The European Beer Pledge
Launched in the European Parliament in 2012, the European Beer Pledge is a voluntary initiative by brewers across Europe to support EU Member States in reducing alcohol related harm.
The Brewers of Europe, a founding member of the European Union’s Alcohol and Health Forum, committed Europe’s brewers to taking concerted and measurable action under three pillars of activity:
• Pillar 1: Increase consumer knowledge of beer and its responsible consumption
• Pillar 2: Ensure responsible advertising and marketing
• Pillar 3: Address alcohol misuse
The commitment built on decades of brewer-supported actions against alcohol misuse and the beer sector’s position as the leading contributor of voluntary commitments to the EU Alcohol and Health Forum. Taking and rolling out this commitment, the brewing sector has taken its responsibility in supporting the implementation of global, EU and national strategies to promote responsible consumption and address alcohol misuse.
Transcending the Pledge, the multi-stakeholder approach was considered vital to developing and implementing approaches that could be successfully implemented at national level and in line with local expectations and customs. At the EU level this approach was encapsulated through an industry-NGO partnership, established under the Forum and continuing to this day, between The Brewers of Europe and the European Transport Safety Council.
In 2015 the Pledge was also further strengthened at a pan-European level under the consumer information pillar, with a landmark commitment from brewers to voluntarily roll-out both ingredients listing and nutritional information for beer brands across the EU.
Rolling the Pledge out, the brewing sector is contributing to the implementation not just of the EU Strategy to support Member States in reducing alcohol related harm, but also of the Action Plan of the European Committee of National Alcohol Policy and Action, the WHO Global Strategy, the WHO Euro Action Plan and the many national action plans in place across the EU.
Whilst the Pledge framework is set at EU level, focus and resources allocation are typically decided at local and/or company level to address the key areas of concern at that level. The Pledge is therefore underpinned by national brewers’ associations and companies representing and producing beer across the EU, who take responsibility for its implementation.
As such, there is not an expectation that all countries address each pillar to the same degree but rather that all activities be captured under the Pledge. Whilst some countries and companies have focused more on some areas, it therefore stands to reason that others have given greater focus to different parts of the Pledge. The Brewers of Europe, uniting national brewers’ associations from across the EU, also committed to publishing EU toolkits to guide and stimulate the spread of good practices.