Alone, we cannot make as big a difference as we can if we work with others. We are partnering with governments, NGOs, our suppliers and local people to improve our local communities.
There is increasing recognition – and expectation – among governments and NGOs that the private sector can be a true catalyst for sustainable development. This is especially true in certain countries in emerging markets without well developed regulatory environments which look to the private sector, particularly global companies like Diageo, to facilitate broader change through good business practices. Doing so builds trust in Diageo and makes business sense.
Our growth ambition that emerging markets will account for 50% of our business by 2015 means that advocacy will increase in importance for us. We are advocates on a broad range of initiatives varying from economic development to water, responsible drinking and the environment.
Alcohol in society
First and foremost we recognise that for our business to succeed in promoting sustainable development, we need to create an environment that promotes responsible drinking. To us, efforts to tackle alcohol misuse are most effective when government, civil society, individuals and families as well as the industry work together to tackle the problem in partnership. In addition to our own work in marketing responsibly, providing consumers with information and supporting responsible drinking programmes, we advocate for effective industry-wide standards. Read more about our role in promoting a positive place for alcohol in society.
More broadly, we advocate for innovative and inclusive business models that contribute to economic development. For example we sit on a World Economic Forum taskforce with many others to share best practice for maximising the impact of the private sector on local sustainable development.
Recently, our newly-acquired Meta Abo Brewery signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aimed to do just that in Ethiopia. Along with the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency, the Oromia Regional Agriculture Bureau, and the local non-governmental organisation, Farm Africa, we intend to help develop a scalable contract farming model that connects smallholder farmers with large, dependable, commercial markets.
Recognising the barrier that corruption has on economic development, we are working on this issue in several countries. In Nigeria, we joined the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi), a Nigerian organisation that asks businesses to sign up publicly to its Code of Business Integrity to move Nigeria towards a ‘visible zero tolerance’ for corruption. Diageo was one of the key drivers of the Business Coalition Against Corruption in Cameroon, in partnership with over 120 participants from the private and public sector and civil society, including Transparency International and the government. East Africa Breweries Ltd played a leading role in the development of the ‘Code of Ethics for Business in Kenya’ which was launched in March together with the United Nations Global Compact network.
In addition to the water projects we support, we are a signatory of the CEO Water Mandate. As part of this group, we are partnering with NGOs, governments, investors and UN agencies to help solve the global water crisis and to urge governments to make water a top policy priority. We have lobbied the US government to direct more aid to water problems in Africa.
We are one of the signatories of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which was endorsed by the African Union, the World Economic Forum and the G8 at the latest G8 Summit in May 2012. Through this, we are pledging commitment to growth and transformation in Africa through participation in local agriculture and food production.