When the EU adopted its Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol-related harm and set up the EU Alcohol and Health Forum in 2007, the first pan-European commitment taken by the brewing sector was to roll out, across national markets, 7 Operational Standards for governing effective self-regulation of beer advertising. The overall objective was, building upon best practises from some Member States, to ensure, market by market, not only that strict codes were in place but that these codes were operating within robust, effective and credible systems. This effective roll-out, working with key partners at both the EU and national level and engaging the services of KPMG to provide limited assurance on reporting of the activation, served as a template for the development of the EU Beer Pledge.
Within the EU Beer Pledge it was also thus logical that one key pillar should be around“Ensuring responsible advertising and marketing”, building upon the 7 Operational Standards and helping brewers and brewers’ associations locally to ensure that self-regulatory mechanisms remained up to speed with development in the marketing landscape, in particular with regard to the increased role for digital and social media.
Doing so, not only did the Head of Facebook’s EU office address the event in the European Parliament in February 2012 launching the EU Beer Pledge, where she welcomed the Pledge and gave her support to the brewers’ new Forum commitment on social media, but The Brewers of Europe became an associated partner on the Responsible Marketing Pact. The RMP is managed by the World Federation of Advertisers (whose membership includes the major brewing companies in Europe), and contributes to the work to strengthen the consistency of mechanisms governing advertising of alcoholic beverages in Europe and ensure self regulation mechanisms keep up to speed with the realities of the market.
In the lead-up to the official launch of the RMP, since the adoption of the Beer Pledge, companies and associations have nevertheless still moved forward, with the 7 Operational Standards remaining a useful reference point for ensuring self-regulatory systems governing beer advertising be fit for purpose.