts with our employees. The focus is primarily on a comprehensive understanding of alcohol issues and SAB’s stance when it comes to these issues, a zero-tolerance approach towards driving under the influence of alcohol and ensuring responsible marketing at all times.

Employee alcohol programme
Living the example starts at home base

SAB’s employee alcohol programme falls under one of the three dimensions of our alcohol strategy – Living the Example. Here, we are leveraging internal motivation to make a difference, having found that there is already enthusiasm for driving the reduction in alcohol related issues. Our people, who we consider leaders in their own right, are keen to contribute positively to living the example.

In view of this, we’ve reconfirmed and refined our internal codes of behaviour around alcohol. We believe they are now the most stringent in our industry. For one, there’s a clear policy of zero-tolerance for drunk driving by our employees, which is supported by a sponsored programme to assist employees in getting home when they have consumed alcohol.

To ensure we equip our people with the most up-to-date and relevant information in a quick-change environment, and that we constantly refresh our commitment, every single employee—from the shop floor up to board level— undergo compulsory training annually on responsible alcohol consumption, behaviour and commercial practices. This training is supported by ongoing awareness campaigns and random alcohol testing.

Champion co-regulation

SAB is boosting resources to build partnerships with government and the industry as ultimately our success in driving real impact in the fight against alcohol abuse relies on a coordinated joint effort involving all key role-players. We are also continuing our drive to advance normalisation of the liquor industry.

Invest in real impact programmes

SAB’s investment in real impact programmes aimed at changing behaviours and attitudes prioritises drunk driving, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Responsible Trading and underage drinking.

Responsible Marketing

Vital to SAB’s strategy is a thorough review of the company’s marketing practices, which includes regular independent evaluation.

Responding to concerns raised by communities around the density of billboards, particularly in areas with high poverty rates and high rates of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), we’ve renewed our commitment to removing and/or reducing billboard advertising from areas like these.

We’ve also boosted the prominence of our responsible alcohol message on advertising in line with the recommendations of the Industry Association for Responsible Use of Alcohol (ARA).

Tighter industry advertising regulations

Internally, a number of years ago we instituted an evaluation process where our marketing programmes are scrutinized on a regular basis to ensure we comply with our stringent code of commercial communication (in line with the ARA recommendations) – we have employed the assistance of an independent external expert to be the deciding judge.

Encouraged by the response of our stakeholders and the support we’ve received from our industry counterparts through the ARA, we know that what we are doing is meaningful.

Respecting non-drinkers and minors

We respect the choice of non-drinkers and are committed to not exerting any form of pressure or influence to alter individual choice. We will also not engage in practices that can be construed in any way as driving the recruitment of those below the legal drinking age.

These issues have been policy in our business for some time and we hold ourselves to stringent account where these are concerned.

Responsible Trader Programme

In 2011, SAB launched its Responsible Trader Programme (RTP), a high impact and holistic approach to engaging liquor traders on alcohol abuse and the harm it causes communities. A first of its kind in South Africa, the programme actively position the liquor trader as a champion in the fight against alcohol abuse and highlights the importance of trading responsibly to ensure the sustainability of the businesses of liquor traders.

Some of the issues dealt with in the programme include intoxicated customers, underage drinking, drinking and driving and pregnant women and drinking.

SAB developed the RTP in response to our deep concern about the harm alcohol abuse can cause to individuals, families and communities. Its objective is to encourage self-regulation amongst traders by creating awareness of the social, health and economic consequences of irresponsible trading. Added to the devastating impact of alcohol abuse on communities and individuals, irresponsible traders face tough consequences for their behaviour, including the potential loss of their trading license and in turn, a loss in income.

SAB believes that the most effective way to address alcohol abuse is through targeted interventions, such as the Responsible Trader Programme, which focus on those drinking patterns that are associated with harm. Proven approaches include improved education, good enforcement and strong self-regulation. These are approaches that SAB seeks to drive through its ongoing alcohol strategy, on which the company has spent more than R100-million since its inception in 2009.

To date more than 13 700 liquor traders have been exposed to the programme.  More than 7000 traders have taken part in survey assessments following the training sessions to determine programme impact with 81% of traders scoring more than 80% on the assessment.

To read more, go to: A Sociable World

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