Responsible Drinking

Policies and Our Approach

As a company dedicated to the responsible manufacturing and sale of alcoholic beverages, we play an active role in addressing the issues around alcohol-related harms.

"DRINK SMART" approach by the Suntory Group

Harmful use of alcohol can impact not only the individual's health, both physical and mental, but also harm to others including family, workplace and community through a variety of social issues.
Reducing alcohol misuse is one of the global health targets established by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Japan, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare adopted the "Basic Plan for Promotion of Measures against Alcohol-related Harm" in 2016 to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harms including alcohol use disorder and putting them as a national priority. Our "DRINK SMART" goal is to ensure that people have a proper knowledge of alcohol for a healthier and enriching life by getting along well with alcohol.
Reducing the harmful use of alcohol is an important issue for society.
The Suntory Group is actively promoting responsible marketing practices and "DRINK SMART" activities to raise moderate drinking awareness.

Responsible Consumption - Suntory Group's Principle and Course of Action

Basic Principle

The Suntory Group strives to prevent misuse of alcohol and raise awareness of responsible consumption thus contributing to healthier lifestyles:

  1. 1.
    We recognize the intoxicating effects of alcohol and its potential for misuse, which can lead to various physical, mental and social issues, and we strive to prevent alcohol-related harms.
  2. 2.
    We strive to create a culture of responsible consumption in which differences in physical constitution and conditions, as well as drinking styles or attitudes towards alcohol, are respected. We understand and respect that for some people, the best choice is not to consume alcohol.
  3. 3.
    We recognize that responsible consumption can support a well-balanced lifestyle and that it can play a positive role in social occasions; we strive to promote responsible consumption whenever alcohol is consumed.
Course of Action
  1. 1.
    We are committed to responsible marketing, providing consumer information and responsible product innovation.
  2. 2.
    We actively cooperate in social activities, including but not limited to;
    • -
      Eliminating under legal drinking age drinking
    • -
      Eliminating drunk driving
    • -
      Eliminating binge drinking
    • -
      Eliminating alcohol related harassment
  3. 3.
    We will comply with laws and industry standards.

Promoting Structure

In 1976, the Suntory Group established the Suntory Advertising Code, making it an industry leader in exercising self-regulation in its promotions and advertisements related to alcoholic beverages. We subsequently established the Alcohol Responsibility and Sustainability (ARS) Committee and the Global ARS Department in 1991 to address alcohol-related problems. We focus on (1) responsible marketing, (2) promotion of moderate drinking. In 2021, we declared the New DRINK SMART COMMITMENT*1 toward Suntory Group employees in Japan. We designated every November as the Suntory Group ARS Month and strengthen our initiatives.

  • *1
    The DRINK SMART COMMITMENT was declared in 2018. The new COMMITMENT was declared in light of the changes in the environment surrounding alcohol since then. It consists of two tenets: "All Suntorians have the correct knowledge about alcohol and will drink in a respectful and considerate manner." and "All Suntorians recognize that we are a member of the world's leading liquor company group, and we will promote responsible drinking as we regard others as valued customers."

Our Goals

Under "DRINK SMART" commitment, the Suntory Group has been leading the industry by actively addressing the alcohol-related problems. We will continue to engage in the initiatives to raise awareness of responsible drinking for the consumers and also for the employees globally.

Goals in Japan

Key Performance Indicator Targets Results in 2022
Reach out to consumers in Japan with messages of "Drink in Moderation" (by the end of 2024) 100 million people in total 28 million people reached as of the end of 2022. In addition to running advertisements promoting drinking in moderation in newspapers and digital media, we also held seminars for companies to raise awareness of drinking in moderation.
Provide alcohol content information on the packaging (sequentially from February 2022 onward) Domestically produced beers, RTDs*, wines in cans We started labeling the information on certain domestic products in February 2022 and plan to complete the labeling for all target products by the end of 2023. *Excluding 250ml beer cans
Intensify development and sales of non/low-alcohol products in Japan In major categories We expanded our portfolio by launching a selection of non-alcoholic products. We held campaigns and events to promote the non-alcoholic beverages, like limited-edition bars that featured our non-alcoholic beverage.
Employees to participate in programs aimed at raising awareness of responsible drinking (by the end of 2022) All Group employees in Japan 99% of employees of group companies in Japan participated in the e-learning program in 2021. In addition, we provided alcohol metabolism genetic testing for applicants.
  • *
    Abbreviation for "Ready to Drink." Pre-mixed alcohol beverages such as canned chu-hi, canned cocktails, and canned highballs.

