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'At Heineken, we encourage a culture of responsible drinking'

Ricardo Miguelañez, Agricultural Engineer  

Wiki Spanish Food- Promoting responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages is part of Heineken's philosophy, and where other companies saw a weakness, you saw a business opportunity. When did you realize there was a need to drive an attitude change in society, and what actions have you implemented in this connection?

Mª Antonia Rodríguez de Trujillo- I wouldn't call it a turning point. At international level, HEINEKEN Group is known as a leader in promoting responsible drinking. We have always had a reputation for being very responsible and committed to the industry. We know that, when consumed responsibly, our product is excellent. We have a great alternative, alcohol-free beer, but we must always encourage responsible drinking of our brands, both in and outside of the company.

We aim to comply with all legislation and regulations in force. We adhere to the Self-Regulation Advertising Code of The Brewers of Spain and we have marketing rules to ensure that we advertise responsibly. For example, we only use people who are, and look, over 25 in our ads. We never suggest that alcohol is a key to success.

Most recently, we presented a responsible driving campaign called "I Drive" (Yo Piloto), in November in cooperation with the Technical University of Madrid, the goal of which was to raise awareness among young people about the dangers of drinking and driving. For more than a decade, we have been a member of the Association of Beer Manufacturers of Spain, with which we collaborate actively on projects that encourage responsible drinking.

W.S.F.- By 2015, Heineken would like to work with groups to reduce alcohol-related harm in all of the companies in which it is a shareholder. How is that plan advancing and what does it mean for the company?

M.A.R.- For us it is essential to encourage responsible behavior with respect to alcohol consumption, which helps to prevent alcohol-related harm that drinking can cause and to provide information to our consumers about how to enjoy our products by following guidelines for responsible drinking. We are currently working with several associations, NGOs and institutions to raise awareness about responsible drinking habits.

We also promote responsible consumption at the main events we organize and participate in.

W.S.F.- Employees are the best brand ambassadors a company could have and, in your case, you also promote responsibility among staff. What actions are you implementing and what is the Cool@Work program?

M.A.R.- Companies are made up of people and we must exemplify our companies' values. At HEINEKEN Spain, promoting a healthy lifestyle and a culture of responsible drinking among our employees are priorities. We have rules on alcohol within the Company and we provide all employees with the necessary means and information to raise awareness and ensure proper compliance.

Cool@Work is an in-house program implemented at international level by Heineken Group. The goal is to improve safety and health at work, ensure responsible alcohol consumption, and create awareness, commitment and ambassadorship among employees.

Staff is divided into three groups (green, yellow and red) according to the risk of developing alcohol problems because of their job characteristics and activities. Our medical services organize periodic talks on the principles of the initiative, which must always be guided by the imperative of responsibility.

W.S.F.- We have recently heard a lot about sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Heineken has also positioned itself as a "green" beer. Can you tell us about your CSR policy? What actions is the company currently rolling out in the area of sustainability?  

M.A.R.- Sustainability is a factor that affects all of our decision-making. We implemented the "Brewing a Better Future" campaign in 2010. It was the result of close cooperation with our stakeholders and it set out the clear objective of being the "greenest" brewer.

The plan includes many global initiatives and a complete transformation of the organization based on transparency in all that we do throughout the value chain, and a clear focus on continuous improvement in our environmental impact. We are also working on a series of commitments with their own programs, based on three strategic lines:

• Improving environmental performance throughout the value chain

• Training and involving employees and the communities where we operate

• Having a positive impact on society, improving beer's image.

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