Working with Brand Promoters

Our Response to Brand Promoter Allegations

Recently, a number of allegations were raised with respect to the brand promoters that are working for our brands in Africa.

HEINEKEN employs brand promoters in Africa and throughout the world to promote and sell our beers. Brand promoters are mostly women employed via external sales promotion agencies. Some brand promoters work with our brands on a regular basis, others for specific events. Some promoters work exclusively for HEINEKEN, but many also work for different brands and companies.

We believe it is our responsibility to ensure brand promoters, whether directly or indirectly employed by us, have access to safe working environments free of sexual harassment and intimidation. Our ambition is that promoters are proud of the brands they promote and that they are happy to come to work.

We find it important to provide a safe working environment for our beer promoters in all places where we operate. With the Executive Team we have taken the following actions:

  1. Conducted internal surveys in Africa, Asia Pacific and Americas between January and March 2018. Through these surveys we detected several areas of improvement and Operating Companies are implementing correction plans.
  2. Are taking a deeper look at brand promoter work environments in our Africa operations. We brought in an independent consultant, Partner Africa, who is conducting an independent audit in 14 markets. We expect the results of these audits in June.
  3. Defined a set of 8 principles to improve how we work with brand promoters and in collaboration with our Operating Companies all over the world we are evaluating if these principles are actionable and can be implemented effectively.
  4. We drafted a new Brand Promoters Policy (BPP). We are in the process of validating the policy by gathering the inputs of NGOs. We will finalize the policy once we have gathered the inputs from NGOs and we have the results of the audits.

Our commitment is that by the end of June 2018 if we are not convinced that the 8 principles can be applied in any market or channel, we will immediately stop employing beer promoters in that market or channel until the necessary improvements have been made.

Our 8 principles:

  1. There are no exceptions: all brand promoters supporting our brands are in scope.
  2. Brand Promoter safety comes first: We will not deploy brand promoters if we cannot meet conditions for safety.
  3. Management is always responsible: Operating Company Managing Directors have to ensure that this policy is fully applied and is part of the contract with any Agency.
  4. HEINEKEN policies apply, in full, such as the Human Rights & Employee Policy and our Code of Business Conduct.
  5. Selection & training are mandatory: Brand promoters need to be selected and trained to perform their work and to be able to adequately deal with challenging and unforeseen situations.
  6. Support is always available
  7. Agencies must sign up to our policy: Agencies must sign-up, implement and comply with our brand promoters policy. We will terminate their contract if they do not ensure compliance.
  8. We regularly monitor compliance: Compliance with this brand promoters policy will be part of our internal assessment cycle. We will conduct yearly audits using an independent third party to assess compliance.

Follow our progress on how we work with brand promoters here.