Why is this important?
Beer is a natural product enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people around the world. For most adults it is, and can be, part of a healthy balanced lifestyle when consumed in moderation.
HEINEKEN has a long history of encouraging responsible consumption and we take this role seriously. For us the goal is to make moderate, responsible consumption aspirational. We know that when brands communicate directly, the message resonates more strongly with consumers.
The vast majority of people enjoy our products responsibly. However, there are still too many people who don’t. There are clear health and behavioural risks associated with consuming too much alcohol, either over time or on single occasions. For some occasions and some people, it is better not to drink at all. Harmful drinking is damaging not just to the individuals themselves and the people around them, but to our industry, society, and our own reputation.
We also realise that alcohol abuse is a complex societal issue without simple solutions or a one-size-fits-all approach. Different regions have their own cultural attitudes towards alcohol, and accompanying challenges. It requires more than producers simply taking action. It demands a concerted approach from multiple players. Governments, NGOs, consumer groups, police forces, legislators, retailers, hotel, bar and restaurant owners and community groups – all have a valuable role to play in encouraging responsible consumption.
HEINEKEN has identified three areas in which we can most effectively encourage responsible attitudes to alcohol and discourage alcohol misuse:
Advocating responsible consumption through our brands
Our flagship Heineken® brand is instantly recognised all over the world and our local brands are often trusted leaders in their respective regions. Through the power and reach of our brands, we can bring a message that responsible consumption is aspirational directly to our consumers.
Building partnerships in each of our markets
We work closely together with local governments, NGOs and specialists to encourage responsible consumption and reduce harm caused by abuses such as under-age drinking or drinking and driving. In 2013, 36 of our markets had a partnership focusing on combatting alcohol abuse. Our aim is to have a measurable partnership that addresses alcohol abuse in every market. For more information, see our case studies.
Taking action at industry level
In collaboration with 12 global producers of beer, wine and spirits we have committed to action in five key areas: under-age drinking, marketing codes of practice, consumer information and product innovation, drink-driving and retailer support. These collective commitments are in support of the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol. For more information about our progress, see current Sustainability Report.
Making responsible consumption aspirational
At HEINEKEN, we use the Heineken® beer brand to spearhead our responsible consumption activity. The Enjoy Heineken Responsibly (EHR) campaign was launched in 2004 and now includes a dedicated website in 29 languages in 88 countries, advertising at all major sponsorships, a dedicated logo on all types of commercial communication and packaging, and discussions with consumers.
In 2014, we continued the ‘Sunrise belongs to moderate drinkers’ advertising campaign, which aims to change habits by advocating positive behaviour, rather than criticising bad behaviour. As part of our moderation movement we also launched ‘Dance More, Drink Slow’ in partnership with world-famous DJ Armin van Buuren. This campaign brings the moderation message directly to clubs: ‘stay in control and you can enjoy your night more’. For more on this campaign, see the case study.
Marketing and selling responsibly
Our Rules on Responsible Commercial Communication help everyone at HEINEKEN who is involved in marketing and selling our products to ensure we do not contribute to excessive consumption.
We encourage the consumption of beer and cider in moderation and only place commercial communication where we believe that at least 70% of the audience is over 18 (or the relevant legal purchase age).
Our Rules on Digital Commercial Communication cover video use, online privacy and security, with a specific focus on age verification, particularly in social media. See our case study on encouraging responsible drinking among young people in CEE.
We are working with signatories to the Global Commitments to reduce harmful use of alcohol and with the Brewers of Europe, The European Forum on Alcohol and Health and the World Federation of Advertisers to reinforce advertising self-regulation across Europe.
Working with the industry
Since 2012, HEINEKEN and 12 other global alcohol players1 have been signed up to collective commitments to help reduce harmful drinking. The commitments support the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol. The signatories have released their first report on 2013 progress made in implementing the Commitments. More information about how we work with the industry can be found in the 2013 Sustainability Report.
- The signatory companies are: Anheuser-Busch InBev; Bacardi; Beam, Inc.; Brewers Association of Japan; Brown-Forman Corporation; Carlsberg; Diageo; Heineken; Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association; Molson Coors; Pernod Ricard; SABMiller and UB Group