The Portman Group promotes the UK as an international example of industry best practice in submission to WHO consultation on reducing the harmful use of alcohol

The Portman Group has responded to a recently closed World Health Organisation consultation on the development of an action plan to strengthen the implementation of the Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol, which was first adopted in 2010. As the UK’s alcohol industry regulator and social responsibility body, reducing the harmful use of alcohol is a primary focus and is an essential component of promoting responsible drinking.

We believe that the UK market stands as an international example of industry best practice and the substantial progress that has been made to tackle the harmful use of alcohol in the country. This has been achieved, in part, through the ongoing success of voluntary cross-industry initiatives as well as public-private partnerships implementing public health initiatives.

Whilst there is more work to be done, the progress made so far in tackling alcohol-related harm and ensuring that the moderate majority of consumers drink responsibly should be celebrated. This also reinforces the need for the action plan for the Global Strategy to focus on reducing harmful alcohol use rather than unhelpfully diluting its focus on overall consumption and alcohol use per se, which may undermine the commitment of the strategy to a harm reduction approach.

The success of voluntary measures, combined with a variety of initiatives from the UK Government to tackle alcohol-related harm, also underscores that the action plan should recognise the broad suite of policy options and interventions included in the Global Strategy for reducing harmful alcohol use, rather than prioritising a narrower set of restrictive policies under the SAFER initiative.

The success of industry initiatives also demonstrate that the sector has a serious commitment to tackling harm in the UK and across the world and should continue to be seen as an active and willing partner as part of a ‘whole-of-society’ approach to tackling harmful alcohol use, which should be reflected in the Global Strategy.

Click here for the full response.