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Getting policy right

To ensure alcohol continues to play a positive role in society, we need an effective, evidence-based regulatory framework. Diageo makes the case for a balanced approach where industry and government work together for culturally appropriate solutions to target alcohol misuse.

Our approach

The alcohol industry is already one of the most highly regulated in the world. As a responsible business, Diageo supports policy where it is evidence-based, accounts for drinking patterns, targets at-risk groups, treats all forms of alcohol equally and involves all stakeholders.

That is why, in addition to arguing for effective industry-wide standards in responsible marketing and selling, providing helpful information for consumers, and supporting effective programmes to tackle alcohol misuse, we publicly advocate for governments to adopt a minimum legal purchase age of not less than 18 and a maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of no more than 0.08mg. We also support lower BACs for novice and commercial drivers, high visibility enforcement of drink driving laws and alcohol interlocks - car breathalysers that mean the car only starts when the driver is sober - for repeat drunk drivers.

We oppose measures that are not evidence-based and that are likely to have unintended consequences. These include harsh restrictions on availability and heavy-handed use of high taxes to control consumption. While we fully support measures to tackle harmful drinking, higher taxes are a blunt instrument that often have the most impact on moderate consumers rather than reducing demand among those who misuse alcohol. In countries with significant informal sectors they can also have the unintended consequence of driving consumers into non-commercial, unregulated markets where beverage alcohol is untaxed and sometimes unsafe. Read more about minimum pricing.

Performance

In 2012, Diageo continued to partner with our stakeholders to make the case for alcohol policies that are effective. For example Diageo Mexico recently organised a marketing summit bringing together government representatives and global experts. The result was the agreement in January 2012 of a stronger self-regulatory code - one which ensures that alcohol advertising is targeted at adults and can't be linked to athletic prowess, among other provisions. Read more in our case study.

We have also continued our dialogue with government bodies on developing appropriate strategies to tackle harmful use of alcohol. Highlights include:

An ongoing priority is to demonstrate that the role of business is broader than manufacturing and selling products, and that we can build on the strength and trust of our relationships with consumers to promote responsible drinking. So we continue to work closely with others in different countries around the world to make the positive case for alcohol in society.

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