Goals in Overseas

Beam Suntory Inc. promotes proper drinking awareness through its DRINK SMART® program. To further elevate the commitment to reducing harmful drinking and empowering consumers to make the right choices for them, we are progressing goals that include:

  • -
    Investing $500 million to promote responsible decisions and positively impact behavior by significantly expanding responsibility-led brand communications, elevating the Drink Smart platform, and supporting evidence-based partner programs.
  • -
    The company aims to engage more than 300 million consumers by 2030 with messages and tools designed to promote responsible decisions and reduce harmful drinking.
  • -
    Enabling expanded choices by developing, introducing and investing in awareness of low- or no-ABV products in key categories, including whiskey, tequila, gin, vodka and ready-to-drink, by 2030.
  • -
    Providing nutrition and alcohol content information on packaging or online for 100 percent of products by 2030.

Beam Suntory Proof Positive

Our Initiatives

Practice Responsible Marketing

The Global ARS Department reviews all marketing activities for products containing alcohol prior to launch. In 2006, we systematized pre-screening for product labeling and in 2007, we revised our internal standards for advertising and sales promotion activities for alcoholic beverages to further strengthen our activities. Since 2007, we have continued to promote responsible marketing activities by updating our standards in cooperation with industry associations and by conducting regular training sessions in relevant departments.

Continuous Enhancement of Marketing Standards (Industry / Internal)

We support and continuously enhance self-regulatory marketing standards in partnership with the Council on Alcohol Consumption, as well as follow our own internal marketing code to correspond with societal trends. We introduced warnings for pregnant and nursing mothers in all communications beginning in 2010. We also ceased TV ads between 5:00 am and 6:00 pm.
Based on the "Alcohol Health Disorder Countermeasures Basic Law" enacted in 2014, we are taking independent measures to prevent the abuse of alcohol such as setting the age of celebrities appearing in TV ads to 25 and older, and removing the sound effect of "gulp" when drinks go down the throat.

1.Promoting Non-alcoholic Drinks

The Suntory Group is striving to promote non-alcoholic beverages to respond to a broad range of consumer interests and occasions.
We established the same internal marketing standards on these products as alcohol products in order to ensure that all marketing activity is directed only to legal drinking age adults in each region.
The market for non/low-alcohol beverages is expanding due to diversification of consumers drinking behaviors influenced by the COVID-19. We are going to continue to lead this growing market, by further improving the quality of our existing products and developing the new product lineup.

Suntory Group's Non-alcoholic Drinks

2.Warning Labels on Package

All our beverage alcohol products carry health warning messages to pregnant and nursing women and warning messages to stop under 20 drinking, based on the voluntary standards established by the alcohol industry. We also put alcohol beverage symbols on beer and RTD (ready-to-drink) beverages that are low in alcohol to prevent accidental consumption.

2.Warning Labels on Package
3.Establishing Age Verification Gates to Alcohol Brand Website

Since 2015, we have used age gates to our alcohol brand websites in order to confirm visitors are at least 20 years of age, the legal drinking age in Japan.

3.Establishing Age Verification Gates to Alcohol Brand Website
4.Conducting Seminars for Sales Representatives and Marketing Staffs

The Global ARS department conducts seminars for sales representatives and marketing staffs to deepen the knowledge on the industry’s voluntary code of conduct and Suntory's own marketing code. The seminar provides them with the necessary viewpoints ranging from product development to sales promotion through case studies.

Activities to Raise Awareness of Responsible Drinking

Internal Initiatives

As a member of a company that manufactures and sells alcoholic beverages, it is important that our employees are aware of responsible drinking at all times. We clearly state in our employment regulation that any employee who drinks and drives during or outside the working hours will be dismissed under instruction.

Moderate Drinking Awareness Program for Group employees in Japan
Moderate Drinking Awareness Program for Group employees in Japan

We conduct an e-learning program to raise awareness on knowledge necessary for employees of a corporate group that manufactures and sells alcoholic beverages, such as the mechanism of intoxication and differences due to genetics and physical constitution.

