SALTA supports global smart drinking goals

SALTA Quarterly Column

As I was pondering what to write regarding our liquor industry, I thought that maybe I should shift my focus from the frustrations that we have been facing for so long regarding the future of our shebeen permits.

This time, I will talk about global smart drinking goals, as advocated by AB InBev, the parent company of South African Breweries. This initiative was established in December 2015 to contribute to the World Health Organisation's target of reducing the harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% in every country by 2025 and the United Nations sustainable development goal of strengthening the prevention of harmful use of alcohol globally.

These goals can only be achieved if all stakeholders, including government, civic societies, alcohol manufacturers and communities, contribute to these initiatives.

Alcohol abuse is a reality and African countries have been identified as the most affected by harm caused by alcohol consumption.

Beer has been part of cultures around the world for thousands of years and we believe that every experience with beer should be a positive one. We believe that evidence-based solutions, rigorous measurements and education are the keys to progress on this front.

Global smart drinking goals are intended to serve as a laboratory to identify and test evidence-based programmes.

Implement them in partnership with others and ensure that they are independently and transparently evaluated.

The foundation has identified six cities in the world with the aim of reducing the harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% by the end of 2020. These cities include Johannesburg (South Africa), Zacatecas (Mexico), Brasilla (Brazil), Leuven (Belgium), Columbus (Ohio) and Jiangshan (China).

Some of the interventions are the introduction of no- or low-alcohol beer products, which will represent at least 20% of AB InBev’s global beer volume by 2025.

Alcohol abuse is a reality and African countries have been identified as the most affected by harm caused by alcohol consumption. It will not disappear unless, we, as a nation, do something about it.

We need to encourage our fellow liquor traders to trade responsibly and respect and obey our by-laws.

Mish Hlophe,SALTA President