Alcohol Action Ireland’s recent ‘Have We Bottled It? Alcohol Marketing and Young People’ conference took place against a backdrop of dramatically declining overall consumption and in the context of Ireland having some of the most stringent and successful co-regulatory codes on alcohol marketing, advertising and sponsorship in the world, stated the Director of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland Rosemary Garth.
She was speaking in response to calls from that conference for a further tightening up of alcohol marketing.
The Alcohol Marketing Communications and Sponsorship Codes of Practice agreed with the Department of Health and Children have limited the exposure of young people to alcohol, she stated and the drinks industry looks forward to renewing them with the Government later this year.
“The Irish drinks industry has gone to great lengths to agree a series of stringent Codes of Practice on alcohol advertising and sponsorship to ensure that we market our products in a responsible manner and towards a strictly adult audience,” she said, “The net result of this is that alcohol marketing communications activities in Ireland are among the most regulated in the world and have even higher standards than in many other European countries.
“Not only has the drinks industry agreed this set of codes, we have also successfully implemented them. This was officially recognised by the Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body earlier this year who reported that the industry had achieved ‘overall compliance’ with the codes.
“The fact that these Codes apply to all media including advertising broadcast from outside the State and the internet originating here, demonstrates their effectiveness in reducing the exposure of young people to alcohol advertising. Legislation could never achieve this,” she continued.
“It is important to remember what the drinks industry is doing this at a time when consumption is falling and overall market conditions remain extremely challenging. Last year the drinks market fell back to mid-1990s levels and our overall average consumption is now approaching European norms.
“In this context, the drinks industry believes an opportunity presents itself to target our efforts on those who continue to misuse our products rather than penalise the overall population through further restrictions on alcohol sales, advertising, or sponsorship.”