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Global standards for online sale of alcohol informed by Australian organisations

May 26, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) has released its Global Standards for Online Alcohol Sale and Delivery, introducing safeguards to prevent alcohol deliveries to minors and intoxicated persons.

The Global Standards have been welcomed by Retail Drinks Australia who in 2019 were the first to establish standards of responsibility around online delivery within an Australian context and by Endeavour Group who were invited to work with the IARD in January this year.

Retail Drinks’ Online Alcohol Sale and Delivery Code of Conduct was developed by the organisation following extensive industry consultation and research into responsible online alcohol sales and delivery. Endeavour Group is a major contributor to and a signatory of the Retail Drinks’ code which incorporates many RSA measures including self exclusion, third party exclusion, bespoke driver training and RSA registers for deliveries.

The code was with the IARD and has since been used to inform the new global alliance promoting the importance of regulation in the liquor online retail space. Retail Drinks and Endeavour Group have also consulted with the IARD in the development of the Global Standards.

Retail Drinks CEO Michael Waters reiterated the importance of Retail Drinks’ work in influencing the content and implementation of the Global Standards.

“Retail Drinks is enormously proud to have played a significant leadership role in the promotion of responsible online liquor retailing and we are thrilled that our code has now assumed an international dimension with the launch of the new global standards,” he said.

Endeavour Group’s Managing Director, Steve Donohue said: “Endeavour Group’s ambition is to be Australia’s most responsible retailer, so we were honoured to be invited by IARD to not only share our insights and learnings, but also help us learn from other businesses globally on the steps that we can continue to take. It’s pleasing to see that our hard work has helped IARD shape the global guidelines for online alcohol sales, and we look forward to continuing this partnership.”

Upon the release of the Global Standards on Wednesday, IARD President Henry Ashworth, praised the Retail Drinks Code and Endeavour Group for their contributions to the development of equivalent frameworks in other countries.

“We are pleased to partner with Retail Drinks and other leading global and regional retailers, e-commerce and delivery platforms. The Australian Code for online alcohol sales has led the way in setting responsibility standards at a national level and we look forward to working with Retail Drinks to promote the development of local codes across the globe,” he said.

“Endeavour Group’s expertise and learning has played a significant role in the development of the standards and we look forward to working with them to embed these standards in Australia and across the globe.”

IARD initiated the partnership with the two organisations after the Covid-19 global pandemic accelerated online sales of alcohol the world over.

Steve Donohue said: “Covid-19 has changed the ways customers shop for the foreseeable future, and as an increasing number of customers choose home delivery in an effort to reduce community transmission, it’s great to see the industry come together on a global level and agree on robust guidelines. As drinks retailers, we have a great responsibility to the communities we serve.”

The standards outlined in the global guidelines launched by IARD include improving safeguards and security measures that aim to prevent minors from being able to buy alcohol, mechanisms to prevent beer, wine, and spirits being delivered to minors or to individuals showing visible signs of intoxication.

“E-commerce has been transforming the retail industry in Australia for a number of years, and Endeavour Group recognised that, with its industry leadership in alcohol delivery, our responsible service controls need to be robust, workable and lift the overall industry standard,” said Donohue.

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