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Tackling alcohol misuse effectively through our programmes

Some people misuse alcohol, harming themselves and their communities. We’re helping tackle alcohol misuse because it’s bad for our consumers and society, it damages our reputation, and it jeopardises our licence to operate.

Our approach

We put our resources and skills into programmes that are designed to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse by working with others to seek to raise awareness and to change people’s attitudes and behaviour. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach – different cultures and societies require different approaches. In line with our de‑centralised business, local teams choose programmes relevant to their country, so that the resources we provide meet a genuine local need.

In tackling alcohol misuse, we’re always looking to reinforce our social responsibility goal – namely helping consumers enjoy alcohol responsibly, thus celebrating life, today and tomorrow.

Performance against target
Target by 2013 2013 performance Achievement
Responsible drinking initiatives in place in our top 40 countries by value 39 Not achieved

Last year, we backed more than 300 responsible drinking programmes in more than 40 countries, including 39 of our top 40 countries by value. In the remaining market, United Arab Emirates, we did not support any initiatives given the country’s stance on alcohol.

Preventing excessive drinking

Our work in this area ranges from funding advertising campaigns that raise awareness of the risks of binge drinking, to supporting the medical profession in identifying and helping problem drinkers.

For example, we support the training of doctors and other health workers in screening and brief intervention (SBI), a simple but proven approach supported by the WHO. Through SBI, health professionals identify potential problem drinkers, and work with them to change their behaviour. The project in Russia has involved over 3,000 patients and 50 physicians in three cities since its launch in 2010, and information has been shared with key medical and research institutes in an effort to expand the project.

In the United States, Diageo is now supporting, through an unrestricted grant to NORC at the University of Chicago, the adaptation of a high-risk alcohol use screening and counselling training system for military medical personnel in all US military health clinics worldwide. The two‑year programme draws on the training techniques and materials developed by NORC for the employee assistance programmes we supported last year.

Also in the United States, The Century Council, a not-for-profit organisation funded by distillers including Diageo, announced a three-year grant to the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Emergency Medicine, which is researching the effectiveness of text messaging in reducing hazardous drinking. A previous study on the subject in 2010, also funded by The Century Council, demonstrated measurable change in behaviour over a 12‑week period. The new study will look at an entire year.

In Western Europe, we launched the ‘Ask Dave’ website in December. ‘Dave’ is our drinks ‘guru’, who calculates how long it will take for alcohol to be processed by your body. We promoted the initiative on social media so as to facilitate discussion in a way that is not ‘preachy’, but instead, factual, friendly and neutral. Since its launch, Ask Dave has reached over 70,000 unique visitors in 20 countries. Of those who provided feedback after using Ask Dave, 63% said that the site added to what they knew about drinking, and 69% said it made them think differently about the way they drink alcohol.

As part of this initiative we launched the ‘Coaster’, an educational tool advising shoppers and consumers of the comparative alcohol levels of beers, wines and spirits, as well as smart drinking tips and a link to Ask Dave.

Tackling drink driving

We support many initiatives to reduce drink driving with public and private partners. In Scotland, for example, a multi-agency team, sponsored for the past four years by Diageo, won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2012 for its radio and social media campaign around safe driving, particularly in relation to alcohol. According to police data, the campaign contributed to a 33% reduction in fatalities, a 39% reduction in serious injuries, and a 62% reduction in the number of drink drivers.

Another of our markets, South Africa, has one of the highest drink driving accident rates in the world. We’re working to combat this, as you can read about in our case study.

We’re also using interactive methods in Colombia, where last November we launched a smartphone application called ‘Diageo Guardian Angel’. By using this app, people can find a safe way home through information about designated driver services, SMS‑confirmed taxi cabs, and a flat rate for overnight parking. So far, more than 26,000 people have downloaded the app, and more than 1,000 have used the designated driver service.

In Taiwan, Diageo launched a designated driver service in partnership with 7‑ELEVEN and Taiwan Taxi to help drinkers reach home safely. The service is available from 4,700 stores around the country and is accessed through mobile phones. A Taiwan Taxi driver will arrive within 10 minutes to drive a drinker’s own car.

Addressing underage drinking

Diageo does not want underage drinkers as consumers and we work with many partners around the world to try to solve this complex social problem. This has included developing and implementing programmes which range from enforcing minimum purchasing ages, to helping adolescents develop the skills to resist social pressure to drink.

We place great emphasis on training to embed our message. For example, in Russia our DRINKiQ seminars have been attended by more than 6,200 students from 30 universities, with more than 10 trainers who are also students. In Venezuela, we have provided DRINKiQ training to 5,000 adult students across the country.

Meanwhile in Sweden, we have joined other industry leaders to finance ‘Teach about Alcohol’, an initiative in schools, developed by experts, which discourages young people from drinking, while encouraging those of legal drinking age who do drink to avoid irresponsible behaviour. Since it began in 2006, more than 9,000 teachers have taught the programme to about 450,000 students, and it has been recommended by the Swedish National Agency for Education. Independent evaluation demonstrated that students who have been through the programme have a healthier attitude towards drinking alcohol, become intoxicated less frequently, and engage in fewer risky activities while drinking, than students who did not participate in the programme.

Working with retailers to ensure responsible sales

Diageo’s retail customers, from global retailers to local convenience stores and the hospitality industry, play a critical role in advancing a culture of responsible drinking, and we work closely with retail chains, bars and pubs to support them in this effort.

We train our customers and work with them to develop their own training programmes to ensure that the skills needed to promote responsible drinking are taught to staff on the front line, from bar staff serving drinks to shopkeepers selling alcohol over the counter.

In Italy, we partnered with the supermarket chain Auchan on a consumer information campaign ‘Conoscere l’Alcol’ in collaboration with the NGO, Fondazione Umberto Veronesi. It was recognised by the Italian Ministry of Health as a best practice approach. Banners were displayed and leaflets distributed in the supermarket’s outlets, showing the recommended daily guidelines for drinking, the various strengths of different drinks, and suggestions for occasions when it is better not to drink. More than 250,000 shoppers were exposed to the campaign; over 60% said they would talk to family and friends, and almost 50% said they would think differently about what they drink. We also ran an anti‑drink driving event in some outlets using a simulator; 80% of the people who tried it said they learned something new about alcohol consumption.

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