We provide independent farmers with training and technical support
Our Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production (SRTP) programme sets out the minimum performance levels we expect of suppliers to our Global Leaf Pool. It also demonstrates best practice by encouraging continuous improvement across our leaf supply chain.
All suppliers of tobacco leaf to British American Tobacco are required to act in accordance with the SRTP programme.
Suppliers include British American Tobacco local companies and third party leaf dealers who contract with farmers on our behalf. Through them the programme reaches all the suppliers we buy leaf from.
The programme outlines expectations of Good Agricultural Practice in and around the farm. These combine viable tobacco production with positive environmental management; soil and water conservation; appropriate use of agrochemicals; environmental, occupational health and safety standards in tobacco leaf processing and promoting afforestation programmes to enable farmers who require wood for tobacco curing to obtain it from sustainable sources.
It also focuses on other social and economic issues such as eliminating exploitative child labour in the tobacco growing supply chain, human rights, and livelihood and labour standards as well as advocating a holistic approach to the protection and promotion of biodiversity.
The SRTP approach to good agricultural practices
Training farmers and providing them with technical support;
Aiming to ensure appropriate farm safety measures are in place and followed;
Careful selection of seeds;
Integrated pest management – safety standards and alternatives to manufactured pesticides;
Soil conservation through good agricultural practices such as crop rotation, soil mulching, drainage and land contouring;
Water resource conservation – avoiding ‘run off’ of agrochemicals and nutrients and avoiding over-application of fertilisers;
Efficient and sustainable use of wood and the use of alternative fuels;
Implementation of carbon and climate change measures on the farm;
Promoting afforestation programmes and diversification of woodlands.
The SRTP approach to tobacco leaf processing (Green Leaf Threshing)
Reducing the impact of noise, temperature, dust and similar in the workplace;
Comprehensive surveys of all risks to employees;
Actions to rectify potential safety issues, such as training and awareness programmes;
Fire prevention, risk evaluation and fire detection systems;
Appropriate equipment, training and medical care available, including community support;
Aiming to ensure that sub-contractors do not expose themselves or other employees to risk;
Control of spillages and emissions to air and water;
Vehicle safety and the environmental impact of transportation.
SRTP and other social and economic issues
Referring to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work , SRTP sets expectations of working conditions and labour standards for farmers, their families and hired workers.
SRTP has a specific focus on child labour. Through SRTP we seek to understand what children are doing and why, promote access to schooling and track efforts to address vulnerability where appropriate. Read more about child labour in Human rights in our supply chain.
Farmers’ living standards
Supply and demand will always influence the price paid to farmers, but through SRTP our aim is to ensure that farmers’ standards of living are maintained or increased through the introduction of good agricultural practices.
Our extension service aims to ensure that calculations on the cost of production take into account local price conditions.
Assessing suppliers performance and building capacity
We review and examine our leaf suppliers’ operations to drive improvement in social and environmental performance. Suppliers complete detailed annual SRTP self-assessments, reporting on a broad range of criteria.
In 2010, we developed minimum performance thresholds for our tobacco leaf suppliers. These were rolled out in 2011 and we require all suppliers to meet them. Any failure by the supplier to meet these minimum requirements may result in a loss of business.
Our suppliers are expected to educate farmers and workers on SRTP programme requirements, provide training to meet or exceed them and measure and monitor progress where improvements are needed.
In 2012, as well as all suppliers carrying out self-assessments, our independent reviewer carried out 27 reviews in seven countries. By the year end, 96 per cent of suppliers had been independently reviewed at least once. SRTP has been shared with the industry and the details of the review criteria are available on our independent reviewer's website .
Read more about our latest SRTP scores, including those for the child labour section in our 2012 Sustainability Report
The agricultural landscape is ever changing, as are the challenges it faces. The SRTP programme is reviewed and adapted over time to make sure it remains up to date and relevant, driving continuous improvement.
Our SRTP programme is becoming an industry standard, adopted by a number of tobacco manufacturers. AB Sustain (previously LeafTc) are contracted by the industry to validate the ongoing accuracy of the annual submissions made by suppliers. They visit farms and conduct in depth interviews with both farmers and suppliers. They also facilitate a pan-industry committee – of which we are an active participant – that reviews SRTP methodology scope, content and measurement.
The full SRTP programme was reviewed in 2011. In July 2012, we launched a new version of our SRTP with more challenging standards for our suppliers to share with the farmers they work with.
The most notable changes to the scope of the SRTP programme for 2012 are:
Higher expectations of policy commitments and the addition of new policies covering labour standards, health and safety, climate change and biodiversity;
The introduction of a formal review of SRTP performance by supplier management prior to submission to British American Tobacco;
Minimum requirements raised to drive improvements and to align the programme with international standards, for example, International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions;
Higher expectations of supplier / farmer training and awareness;
An extension of social indicators to cover a more complete set of labour standards as set out by ILO conventions, including health and safety. More formal reference is given to the treatment of child labour in the context of ILO conventions 138 and 182;
More formal treatment of biodiversity and climate change.
We publish SRTP scores each year and performance has improved consistently over time. The 2012 revisions outlined above include topics not previously assessed so we anticipate an initial downturn in supplier assessment scores. This won’t be a reflection of worsening standards or conditions and we fully expect suppliers to respond to the new programme rapidly and to the benefit of all involved.