The Brewers of Europe Commitment report - 2009
This is the first interim report on the implementation of The Brewers of Europe’s commitments to the European Alcohol and Health Forum. It covers the first two commitment waves, made in December 2007 and July 2008, and offers the reader an overview of the background, baseline, progress and next steps in relation to the 25 commitments so far filed.
In June 2007 The Brewers of Europe became a founding member of the European Alcohol and Health Forum. Doing so, Europe’s brewers committed themselves to making concrete commitments that contribute to tackling alcohol-related harm. Europe's brewers were not starting from scratch, having already supported and funded over 300 responsibility initiatives over the past 5 years. As for The Brewers of Europe, it is now also stepping up its activities against alcohol-related harm, through the Forum.
When the Forum’s database opened in December 2007, The Brewers of Europe filed 14 commitments. This was further added to through a second wave, of 11 commitments, in July 2008. Adding these 25 commitments to the 11 filed by brewing companies, this means that the brewing sector has filed over one third of the commitments so far filed to the EU’s Alcohol and Health Forum.
Whilst The Brewers of Europe’s 25 commitments do include one major, EU-wide commitment, a key feature of the other 24 is their local element. They are commitments filed by national brewing associations under The Brewers of Europe’s umbrella, aiming to help tackle the issues at the national and, often, sub-national level.
The EU-wide commitment focuses on helping to guarantee that self-regulatory systems for beer advertising not only include codes, but also that these codes are operating within effective systems. The Brewers of Europe has committed to 7 operational standards that take, and convert to make them relevant to the beer sector, the components for a best practice self-regulatory model from the European Commission Health and Consumer Protection department’s (DG SANCO’s) 2006 Report on Self-regulation in the EU Advertising Sector. This EU-wide commitment has been supplemented by a further 12 national commitments on self-regulation and will be further enforced by additional national self-regulatory commitments in 2009.
The other 12 national commitments of The Brewers of Europe work to address issues as important and diverse as:
- Denormalising the binge drinking phenomenon in Finland;
- Knowledge in Italy of the national Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidance on alcohol and pregnancy;
- Helping to tackle underage consumption in Belgium, Germany, Poland and Romania;
- Discouraging drinkdriving in Denmark, Poland and Spain; and
- Promoting responsible consumption in Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain.
A further, key characteristic of The Brewers of Europe’s 25 commitments is the number and diversity of partnerships with those wishing to support, finance and associate themselves with the brewers’ commitments. Partners include governments at national, local and regional level; national road safety authorities; driving schools; the police; young adult volunteers; health and medical associations; consumer groups; self-regulatory organisations; other NGOs; media; and other parts of the industry.
This local, multi-stakeholder approach taken by The Brewers of Europe was recognised by the European Commission at the meeting of the EU Alcohol and Health Forum’s Plenary in November 2008, when an analysis of the Forum commitments so far filed was presented to the Forum members.
Last, but not least, it should be noted that The Brewers of Europe has taken very seriously the emphasis that both the European Commission and the Forum’s Charter put on the monitoring of the implementation of commitments. To ensure both an accurate and consistent, but also an independently verified, reporting of the commitments’ implementation, The Brewers of Europe therefore called upon KPMG Sustainability, whose assurance statement, following their detailed involvement throughout the reporting process, is included at the end of this interim report.