Responsible Use of Alcohol

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We’ve made discouraging irresponsible drinking one of our top sustainable development priorities, and the reason is simple: When people drink too much, they can hurt themselves, other people and their communities. No one benefits, not even us.

Our approach to helping reduce alcohol harm requires regular reviews of our commercial governance practices to reflect society’s expectations. We believe that our policies on employee behaviour, commercial communication and product innovation are at the cutting edge of our industry, as is the company wide training programme that reinforces our beliefs in this area.

Different things work in different markets, so our efforts are locally designed and run with help from local partners. They are all built on our six core principles on alcohol, which are:

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

We tackle the issue of responsible drinking through the following educational programmes:

Consumer Information

Consumers should make informed decisions about alcohol consumption based on accurate and balanced information. Consumers are in the best position to judge the personal risks and benefits of drinking alcohol and the need to adjust their drinking when personal circumstances change. We will be truthful and not mislead consumers in our advertising about the risks of alcohol consumption. We will further engage with stakeholders to promote alcohol responsibility.

Underage Drinking

People who are under the legal drinking age should not drink alcohol, and laws preventing the access of alcohol to underage people should be strictly enforced. We support efforts to raise awareness among parents, retailers and other adults about the risks of underage drinking. Although to our knowledge studies indicate that advertising has a negligible, if any, influence on underage drinking, we do not and will not target our marketing to anyone under the legal drinking age.

Drinking and Driving

People who are drunk should not drive. We respect the drink driving laws of our country, including maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits for drivers, and we encourage enforcement of those laws. We encourage targeted education and intervention programmes that encourage people not to drive while drunk. We support these programmes by not portraying drink driving as acceptable behaviour in our marketing.

HIV/Aids and Alcohol

Swaziland Beverages has a strong interest in combating HIV/Aids and reducing the impact of the disease on our Kingdom and her people. The consumption of alcohol does not result in a person contracting HIV/Aids. However, a person who drinks irresponsibly may indulge in risky sexual behaviour which increases the risk of them contracting HIV/Aids, particularly in high-prevalence areas.

Binge Drinking

Whether labelled as ‘binge drinking’ or ‘alcohol abuse’, any pattern of drinking that involves rapid intoxication or intoxication for an extended period of time carries the potential for considerable social, psychological, and physical harm and should be avoided. Though we recognise that consumers are ultimately responsible for their own drinking decisions, we will work to create an environment through our marketing where alcohol consumption is depicted in socially responsible settings and quantities. Information provided to consumers about alcohol consumption should be accurate and balanced, and we will take steps to engage stakeholders to help prevent irresponsible consumption.

Alcohol and Violence

We acknowledge that while alcohol does not cause violence, some people who commit acts of violence might have also consumed alcohol. The relationship between alcohol consumption and violent behaviours is, however, an extremely complex interaction of biochemical, psychological, situational and cultural factors, which explains why certain people who drink alcohol engage in violent behaviours and others do not. We engage in preventative programmes such as responsible retailing programmes and life-skills education programmes targeted primarily at high-risk men to contribute to the reduction of this serious issue.

Alcohol and Health

In addition to bringing social pleasure, alcohol may provide physical health benefits for some people when consumed in moderation. On the other hand, alcohol is associated with certain diseases, health conditions, and negative social consequences, especially when consumed excessively or irresponsibly. Though we recognise that consumers are ultimately responsible for their own drinking decisions, our advertising will not present refusal, abstinence or moderate consumption in a negative light; suggest that alcohol has curative qualities; depict pregnant women; or be targeted to underage people.

Pregnancy and Alcohol

Pregnant women should either not drink alcohol or seek medical advice before they do. Physicians, midwives, and other medical providers play an important role in providing detailed advice to women. We engage with government and other stakeholders to support the delivery of this advice, which may include mandatory pregnancy warnings on product labels. Though we recognise that consumers are ultimately responsible for their own drinking decisions, our advertising will not suggest that drinking during pregnancy is acceptable behaviour.

Alcohol Advertising

Information about the attributes and availability of our brands should be available to adults because it helps them to make their own choices. Although alcohol advertising is among the most widely regulated advertising in the world, we recognise that being a responsible alcohol advertiser often requires going beyond legal compliance. In addition to compliance with local laws, we require our companies to adhere to the Policy on Commercial Communication, which establishes consistent standards for the marketing of our brands. We further encourage the adoption of and adherence to brewer self-regulatory codes to ensure our advertising respects local cultural values.

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