SAB reaffirms its commitment to driving responsibly in South Africa

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It has been two years since the launch of the South African Breweries’ (SAB) responsible consumption platform, SAB Sharp. With so much at stake, South Africa’s largest beer producer is making every possible effort to address some of the nation’s main challenges around alcohol consumption, based on comprehensive research and global best practices.

Zoleka Lisa, VP Corporate Affairs at SAB, says: “SAB Sharp is a play on words that communicates our commitment to championing responsible alcohol consumption. It’s a call to South Africans to “be sharp and make better decisions when it comes to alcohol use,” Lisa explains.

Sharp doesn’t end at making better decisions – it is the driving force to get the message out there, to ‘live sharp’, ‘drive sharp’, ‘sell sharp’ and ‘talk sharp’.

Lisa explains: “Live sharp is our strategy to uplift the areas in which we operate. Our communities deserve a safe environment where people can thrive, and we are committed to uplift the areas and drive economic inclusion.

“Drive sharp’s focus is to reduce alcohol-related vehicle accidents. We believe that it’s always better to have “none for the road”.

SAB’s commitment here is to partner with authorities to enforce regulations and discourage drink driving.

“SAB’s focus on compliance is evident in “Sell sharp”. Retail partners come under scrutiny to ensure they are trading responsibly and are compliant with liquor regulations. We offer them training, and SAB rewards the businesses who champion responsible consumption in communities.

“Finally, “talk sharp” is how SAB promotes beer enjoyment without condoning binge drinking. This is achieved through responsible marketing and promoting the enjoyment of responsible beer drinking.”

SAB believes that it is through these four focus areas that it will be able to land the message of responsible consumption. An important part of reaching the company’s goal is to expand its existing reach through strategic partnerships.

“One such partnership is with the Department of Roads and Transport, and last year we hosted events across the country to increase road safety awareness. SAB has an audacious goal of reducing alcohol-related road incidents and fatalities by 10% come 2025. To achieve this, we will continue to work with strategic partners such as the Department of Roads and Transport, Metro Police, and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) – because we believe it is a task everyone should tackle collectively.”

The beer company releases an annual impact report that tracks the progress made across the focus areas. It assesses the impact of the SAB Sharp programme and scores each platform for (1) relevance, (2) coherence, and (3) effectiveness. “The 2022 annual report is due in May, and we are confident it will show some solid results and surpass our 2021 scores,” says Lisa.

Highlights from the 2021 report indicate the SAB investment of R320.4 million into the programme covered many interventions. Despite challenges during the pilot year, several important successes were realised, including the establishment of 10 Alcohol Evidence Centres (AEC) around the country – equipped with state-of-the-art testing gear to test blood alcohol levels and accelerate the prosecution of offenders; the auditing of more than 30 000 retail outlets; the formalisation of over 50 illegal retail outlets, the reinstatement of more than 100 retail outlets, and the provision of grants to over 130 retailers affected by the 2021 looting.

“We want to make an impact and we’d like to move the needle on alcohol-related accidents. Our collective efforts demonstrate our uncompromising commitment to building a healthier, more responsible, and sustainable future for our communities and our country,” concludes Lisa.