Alcohol Metabolism Genetic Testing for Group employees in Japan
Alcohol Metabolism Genetic Testing for Group employees in Japan

We offer alcohol metabolism genetic testing to all group employees in Japan for their consideration for others and to deepen understanding of moderate drinking.

Intranet Page on Global ARS
Intranet Page on Global ARS

Every employee can access information regarding responsible consumption, as well as our voluntary standards, examples of responsible marketing, and seminar tools.

In addition, we also raise awareness of moderate drinking through seminars for executives and sales representatives, and "Drink in Moderation Campaign" posters.

External Initiatives

We are committed to providing customers and consumers with information about alcohol so that they can make informed choices about alcohol and consume in moderation.
We provide the alcohol content information (in grams) of our major brands sold in Japan on our website. In addition, we have started labeling the amount of pure alcohol in grams per containers from February 2022 (canned beer, RTD (ready to drink) and wine that are manufactured in Japan)

  • External Initiatives

  • External Initiatives

Suntory receives multiple awards for its activities to raise awareness of responsible drinking

Our programs to promote responsible consumption have been recognized by key industry groups including the Award for Excellence in Independent Advertising for our moderation advertising campaign. In 2018, we received the Company BtoC Website Award for Excellence at the 6th Web Grand Prix sponsored by the Web Advertising Bureau of the Japan Advertisers Association for our DRINK SMART advertising on our website. In addition, we received the Newspaper Advertisement Award at the 38th Newspaper Advertising Prize event for our poster with ways to decline invitations to drink, and days to go without alcohol using soccer vocabulary and humorous illustrations.

Responsible Consumption Campaigns by Suntory

●Responsible Drinking
We have been advertising "Drink in Moderation" in national newspapers since 1986, to communicate responsible consumption through humor.

We have been advertising "Drink in Moderation" in national newspapers since 1986, to communicate responsible consumption through humor.

Drink in Moderation

On Suntory's website, we feature DRINK SMART to promote moderate consumption for the healthier and well balanced lifestyle by understanding the facts about alcohol and enjoying it responsibly.

On Suntory's website, we feature DRINK SMART to promote moderate consumption for the healthier and well balanced lifestyle by understanding the facts about alcohol and enjoying it responsibly.

DRINK SMART

We conduct "Drink Smart Seminars" to provide the facts about alcohol and individual differences, such as how gender, height, weight and ethnicity can affect of alcohol metabolism. We also released "DRINK SMART MOVIE" for responsible drinking.

We conduct "Drink Smart Seminars" to provide the facts about alcohol and individual differences, such as how gender, height, weight and ethnicity can affect of alcohol metabolism. We also released "DRINK SMART MOVIE" for responsible drinking.

DRINK SMART MOVIE

Drink Smart Ambassadors

Drink Smart Ambassadors
We encourage our employees to be a "Drink Smart Ambassador" who conducts Drink Smart Seminars for our customers and third parties.

●Recommend Drinking in Moderation
Raising awareness about drinking in moderation with humorous illustrations and witty approach to decline invitations to drink on non-drinking days advertisement.

Raising awareness about drinking in moderation with humorous illustrations and witty approach to decline invitations to drink on non-drinking days advertisement.

non-drinking days advertisement

Original digital comic book on the weekend of three women enjoying alcoholic beverages responsibly.

Original digital comic book on the weekend of three women enjoying alcoholic beverages responsibly.

Original digital comic book

●Prevent the Abuse of Alcohol
Educational movie to prevent under 20 drinking

Educational movie to prevent under 20 drinking

Educational movie

In response to young people's interests, we produced and distributed a comic book for young people who are at least 20 years old to learn how to drink responsibly. We also conduct seminars at universities.

In response to young people's interests, we produced and distributed a comic book for young people who are at least 20 years old to learn how to drink responsibly. We also conduct seminars at universities.

comic book for young people

No Binge Drinking! Campaign, collaborated with NGOs - Council for the Prevention of Binge Drinking.

No Binge Drinking! Campaign, collaborated with NGOs - Council for the Prevention of Binge Drinking.

