Our Alcohol Framework gives our businesses a globally consistent understanding of what we believe about alcohol.
It consists of our principles, policies on alcohol (including our Policy on Commercial Communications) and position statements on drinking and driving, alcohol and health, underage drinking, alcohol advertising, binge drinking, alcohol and pregnancy, and consumer information.
Alcohol and health
Our beer adds to the enjoyment of life for the overwhelming majority of consumers. In addition to bringing social pleasure, alcohol may provide physical health benefits for some people when consumed in moderation. On the other hand, alcohol is associated with certain diseases, health conditions, and negative social consequences, especially when consumed excessively or irresponsibly. Though we recognise that consumers are ultimately responsible for their own drinking decisions, our advertising will not present refusal, abstinence or moderate consumption in a negative light; suggest that alcohol has curative qualities; depict pregnant women; or be targeted to underage people.
Consumers should make informed decisions about alcohol consumption based on accurate and balanced information. Consumers are in the best position to judge the personal risks and benefits of drinking alcohol and the need to adjust their drinking when personal circumstances change. We will be truthful and not mislead consumers in our advertising about the risks of alcohol consumption. We will further engage with stakeholders to promote alcohol responsibility.
Drinking and driving
People who are drunk should not drive. We respect the rights of countries to establish drink driving laws, including maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits for drivers, and we encourage enforcement of those laws. We encourage targeted education and intervention programmes that encourage people not to drive while drunk. We will support these programmes by not portraying drinking and driving as acceptable behaviour in our marketing.
Whether labelled as 'binge drinking' or 'alcohol abuse', any pattern of drinking that involves rapid intoxication or intoxication for an extended period of time carries the potential for considerable social, psychological, and physical harm and should be avoided. Though we recognise that consumers are ultimately responsible for their own drinking decisions, we will work to create an environment through our marketing where alcohol consumption is depicted in socially responsible settings and quantities. Information provided to consumers about alcohol consumption should be accurate and balanced, and we will take steps to engage stakeholders to help prevent irresponsible consumption.
People who are under the legal drinking age should not drink alcohol. Laws preventing the access of alcohol to underage people should be strictly enforced. We respect differences in national values regarding alcohol consumption, including the minimum age at which someone can drink legally; however, we will encourage the adoption of minimum age laws where they do not exist. We support efforts to raise awareness among parents, retailers, and other adults about the risks of underage drinking and giving alcohol to young people. Although to our knowledge studies indicate that advertising has a negligible, if any, influence on underage drinking, we do not and will not target our marketing to anyone under the legal drinking age, or in countries without a legal drinking age, to anyone under 18.
Pregnancy and alcohol
Pregnant women should either not drink alcohol or seek medical advice before they do. Physicians, midwives, and other medical providers play an important role in providing detailed advice to women. We engage with governments and other stakeholders to support the delivery of this advice, which may include mandatory pregnancy warnings on product labels. Though we recognise that consumers are ultimately responsible for their own drinking decisions, our advertising will not suggest that drinking during pregnancy is acceptable behaviour.
Information about the attributes and availability of our brands should be available to adults because it helps them to make their own choices. Although alcohol advertising is among the most widely regulated advertising in the world, we recognise that being a responsible alcohol advertiser often requires going beyond legal compliance. In addition to compliance with local laws and regulations, we require our companies to adhere to the Policy on Commercial Communication, which establishes consistent standards for the marketing of our brands worldwide. We further encourage the adoption of and adherence to brewer self-regulatory codes in local markets where we do business to ensure our advertising respects local cultural values.
Alcohol and Violence
Violence is wrong and SABMiller condemns it regardless of the context in which it occurs. We acknowledge that while alcohol does not cause violence, some people who commit acts of violence might have also consumed alcohol. The relationship between alcohol consumption and violent behaviours is, however, an extremely complex interaction of biochemical, psychological, situational and cultural factors, which explains why certain people who drink alcohol engage in violent behaviours and others do not. Nonetheless, those who choose to drink too much, to be violent, or both, must be held fully accountable for their choices and their actions. We engage in preventative programmes such as responsible retailing programmes and life skills education programmes targeted primarily at high-risk men to contribute to the reduction of this serious issue.
Alcohol and HIV/AIDS
SABMiller has a strong interest in combating HIV/AIDS and reducing the impact of the disease. The consumption of alcohol does not result in a person contracting HIV/AIDS. However, a person who drinks irresponsibly may indulge in risky sexual behaviour which increases the risk of them contracting HIV/AIDS, particularly in high-prevalence areas.