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Diageo Welcomes Report On Reducing Alcohol-Related Harm

Afolabi Idowu

Diageo, parent company of Guinness Nigeria Plc, has welcomed the release of the latest Producers’ Commitments report by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), which shows signatory companies have stepped up implementation of their commitments to contribute to the global target of reducing alcohol-related harm by 10% by 2025.

Diageo is one of 12 leading producers of beer, wine, and spirits which are signatories of the commitments to tackle alcohol-related harm. This is the third annual report following an agreement in 2012 for the alcohol industry to collaborate, and the first since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed by governments in 2015.

Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes said: “I am proud of Diageo’s significant contribution towards the industry’s overall progress in reducing the harmful use of alcohol, particularly our work to prevent underage drinking and ensure the next generation has a positive relationship with alcohol. We are three years into the most ambitious initiative our industry has ever collectively undertaken to address harmful drinking and, while we have made good progress, there is still more work to be done. At Diageo, we are committed to doing more.”

This year’s report highlights particular progress in programmes to prevent underage drinking. Collectively, the 12 signatory companies implemented 257 underage education initiatives in 2015, a 49% increase on the previous year. These programs directly engaged nearly 30 million unique adult influencers such as parents, teachers, and community leaders on the importance of respecting legal age limits on buying alcohol. Over 192 million additional individuals were reached through education programs, mass media and social media campaigns.

Guinness Nigeria Plc has launched various initiatives to promote the responsible use of alcohol in society and as part of a balanced lifestyle. These include the DrinkiQ training programme, age verification program launched last year, the yearly “Ember Months” campaign which is done in conjunction with the FRSC. It would be recalled that last year, Guinness Nigeria donated breathalyzers to the safety corp to enable it check the incidence of drunk-driving on Nigerian roads. Other initiatives include sponsorship of a radio programme, DRINK DIARIES, on Lagos Traffic radio 96.1 FM as well as advertorials and out of home messaging aimed at educating the general public on the dangers of drink-driving.

Diageo says its track record in drink driving programmes also led the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to select Diageo as a partner for a two-year partnership entitled ‘Road Safety Initiative for Cities’ which aims to improve road safety globally earlier this year. Scheduled to start in late 2016, training will be run in 15 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin and Central America, focusing on countries with the highest death rates related to road traffic accidents, with over 60 countries invited to participate.

At the start of 2016, Diageo relaunched DRINKiQ.com, making the site available in 12 languages across 25 countries, featuring enhanced alcohol content and nutritional information for all its brands, including a breakdown of calories, carbohydrates and protein as well as, for the first time, detailing saturated fat, sugar, caffeine and sodium content.

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