Night has fallen across the city sky, and under the illuminated glow of a safety light, two gentleman slip leisurely into a waiting Uber vehicle at Champs, Paloma Hotel, after a night out. On any other night, this would have seemed mundane and pedestrian. But on 16th September, 2017, the act wields a lot more gravitas. This is because the gentlemen used a special code, CLUBGBRD, generated by Uber in collaboration with Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) to request a discounted ride from Champs to their destination, in commemoration of Global Be(er) Responsible Day.
What is Global Be(er) Responsible Day (GBRD)
For years, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world’s largest brewer and ABL’s parent company, has marked a ‘day in the trade’ to educate business and community partners about Smart Drinking. This involves encouraging consumers to adopt moderate drinking behaviours, and working together with business partners, customers, industry peers and consumers to move beyond Responsible Drinking - raising awareness on the effects of excessive alcohol consumption, to actively creating a future where every experience with beer, especially our beers (CLUB Beer, CLUB Shandy, Eagle Lager, Castle Milk Stout in Ghana), is a positive one.
Some eight years ago, this ‘day in the trade’ became a global rally day where hundreds of thousands of impassioned colleagues in the organisation come together to help drive home the message of smart drinking, and do so in their own unique ways. This year, under the theme of ‘Drink Smart Today, Celebrate Tomorrow’, we seek to promote the idea that making smart choices about drinking today helps make tomorrow possible.
ABL’s Commitment to GBRD
The attendant effects of immoderate alcohol consumption on individuals, families and the nation, at large cannot be overemphasized. And beyond the irredeemable lives that are sometimes lost to drink driving, underage drinking and other alcohol abuse outcomes, the socio-cultural and human capital losses of reckless drinking habits is far-reaching, and very difficult to place monetary or quantitative value on.
The far-reaching consequence of excessive drinking also find expression in the pressure the phenomenon exerts on a country’s health delivery system, workplace productivity, motor-related crashes and the criminal justice system.
The human lives that are lost to insatiable bouts of irresponsible drinking behaviour is one that requires urgent, co-ordinated and concerted efforts, if the phenomenon is to be reduced drastically.
In Ghana, government as well as other corporate bodies have all made some appreciable efforts in that direction. Some punitive laws also exist that seek to proscribe harmful drinking behaviours, especially drink driving, under-age drinking and binge drinking. This notwithstanding, the phenomenon continues unabated as alcohol-induced road related offences and accidents continue to raise concerns about irresponsible drinking behaviours among some Ghanaians.
Whilst punitive measures and strict adherence to regulations, laws and rules on alcohol consumption are critical in promoting responsible and smart drinking habits among people, efforts at promoting positive human behaviour appears most potent and a viable mechanism in this direction.
Not only is it relatively cost effective to change people’s behaviour or perspectives about alcohol consumption, but most importantly, like any behaviour-induced acts, targeting individuals and motivating them provides a better and sound remedy.
Therefore, to drive meaningful impact through deeper investment in programmes that measurably shift social norms and behaviors, ABL, commemorating GBRD for the first time as one of AB InBev’s newest members, partnered the drive share transportation company, Uber, to offer discounted rides to consumers visiting selected drinking outlets across the Accra.
ABL has a long standing reputation for promoting Responsible Drinking. For years, the company has promoted responsible drinking through awareness creation via a host of community programmes. Smart Drinking, not in the slightest intended to replace Responsible Drinking, builds on the knowledge and experiences that have been engendered through various Responsible Drinking campaigns.
In more relatable terms, the concept of Smart Drinking affords a unique opportunity where people’s drinking behaviours and choices are openly and objectively interrogated, and positive drinking habits such as eating before, during and after drinking; knowing one’s limit and staying within it; and sipping instead of guzzling alcohol, are encouraged.
With Uber, ABL seeks to actively encourage the smart drinking habit of using a designated driver to combat drink driving. The rationale forms part of our parent company’s Global Smart Drinking Goals to influence social norms and individual behaviours to reduce harmful alcohol use and reduce harmful drinking habits, which includes drink driving, underage drinking, and binge drinking by 2025.
There is no denying the harmful consequences of irresponsible alcohol consumption on a country, especially a developing country such as Ghana. Indeed, the socio-economic impacts of this phenomenon is telling, one that lives with us.
As various government policies continue to help stem the tide, the role of corporate Ghana in this effort cannot equally be underestimated. It is to this extent that ABL is diligently promoting Smart Drinking. We will not relent in our efforts to create a Healthier World where every experience with beer is a positive one.