September 2018: WIRSPA, representative association for regional rum producers, is launching an initiative to promote responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages. A public statement issued by the grouping strongly condemns alcohol abuse and notes that “as a group of responsible producers of alcoholic products, we have a duty to lend our support to efforts that address these issues and are committed to doing so as an industry and in collaboration with other producers of alcoholic beverages.”
According to Komal Samaroo, Chairman of WIRSPA and of Demerara Distillers Limited, “We believe, and current regulatory advice maintains, that responsible drinking remains a valued and enjoyable part of life in a modern society. Notwithstanding, we cannot ignore the negative impact on our societies caused by the excessive consumption of alcohol.” The Statement acknowledges the impact of inappropriate consumption, on both individuals and society, of a range of alcoholic beverages.
He added “while we as individual producers are active at the national level in supporting efforts to reduce harmful drinking, as a group we intend to intensify these efforts starting in 2018. In this regard we have established a task force to look at a range of issues including labelling, advertising and promotion, and online marketing, incorporating international best practice.”
According to Samaroo, the association and its members within each producing country are beginning to engage government and non-state stakeholders to determine how the industry can best contribute in practical ways, to the implementation of policies and actions to mitigate the impact of harmful consumption. In making this commitment, he said “we recognise that the success of such efforts will be contingent on full participation of all producers of alcoholic beverages, and particularly of those entities involved in the retailing of such beverages and operators who interface directly with the consumer.”
The association says further that it will work to improve self-regulation through its code of practice for responsible advertising and marketing of spirit drinks and providing information to consumers; and will encourage and support actions to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol and drinking by underage and vulnerable persons.
In its conclusion, the Statement says, “We will seek to broaden the involvement of all producers, distributors and retailers of alcohol beverages so as to achieve the fullest impact from these commitments and we will engage stakeholders on these issues to ensure that our engagements are meaningful and credible.”