Throughout the past year, Gregory Leymarie, CEO, of Pernod Ricard South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, has been working with the CEOs of DGB, Diageo, Distell, Heineken and SAB to design a new federation that would unite the whole of the drinks industry in areas where we all have a shared interest. Today, we are pleased to share the news that the Drinks Federation of South Africa has officially launched.
The Drinks Federation of South Africa (a.k.a. 'DF-SA') is a united, purposeful, and proactive endeavour with a bold vision of a “drinks industry that is valued for the breadth and depth of its contribution to a prosperous, just, and safer South Africa, and for meaningfully contributing to progress in responsible drinking behaviours and outcomes, both real and perceived.”
The Covid-19 pandemic particularly impacted our industry, and it has never been clearer that the sustainability and prosperity of our business coincide with the well-being and prosperity of South Africa as a whole. We faced many challenges, but we collectively worked tirelessly to protect our consumers, trade partners, families, and communities. These efforts saved lives and livelihoods and helped bring the pandemic to an end...and today marks a new era, and we are looking to the future!
We were often asked during the pandemic to create a single point of contact, with a unified view on the issues and opportunities we collectively face as an industry, and as a nation. We listened, and the DF-SA is our response.
The DF-SA will serve as a platform for engagement with policymakers, regulators, the media, and community partners. To support its work, the DF-SA will be a place for networking, sharing of best practices and information on matters of common interest; leading the industry’s Code of Conduct and a transformation framework; and bringing innovation, scale and visibility to the industry’s efforts to address the illicit trade and promote market formalisation, among other things. Finally, it will seek to bring scale, the science behind behaviour change, and fresh insights to responsible drinking interventions by uniting with Aware.org and collaborating with companies on their responsibility initiatives.
Monhla Hlahla has been appointed as Non-executive Chairperson and Senior Advisor, Angela Russell as CEO, and Carmen Mohapi as the Aware.org Managing Director. The work of SALBA remains valued and essential. We will work closely with the organisation to avoid duplication of work in the areas of common interest and role confusion with stakeholders. The trade association CEOs will also become essential voices in the DF-SA and have voting rights on the CEO Council of Members.
Aware.org will become a separate division of the DF-SA with a distinct Board of Directors and its own Memorandum of Incorporation. With the formation of the DF-SA, Aware.org’s mandate will be simplified to enable it to prioritise its responsible consumption initiatives and partnerships as part of the broader DF-SA Vision. In the future, DF-SA will pursue operational alignment to maximise all available resources.
We need your support to be successful in achieving the vision. No trade body can ever act as a surrogate for the decisions and actions of our business or competitors. We must, therefore, now more than ever do the right thing for our brands, consumers, and communities.
We look forward to joining forces with the DF-SA, and we thank each of you in advance for your unwavering commitment to this alliance. It is time we remind everyone: ‘There’s a lot of good that flows from the alcohol industry!’