As the world's largest brewer, we are committed to promoting our products responsibly and to working in partnership to tackle harmful drinking.
I'm therefore delighted to be part of the announcement today of the industry's new Alcohol Sponsorship Code; an example of partnership and effective self-regulation in action.
For the first time, this new Code sets a binding commitment on drinks producers to promote responsible drinking as part of all alcohol sponsorship agreements in the UK. Overseen by the Portman Group, it means that whenever you see high profile alcohol sponsored events you will know that the companies behind them have invested to encourage responsible drinking as part of these deals.
We know this approach works. During the 2011/12 football season, a global TV audience of 50 million fans saw responsible drinking messages through Budweiser's sponsorship of the FA Cup, and our perimeter board advertising at Wembley during the semi-final weekend alone led to a 30 per cent increase in visitors to Drinkaware.co.uk.
As the Official Beer and Cidre of The Open Championship 2014, Stella Artois will be using an online tool to ensure that bar staff at the Championship are trained in responsible service. Mandatory for all bar staff, training will help bar staff understand the law and provide them with advice on how to challenge underage consumers and handle difficult situations. Combined with responsible drinking messages at all bars on the course, it will help to ensure that fans enjoy the tournament responsibly.
I believe this new Sponsorship Code is another important step forward. It recognises the powerful role major brands can play in positively promoting responsible drinking, not only through their marketing but through their partnerships.
It builds on the many examples of partnerships to promote responsible drinking we have seen in recent years, with commitments on labelling, consumer information and education and unit reduction to name but a few. This is in addition to the leadership we have seen from individual companies, whether it be Budweiser's recent Christmas jumper initiative and partnership with RoadSafe and the RAC Foundation to promote the role of designated drivers, or Asda's partnership with Addaction.
Along with all those who have signed the new Code, I am determined to ensure that our sponsorship deals continue to make a positive contribution, not only to the sports and communities they support, but to our shared endeavour to tackle harmful drinking.
For more information about AB InBev's corporate responsibility programme visit AB-InBev.co.uk/better-world.
For more information on the new Alcohol Sponsorship Code visit PortmanGroup.org.uk.