Trend data indicates that underage drinking is decreasing in most areas where trends are being measured. However, it has increased in some places including Argentina, Thailand, and Mexico.
The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing harmful drinking worldwide, and promoting understanding of responsible drinking, among those who choose to drink. The Alliance is supported by leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers in their common purpose of being part of the solution to reducing the harmful use of alcohol.
IARD members include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Asahi Group Holdings, Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman Corporation, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken, Kirin Holdings Company, Molson Coors, Pernod Ricard and William Grant and Sons.
Alliance members oppose any consumption of alcohol by minors. They invite retailers to work with them to do more to prevent sales to minors. And, they urge parents not to share alcohol with their children as they call on all parts of society to come together to eliminate underage drinking.
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Add Symbols or Age Restrictions on All Labels
Working together the Alliance has agreed that symbols or written age restrictions will be added to labels on alcohol drinks produced by its members, sending an even clearer message that these products are not for minors.
The initiative, which also applies to alcohol-free extensions of alcohol brands, is one of five clear and direct actions announced by IARD as part of a new drive to accelerate efforts to reduce underage drinking globally.
IARD’s 5 Actions to Help Reduce Underage Drinking
We will introduce a clear age-restriction symbol or equivalent words on all of our alcohol brand products – including alcohol-free extensions of alcohol brands – sending a clear message to all communities that our beer, wine, and spirits should not be bought or consumed by minors. We will start to roll this out immediately, where legally permissible, with compliance across all markets by 2024.
We do not want minors to drink alcohol. We do not, and will not, market alcohol-free extensions of alcohol brands to minors.
The digital sphere is the arena where our consumers increasingly want to engage with us. We will do more to build on the progress we have made, working with leading digital platforms, to implement rigorous online safeguards in our ongoing efforts to prevent minors from seeing or interacting with our brands online. Safeguards will be in place for at least 95% of our online alcohol marketing by 2024, with an objective to reach complete compliance at the earliest opportunity.
We will invite retailers, wholesalers, and distributors to intensify their work with us to determine how best-practice initiatives relating to age verification can be implemented globally, while taking account of local differences.
Recognizing the growing role of online retail, we will specifically invite online retailers, postal services, and delivery companies to join us in developing global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol, where such sales are legal.
These steps are an initial response to the challenges made to the beer, wine and spirits sector in the 2018 United Nations Political Declaration on non-communicable diseases. The Alliance wants to raise standards across the sector and continue to use regular and productive dialogue with the World Health Organization to better understand what more can be done to further reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
Alcohol Online Exposure and Sales
Recognizing the growing importance of digital communications, IARD members commit to taking further action to prevent minors from seeing or interacting with their brands online – building on a unique partnership with leading digital platforms announced last year.
“These five actions mark another step towards our goal of eliminating underage drinking,” said IARD CEO Chair and President and CEO of Beam Suntory Albert Baladi. “Minors should not drink alcohol, and we proactively support strict enforcement of legal purchase and drinking age regulation.
“Although underage drinking has fallen in many parts of the world, this trend is not universal. We want to accelerate progress and work with others to eliminate underage drinking in every community through a whole-of-society approach. We call on other producers to join us. We call on retailers to work with us to do more to prevent minors from buying alcohol in stores and online. And we call on parents and other adults to support us by not buying alcohol for, or sharing alcohol with, children and minors, even if they do this with good intentions.”
“Together, we must ensure everyone reinforces the message that underage drinking is socially unacceptable.”
IARD members also invited online retailers and others to work with them to develop global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol.
- Advertising Regulations: Government regulation that specifies how and where certain products can be marketed. For example, alcohol advertising should not be directed at, or appeal to, an underage audience.
- Legal Purchase Age (LPA): Government regulation that forbids the sale, service, and supply of alcohol to underage people.
- Underage Drinking: When children, or young people under the LPA, obtain and consume alcohol.
- Young People: Consistent with the United Nations definition, people under the age of 25.
- Whole-of-Society Approach: All stakeholders from all parts of society contributing and working together to achieve a shared goal, as outlined by the United Nations in its 2012 Political Declaration on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases . For example, these stakeholders could include communities, academia, the media, governments, intergovernmental organizations, and the private sector.