On the back of the Easter holidays, the South African Breweries (SAB) has reaffirmed its values and drive to tackle harmful consumption of alcohol. This challenge is not a seasonal one but one they believe should be tackled through a collaborative effort with various stakeholders to save lives and livelihoods alike. One of the key aspects of tackling this challenge is about focusing on the RESPONSIBILITY of retailers, as their role is critical, they are the centre of ensuring that our brands are enjoyed in a safe and legal environment for all
Barbara Copelovici, the Director of Entrepreneurship at SAB says, “We all need to play our part to reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol. The future is hopeful, recovery is possible but we need to take lessons from the past to rebuild for the future. The industry simply cannot sustain another ban.”
Introducing the Responsible Trading Programme
SAB is introducing the Industry Responsible Trading Programme, which will reward retailers who truly champion the reduction of harmful consumption of alcohol. SAB is calling on all alcohol retailers to actively participate in this programme as it has the power to highlight the role they play in addressing sustainably harmful consumption.
“We know that retailers are key pillars of their communities. Not only do they create lasting jobs and value for the economy, but we also want them to become agents of change in communities by championing responsible consumption,” says Copelovici.
The Responsible Trading Programme will celebrate responsible traders by creating a reputation label for responsible retailers. Consumers, government, private sector and the civil society will also be educated on the reputation label.
“By identifying traders by their level of responsibility, we can hopefully inspire communities to support those retailers that are truly supporting them. By doing this, we can educate our retailers and give them the knowledge and tools they need to improve their status,” says Copelovici.
Retailers will be awarded either silver, gold or platinum statuses, based on their level of proactiveness in reducing harmful consumption of alcohol and related risks in their outlets
“Of course we will be implementing rigorous and credible channels to assess the level of outlets and will constantly incentivise retailers to strive to become platinum by rewarding their progress,” says Copelovici.
COVID-19 is still is a threat
It doesn’t matter how low the infection numbers are, Copelovici warns traders to remain vigilant. “As long as we are still in lockdown, and even after the fact, traders should all continue to strictly enforce COVID-19 precautionary measures.”
As an industry, Copelovici says a lot of thought has been put into ensuring that retail outlets like taverns, microbreweries, distillers, and wine sellers are included in the current regulations and that the tavern space, with the right support, is recognised as one which trade can happen safely.
“We need to continue minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19, while still allowing for economic activity to resume. This means sanitising customers and staff regularly, washing hands, adhering to curfew, and maintaining proper social distancing within your establishment. We also encourage traders, and consumers, to continue using click and collect services like Firsti,” says Copelovici.
Traders need to be part of the solution
Going forward, and as the country prepares for a possible third wave going into the cold winter months, Copelovici believes the alcohol industry can lead by example and avoid another ban – saving lives and livelihoods.
“Through our programmes and engagements, we want to make sure we create a world where every experience with beer is a positive one. That is why we believe that smart drinking choices affect everyone and it starts at every level of the alcohol industry,” says Copelovici.
She calls on all communities to be responsible and report and act against anyone who contravenes the regulations and laws linked to the sale and consumption of alcohol on 0800 014 858.
This hotline is administered by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, who will liaise with law enforcement on reported cases.