The Responsible Trader Programme (RTP)
The Responsible Trader Programme (RTP) is a national high impact and holistic approach to engaging liquor traders on alcohol abuse and the harm it causes communities, is a first of its kind in South Africa. It is also the first programme in the country to actively position the liquor trader as a champion in the fight against alcohol abuse. The programme highlights the importance of trading responsibly to ensure the sustainability of the businesses of liquor traders.
SAB developed the RTP in response to the company’s deep concern about the harm alcohol abuse can cause to individuals, families and communities. Its objective is to encourage self-regulation amongst traders by creating awareness of the social, health and economic consequences of irresponsible trading. Added to the devastating impact of alcohol abuse on communities and individuals, irresponsible traders face tough consequences for their behaviour, including the potential loss of their trading license and in turn, a loss in income.
SAB executive director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation, Dr Vincent Maphai, says: “As recognised leaders in their respective communities, our trader partners are the most powerful force in the fight against the harm caused by alcohol abuse. Behaving responsibly and creating awareness amongst their customers and staff of the dangers of alcohol abuse can have a long term positive impact on the sustainability of communities and trader business.”
SAB believes that the most effective way to address alcohol abuse is through targeted interventions, such as the Responsible Trader Programme, which focus on those drinking patterns that are associated with harm. Proven approaches include improved education, good enforcement and strong self-regulation. These are approaches that SAB seeks to drive through its ongoing alcohol strategy, on which the company has spent more than R100-million since its inception in 2009.
SAB expects to educate more than 10 000 traders across South Africa during 2011 and will continue to invest in the RTP well into the future.
The Responsible Trader Programme focuses on three key areas:
1. Creating awareness about the harm caused by alcohol abuse and the role the trader plays in driving a reduction of alcohol abuse in their respective communities;
2. Building trader competence to actively ensure responsible trading in the outlet; and
3. Building trader competence to create awareness amongst outlet staff and customers about responsible trading and the harm caused by alcohol abuse
Post-training responsible trader behaviour is measured through a combination of check-in and mystery shopping sessions, which take place at the outlet. During check-in sessions, traders are aware of the visit and their level of awareness of the principles of the responsible trader programme is observed. Trader behaviour is unobtrusively observed during mystery shopping sessions at the outlet. Discussions with customers and communities determine the trader’s alignment with the programme.
The Responsible Trader Programme was designed through an extensively consultative process involving relevant local and regional government stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and trader association representatives. Interactive and collaborative workshops were held to gain an understanding of critical issues faced by each role player on the challenge of alcohol abuse, regulation and control, as well as for each to give input into the content of the training course.
“We believe that true progress in the fight against alcohol abuse in South Africa can only be achieved when all relevant role players, including industry and regulators, join forces to provide more robust and wide reaching initiatives. It is impossible for a single individual or institution to turn this grave situation we are facing around. We need to work together to achieve real and positive change,” says Dr Maphai.