In January 2022, the non-profit Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education (Aware.org) announced CEO Ingrid Louw would be stepping down from her position, and Carmen Mohapi would be taking up the reins as interim CEO. WineLand caught up with Carmen to get to know her better.
1. What was your background and involvement with Aware.org before your appointment?
Prior to joining Aware, I held the position as Marketing Director for Heineken SA for 3 years. In this role, I was mandated to adhere to the Code of Communications, a self-regulation framework for alcohol advertising, set out by Aware.
Equally important, however, was also supporting the mandate of Aware through Heineken’s communications to encourage responsible consumption of our alcoholic and non-alcoholic products.
My relationship with Aware.org, previously known as ARA, began when I moved from SABMiller to the SAB Ltd Marketing team working on their Global Brands Portfolio, where the role of marketing to encourage responsible consumption was clear and prioritised.
2. Is the position of CEO being advertised and will you be eligible for the position?
Our main Industry members are in the process of regrouping and restructuring to effectively and efficiently drive a data-driven responsible consumption of alcohol strategy.
As such, it’s expected that there may be changes to the mandate of Aware and how that it is rolled out. It is therefore important that both the Board and I are able to make more long-term decisions once those changes are implemented.
I am confident that the open communication between myself and the members of the Board will have a positive outcome for all.
3. Has the pandemic and state of disaster created new challenges or opportunities?
The pandemic has highlighted a number of challenges and opportunities for the Industry. The alcohol bans were a devastating blow to the entire value chain within the alcohol industry.
That said it also highlighted areas that needed more deliberate focus, including the need for science-based evidence to enhance the efficacy of our responsible consumption programmes and to drive collaboration across Industry.
Personally, it is a privilege for me to be help advance that mandate in order to have a positive societal influence
4. What is your current mandate within the regulatory environment?
Aware.org’s mandate is very much focused on implementing programmes to reduce harmful drinking. Regulatory changes are largely handled by trade associations such as SA Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA), Beer Association of SA or Vinpro.
5. What are the ingredients of a successful alcohol awareness campaign?
The ability to change behaviours with regard to alcohol harm requires a multi-stakeholder, multi-faceted approach which includes taking interventions back to the heart of the community and creating opportunities for change that can grow into sustainable impact in the long-term.
We have partnered with our Industry Members, Department of Trade and Road Traffic Management Company to run a robust campaign encouraging those who consume alcohol to stay safe by not Driving or Walking after having consumed alcohol. Our mass media approach will aim to remind drivers and drinkers to think about, and plan, for a safe way home before their first drink.
In addition, collectively the industry has supported on-the-ground activations, roadblocks and community patroller support to drive awareness, enforcement and where possible protection.
More about Aware.org
Aware.org has a clear and unambiguous mandate through its strategic multi-stakeholder relationships and industry’s unwavering commitment and support to successfully contribute to sustainably reducing the harmful consumption of alcohol while ensuring effective self-regulation and the alignment of government relationships.
In addition, as a repository of credible content and information, aware.org educates identified audiences about the risks associated with irresponsible consumption of alcohol with a view to changing attitudes and behaviours to reduce alcohol-related harm.
- To drive a tangible reduction in the harmful consumption of alcohol.
- To build a culture of responsible alcohol trade and to ensure responsible marketing and advertising across the industry value chain and ecosystem.
- As a social catalyst, to drive positive behavioural change and to ultimately realise a generation free of alcohol-related harm by improving our prospects for national health, well-being and prosperity.