Responsible Drinking Initiatives by the Beverage Alcohol Producers Associations in Japan

We engage in the STOP! under 20 Drinking Campaign twice a year primarily on public transportation advertisements.

We engage in the STOP! under 20 Drinking Campaign twice a year primarily on public transportation advertisements.

Railway station posters to alert platform accidents by intoxicated passengers - collaboration with JR West

Railway station posters to alert platform accidents by intoxicated passengers - collaboration with JR West

We are providing information to prevent at-risk women from using alcohol irresponsibly.

We are providing information to prevent at-risk women from using alcohol irresponsibly.

We also have been putting health warning messages on our products, advertisement, and POP materials to prevent consumption of alcohol when pregnant.

Global Initiatives to Reduce Alcohol Issues

The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted the Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol in 2010. Reduction of harmful effects of alcohol is one of the goals of the action plan for NCD (non-communicable diseases/lifestyle-related diseases) prevention established in 2013 as well as one of the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in the health field established in 2015, and it is positioned as one of the global problems that must be addressed through cooperation with national governments, specialists from public health organizations, and other related parties. The manufactures of alcohol beverages are regarded as important stakeholders in these efforts.
The Suntory Group is participating in the IARD organization (http://www.iard.org/) that makes efforts to promote responsible drinking internationally to respond to these alcohol-related issues. Since 2013, we have been working to promote the Industry Commitment for Reducing Harmful Use of Alcohol which involves major alcohol beverage manufacturers from around the world.
The progress of the Industry Commitment is published as a Progress Report after annual audits by an auditor.
The Suntory Group has established a company section dedicated to reducing harmful use of alcohol, regularly holds Global ARS Committee meetings, and consolidates global marketing regulations under the mid-to-long-term vision in order to realize responsible marketing activities on a global level and raise awareness of responsible drinking.
The Suntory Group Drink Smart® global program is expanding priorities such as preventing underage drinking and drunk driving, as well as raising awareness of drinking in moderation and consideration for people that choose not to drink, and promotes responsible decision making through its proprietary platform.

IARD

About the IARD

The IARD (International Alliance for Responsible Drinking) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington D.C. in which 13 of the major alcoholic beverage manufacturers from around the world participate.
The Suntory Group has participated in the IARD since its establishment as Beam Suntory and has also been deeply involved in the formulation of the Industry Commitment for Reducing Harmful Use of Alcohol, an effort by the alcoholic beverage industry in response to the World Health Organization's Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol (adopted in 2010).
The Industry Commitment for Reducing Harmful Use of Alcohol promoted five initiatives over a five-year period starting in 2013.

  • (1)
    Reduction of alcohol consumption by minors
  • (2)
    Development and strengthening of industry voluntary standards on expression of drinking
  • (3)
    Responsible product development and disclosure of information to consumers
  • (4)
    Drunk driving reduction
  • (5)
    Strengthening of collaboration with the retail field

Commitment related progress reports and evaluations are conducted by third parties and reported annually in the form of a progress report.
The Suntory Group's efforts in major markets including Japan and the United States have been reported and evaluated, including the distribution of educational materials for parents and children to prevent under 20 drinking in Japan and education programs for drunk driving offenders in conjunction with traffic courts in the United States. These efforts unique to Suntory as well as collaborative efforts with liquor associations in various countries have been highly praised.
In addition, an IARD CEO meeting is held annually during which serious discussions take place on matters that the liquor industry should tackle over the medium-to-long term and on a global level.

  • IARD-CEO meeting (2019)

    IARD-CEO meeting (2019)

  • Progress Report

    Progress Report

  • Joint Decleration of digintal media (2018), Trend report of underage drinking (2019)

    Joint Decleration of digintal media (2018),
    Trend report of underage drinking (2019)

Overseas Activities to Raise Awareness of Responsible Drinking

1) Reducing Drunk Driving

DWI Courts
Beam Suntory is a lead supporter of America's National Center for DWI Courts, designed to get hardcore offenders who are most likely to repeat the treatment they need in an evidence-based program.

2) Reducing High-risk Drinking in University

Building Resilience in Campus Communities (BRICC) Coalition
BRICC works to reduce high-risk drinking at individual, group, organization and community levels at the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky.

Link to Beam Suntory Drink Smart Website