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Risk management

Well-managed risk-taking lies at the heart of our Performance Ambition to be one of the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer products companies in the world. Great risk management drives better commercial decisions, protects our assets and supports a growing, resilient, and sustainable business.

Risk Management2

Our approach

We believe that great risk management starts with the right conversations to drive better business decisions. Our focus is to identify and embed mitigation actions for material risks that could impact our current or future performance, and/or our reputation. Our approach is holistic and integrated, bringing together risk management, internal controls and business integrity, ensuring that our activities across this agenda focus on the risks that could have the greatest impact.

We regularly review and refresh our principal risks, our risk appetite, and our approach to risk management. Our approach is also structured to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to mitigate, but not to eliminate, our principal risks in this context.

Accountability for managing risk is embedded into our management structures. Each market and function undertake an annual risk assessment, establishes mitigation plans and monitors risk on a continual basis.

Our Executive Audit & Risk Committee regularly assesses risk, and the Board independently reviews the assessment. This Committee meets quarterly and receives regular reports on the risks faced across the business and the effectiveness of the actions taken to mitigate these risks. We use internal and external data to monitor our risks and to make proactive interventions. We also establish cross-functional working groups and use expert advice where necessary to ensure significant risks are effectively managed and, where appropriate, escalated to the Executive and Board for consideration. In 2021 we implemented an integrated risk management tool across the business to enhance our risk management process.

For more detail on our risk management approach, download our 2022 Corporate Governance Report (PDF 586KB)

Our principal risks

The Executive and Board considered the group’s principal risks and our risk appetite, setting the level of risk tolerance we have for risks that could impact delivery of our strategic objectives. Examples of risks for which we have zero appetite include risks that could: harm our people; impact product quality; cause us to market irresponsibly or otherwise act without integrity; and be non-compliant with laws and regulations, including those relating to financial reporting.

Risks that can be partially mitigated through insurance are also identified and evaluated. We focus our insurance resources on the most critical areas or where there is a legal requirement, seeking a balance between retained risk and risk transfer. As insurance markets are getting tighter this is an area we continue to monitor.

The Board considers principal risks to be the most significant risks faced by the group, including those that are the most material to our performance and that could threaten our business model or future long-term performance, solvency or liquidity. They do not comprise all the risks associated with our business and are not set out in priority order. Additional risks not known to management, or currently deemed to be less material, may also have an adverse effect on the business.

We have reviewed and updated the descriptions, risk outlooks and mitigating actions of our principal risks. The overall level of risk, despite mitigation efforts, is increasing in line with significant external threats such as digital revolution, climate change, geopolitical risks, and the resulting surge of global uncertainty in many areas. Pandemics was elevated from an emerging risk in the prior year to a principal risk this year to reflect the increased impact and mitigations needed to manage this risk. Counterfeit, previously grouped with Product Quality risk, is now shown separately.

Cyber threats

Sophisticated cyber and IT threats, including those facilitated through breaches of internal policies and unauthorised access, could lead to theft, loss and misappropriation of critical assets and/or personal data and disruption to core business operations including manufacturing and supply, resulting in financial loss, significant fines and reputational damage.

Climate change, sustainability & responsibility

Physical and transition climate change risks including water stress and increased regulation, as well as inability to meet sustainability goals, could reduce revenues and profits. These risks could also impact trust and reputation amongst consumers, investors and other stakeholders.

Pandemics

Global outbreak of a public health threat or fear of such an event could result in increased government restrictions and regulations including the shutdown of the on-trade, restrictions to travel, and quarantining of our employees resulting in a negative impact to consumer demand, or a slowdown or halting of our business operations due to supply or logistic constraints, could adversely impact our financial performance.

Global economic volatility

Economic volatility or failure to react quickly enough to changing economic conditions, currency instability, inflationary pressures, changes to customs duties and tariffs, and/or eroded consumer confidence could impact forecasting and/or financial performance.

Consumer disruption

Inability to respond and adapt either our products or our processes to disruptive market forces including e-commerce, digital, and new formats could impact our ability to effectively service our customers and consumers with the required agility, thereby threatening market share, revenue, profitability and growth ambitions.

Geopolitical & natural hazards risk

International and domestic security risks including terrorism, as well as natural hazards, pose a threat to the safety of our employees and third parties at our sites and events, as well as to property and products. Political instability may also impact on our freedom to operate in a market.

Counterfeit

Ineffective brand protection and/or prevention/intervention to address counterfeiting of our products increases the threats posed by counterfeit products, including harm to consumers and damage to our corporate and brand reputation, as well as potential physical threats to our people due to the illicit nature of organisations involved in counterfeiting activities.

Business integrity, compliance & controls

Lack of an embedded business integrity culture and associated control framework increases risk that we are not compliant with relevant laws and regulations, including but not limited to anti-corruption, money laundering, global competition and economic sanction laws impacting on our reputation and/or resulting in significant financial penalties and/or material misstatement of financial reporting.

Data privacy

We are subject to a wide variety of laws and regulations regarding protection of personal data and any failure or perceived failure by us may result in significant fines, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results or reputation.

Product quality

Accidental or malicious contamination of raw materials or finished product which is supplied to the market could cause harm to consumers and damage our corporate and brand reputation.

Regulation, indirect tax & trade barriers

Regulators in major markets increasingly impose indirect tax increases, trade barriers and/or restrictions on the marketing and sale of alcohol.

International direct tax

Significant changes to the international tax environment alter our operating position, leading to an increase in our effective tax rates and/or unexpected tax exposures and uncertainty.

View pages 42-46 of our 2022 Annual Report to learn more about our principal risks (PDF 150KB).