New Portman boss heads code of practice review

30 September, 2011

The Portman Group is to embark on a comprehensive review of its code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

A consultation on the review will be launched this autumn as a new chief executive takes the helm at the drinks industry’s voluntary watchdog group.

Henry Ashworth will take over from David Poley on October 24. Poley is leaving the drinks industry, a move which was announced in June.

Ashworth was formerly on the Cabinet Office’s behavioural insights team where he was leading on health policy. 

He said: “I look forward to working closely with other groups to build a consensus around actions that promote responsible attitudes to alcohol.  

“I firmly believe that self-regulation, based on a tough code of practice that is rigorously monitored and enforced, is the right way forward.”

Ashworth will join the group as it heads an industry pledge to put health information on 80% of alcoholic drinks packaging by 2013 and as its influence is shaping a set of international guidelines on responsible online marketing.

Portman staff are heading a series of roadshows across Europe on the guidelines which have been drawn up by the European Forum for Responsible Drinking and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States to provide a consistent approach to responsible drinks marketing through social media.

The EFRD is comprised of Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Moët Hennessy, Bacardi, Beam Global and Brown-Forman.

Portman has been regulating online marketing in the UK since 2003 and launched its own UK guidelines in 2009.  

The international guidelines have adopted principles from the UK’s digital marketing code, including age restrictions on brand pages on social network sites, monitoring user-generated content on such sites and the use of age verification gateways on drinks websites.

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