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Self-regulation report - 2010

  • advocate
  • 01/10/2010
  • 440
  • Responsible advertising

This is the report on The Brewers of Europe’s commitment on self-regulation of commercial communications for beer, as submitted to the European Alcohol and Health Forum in 2007.


The report in context

When the European Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF) was launched in June 2007 by the EU Health Commissioner, The Brewers of Europe joined businesses, NGOs, experts and representatives from the EU institutions in putting forward voluntary commitments to help protect European citizens from the harmful use of alcohol. The Brewers also committed to monitoring and evaluating those commitments to ensure that the objectives they set would be reached.

Membership of the Forum provided Europe’s brewers with the opportunity to build on more than 300 responsibility initiatives undertaken by Europe’s brewers between 2002 and 2007. Since 2007, The Brewers of Europe - including national brewers associations, brewing companies, and the Association of small and independent breweries in Europe - have become the leading contributor to the Forum, submitting over one third of all the 150+ commitments to action.

In particular the Forum called for action on ‘marketing communication’ in order to prevent irresponsible commercial communication and sales. In this context The Brewers of Europe submitted in 2007 an ambitious EU-wide commitment to help ensure responsible beer advertising across the EU by supporting its members in optimising self-regulatory systems with the introduction of 7 Operational Standards for Beer Advertising Self-Regulation.

Advertising self-regulation : an EU-wide commitment

In 2007 Europe’s brewers already had codes in place and well-established self-regulation systems in a number of EU countries. While The Brewers of Europe believes that advertising self-regulation at national level is the most effective way to ensure responsible advertising by the EU brewing sector, the specific aim of this commitment was to ensure that effective systems were put in place across the whole membership of The Brewers of Europe.

Brewers also wanted to build upon the best practice self-regulatory model on advertising developed by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) in July 2006 by outlining clear standards against which national self-regulatory systems could be benchmarked in 2010.

The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) were brought on board as partners to assist in the implementation of this commitment. Three years later, the time has now come to evaluate and report on the implementation of this commitment across Europe. This report has been drafted by EASA, in partnership with The Brewers of Europe, and has received independent assurance from KPMG Sustainability.

Next steps

The Brewers are proud to play a pioneering role in the field of advertising self-regulation. At a time when the usefulness of self-regulation is increasingly being recognised by Europe’s policy makers, its successful implementation in the field of advertising can be held up as an example of best practice. In this context Europe’s brewers are delighted to see the words of support expressed by Robert Madelin, former Director General of DG SANCO (2004- 2010) in the foreword to this report.

While Europe’s brewers are proud of the progress made on all 7 Operational Standards in such a short space of time, we remain mindful of comments made by Robert Madelin in the July 2006 report on ‘Self-Regulation in the EU Advertising Sector’: “no model can be a good fit in every country’s historical and cultural context”.

Advertising self-regulation will need to constantly improve to address national societal and cultural expectations as they arise and respond to the changing media landscape. Refining the 7 Operational Standards and identifying the remaining steps toward their full implementation will remain a focus for Europe’s brewers. We will also continue to submit ambitious commitments to the Forum and implement, monitor and evaluate them with the same vigour with which brewers have implemented the 7 Operational Standards all across Europe to such a level as presented in this report.