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Corporate Social Responsibility activations around the world - The IARD Digest - August 2020

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Once a month, the drinks industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which covers alcohol policies worldwide, reviews some of the alcohol industry's recent CSR activities. Here's a look at what's been going on in recent weeks.

Once a month, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking rounds up recent higher-profile CSR activity from drinks brand owners

Once a month, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking rounds up recent higher-profile CSR activity from drinks brand owners

In Jamaica, Heineken's Red Stripe beer brand teamed up with the Chamber of Commerce (JCC) to hold a virtual knowledge forum in late-July, looking at global best practices for multi-stakeholder interventions to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. Several government ministries participated, and keynote speakers included the IARD's senior VP of multilateral & policy analysis, Dr Virginia Gidi, and regional beverage alcohol alliance chairman Dr. Patrick Antoine. Dr. Gidi said that the WHO's 'Global Strategy on Reducing the Harmful Use of Alcohol' is a "great place to start this conversation". "Two of the central ideas to the policy document's approach is that it takes a harm-reduction perspective and that it validates the integral role that economic operators have to play in achieving this harm-reduction role." A transport ministry spokesperson credited Red Stripe with "design[ing] programmes that not only operate in accordance with the law, but that come out openly against alcohol misuse".

In the US, Brown-Forman is donating US$20m to the Brown-Forman Foundation as part of the group's 150th-anniversary celebrations. The Brown-Forman Foundation was launched in 2018 with a $70m donation to service the company's charitable mission and philanthropic endeavours. It focuses on arts and culture, education, social services, reduction of alcohol-related harm, and environmental sustainability, particularly in its home city of Louisville. "[This donation will] help generate investment dollars to be used to further education and community-building in an area that has experienced the effects of systemic racism for far too long," said CEO Lawson Whiting. "This important investment is part of our commitment to be better and do better as individuals, leaders, and teams in Louisville and our west Louisville home."

Anheuser-Busch InBev is expanding the mandate of the A-B InBev Foundation to work towards a broader set of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including on clean water and social development. The brewer established the foundation in 2017 to help reduce harmful drinking and advance social change through a model of public-private partnerships based on evidence-based programming. The foundation has supported local NGOs, government agencies, universities and other community stakeholders in six countries to join in public-private prevention partnerships, and is undertaking prevention efforts to allow data collection and analysis to evaluate which types of interventions work, which do not, and how the most successful can be scaled globally.

In Ireland, Diageo celebrated the completion of its '2020 Sustainability and Responsibility Goals', which were set in 2008 and implemented between 2015 and 2020 to lower the group's environmental impact and promote responsible drinking. Over the five-year period, Diageo reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% (509,000 tons). The company also replenishes 100% of water used in water-stressed areas and has reduced its water use by 46%. Around 99.5% of its packaging is now recyclable. Diageo has also reached around 229m consumers worldwide with moderate-drinking messages during this period, supporting the WHO's goal of reducing harmful drinking around the world by 10% by 2025. The company also improved its diversity: 39% of its leadership positions are now held by women, beating a target of 35%. Chief sustainability officer Ewan Andrew said: "Through our programmes, we have made a positive impact on millions of people, in communities all around the world. We have been agile and moved quickly to adapt to the global changes around us. We are excited about the decade of action ahead and will continue to lead the way*."

Molson Coors Beverage Co released its annual sustainability report in July, highlighting its work in governance, environmental and social areas. The company has reduced the water requirement for a barrel of its beer by 4.75%, saving 1.3bn gallons of water since 2016. "The great thing about sustainability is always looking ahead," said the group's global senior director of sustainability & enterprise risk management Kim Marotta. "Do we want to set additional targets in 2030 or additional targets in 2050? Those are some of the things we'll keep pushing the business in that direction and keep driving really positive momentum. We definitely have a way to go, but we're on the right path and moving in the right direction."

In the Philippines, several Metro Manila cities have re-imposed COVID-19 alcohol bans after the national Government put the region under community quarantine. The Alcoholic Beverages Alliance of the Philippines, which includes Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Moët Hennessy among its membership, subsequently launched a responsible drinking drive, encouraging consumers to follow government safety guidelines such as physical distancing and observing limits on gatherings. "We prioritise public health and safety ... so that the re-imposition of liquor bans may be avoided," said the organisation's president, Kavita Hans. "[Consumers] with limited income are most vulnerable during this crisis as they are most likely to also consume unsafe substitute products."

In the UK, Diageo utilised its sponsorship of the 'Women's Prize for Fiction' by liqueur brand Baileys to collaborate on 'Reclaim Her Name', a campaign to highlight classic books by female authors who published under male pseudonyms. Among the 25 books featured in the activation is Middlemarch by Mary Ann Evans, who published as George Eliot. The campaign has made all 25 of the featured books available to download free of charge. Kate Mosse, founder & director of the Women's Prize for Fiction, said: "It's a lovely way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the prize, by doing what we always strive to do - empowering women, igniting conversations and ensuring that they get the recognition they deserve."

For further details on The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, click here


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