Industry must ‘evolve’ to tackle alcohol misuse
by Melita Kiely
10th December, 2019
The spirits industry must challenge itself and “ask if we’re doing enough” to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm, the Portman Group has stressed.
The Portman Group has released its latest report charting the watchdog’s work to combat alcohol misuse over the last 30 years
The advice came after the Portman Group published its latest report, 30 Years of Responsibility, yesterday (9 December). The report marks the 30th anniversary of the alcohol social responsibility body for producers in the UK, and details the group’s work over the past 30 years with regards to regulating the UK alcohol industry safely and effectively.
Established in 1989, the watchdog has worked to encourage responsible alcohol consumption and combat irresponsible alcohol marketing and misuse.
Over the past three decades, the Portman Group said it has had numerous key achievements, including creating the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks in 1996; removing or rebranding more than 150 “irresponsible” products following rulings by the Independent Complaints Panel; and leading various consumer-focused educational campaigns centred on alcohol misuse, which led to the creation of independent charity The Drinkaware Trust.
John Timothy, Portman Group chief executive, said: “We have made great progress as an industry in tackling harm and misuse over the last 30 years, but we acknowledge that there is still more to do.
“There remains in the UK a minority of people who drink far too much. Some of those people lead complex and unstable lives where alcohol will exacerbate a range of other challenges.
“As the Portman Group looks to its future as a responsible and effective regulator, we need to be prepared to evolve to stay relevant as an organisation for the next 30 years, as the population’s relationship with alcohol continues to change.
“We also need to challenge ourselves to ask if we’re doing enough, individually and collectively, to minimise the rise of harm from alcohol misuse, and support those who make informed choice to do so responsibly.
“I believe in a vibrant and diverse alcohol industry, yet also an industry which takes its commitment to responsible drinking seriously through solid, tangible actions in step with a diverse range of partners in government, local authorities and the health community.”