Coles Liquor ups online protocols in prevention of underage drinking

May 26, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Coles has joined a coalition of the world’s largest beer, wine and spirits companies to striving to reduce harmful use of alcohol and preventing underage drinking implementing promote best practice measures throughout its online business.

The retail giant has signed up to the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) which already counts Diageo, Asahi, Brown-Forman, Pernod Ricard, Beam Suntory and William Grant and Sons among its members. The not-for-profit organisation strives to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

Coles Liquor Chief Executive Darren Blackhurst said the liquor retailer takes the responsible sale of alcohol seriously.

“Most people consume alcohol in a sensible and responsible manner however we are committed to harm minimisation initiatives that reduce excessive consumption,” he said.

“We saw a change in customer behaviour during COVID-19 and continue to see strong performance in eCommerce, so we have worked to adopt best practice safety protocols online and are pleased to join the IARD to share information on global initiatives and drive further improvement across the industry in partnership with suppliers and other stakeholders.”

With the growth in demand for online delivery, Coles was a signatory to the world leading Retail Drinks Australia Code of Conduct for online sales which was established last year. The Retail Drinks code introduced specific measures to ensure sales are made responsibly, including:

  • No unattended same day delivery
  • No unattended standard delivery for new customers or guest checkouts
  • No deliveries made to a public place in an alcohol-free zone or a prohibited or restricted area (e.g. dry communities)
  • Delivery agents or employees are not financially penalised for not completing a delivery or refusing to make a same day delivery on the grounds that they consider the recipient is under 18 years old, is intoxicated or was unable to verify the recipient’s identity
  • Records of refused deliveries are kept for at least one year
  • A Self-Exclusion Programme where customers can voluntarily opt out of delivery services
  • Safe drop principles employed to ensure deliveries are not made in locations which may be considered at risk (e.g. schools)

Coles Liquor is a founding member of DrinkWise, and a signatory to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.

Henry Ashworth, President and CEO of IARD said the Alliance was pleased to partner with Coles and other leading global regional retailers, eCommerce and delivery platforms.

“Together with the twelve leading alcohol producers they have worked tirelessly to enhance safeguards and set global standards for the online sale and delivery of alcohol, taking further steps to prevent underage sale to minors and prevent harmful drinking,” Mr Ashworth said.

“We look forward to working with Coles and other Australian partners to embed these responsibility standards in Australia and across the globe.

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