The Portman Group was established in 1989 to ensure that alcohol producers do all they can to promote “the responsible use of alcohol” and social responsibility. Our founders – six major alcohol companies – came with a vision to reduce harm and demonstrate the industry’s commitment to behave in the right way.
In thirty years we have achieved a huge amount. The relationship UK drinkers have with alcohol has improved notably with significant and sustained reductions in total consumption as well as huge improvements in alcohol-related harm and disorder. Specific consumer facing campaigns have helped inform and educate people about the risks of drink driving and drinking during pregnancy, for example, as well as drawing attention to the harms that can occur through alcohol misuse.
A VISION TO REDUCE HARM
Many of these campaigns were orchestrated through Drinkaware.co.uk – the pre-cursor to the well-established, independent charity that we know today. The aspiration to create a consumer-facing organisation to better inform consumers about their drinking choices came from within the Portman Group and was funded by our members. The two organisations formally split in 2007, with the Portman Group focusing on delivering effective industry self-regulation and Drinkaware charged with consumer-facing campaigns and education.
As an effective regulator since 1996, the Portman Group has introduced six editions of the regulatory Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks as well as launching a separate Sponsorship Code with the intention of driving up standards across the industry. The Independent Complaints Panel, which rules on the Codes, has upheld complaints against more than 150 products, resulting in changes to their design and packaging. Our free advisory service has responded to more than 10,000 requests for advice and support.
Our member companies recognise their role in preventing the misuse of alcohol and its associated harms. The Portman Group and our member companies were proud to be involved in the success of the Public Health Responsibility Deal which aimed to help improve the wellbeing of the nation. We continue to explore new ways in which to promote moderation and responsibility without impinging on the creative freedoms of this vibrant, dynamic and important industry.