Our Standards of Business Conduct are an integral part of the Group’s governance
This page is not a complete description of Group policies and standards, but offers an overview of those likely to be of particular interest to stakeholders, with links to the documents.
Statement of Business Principles
Our Statement of Business Principles forms the basis on which we expect our businesses to be run in terms of responsibility. Developed with the help of stakeholders in dialogue, it consists of three Business Principles: Mutual Benefit, Responsible Product Stewardship and Good Corporate Conduct, and eighteen Core Beliefs. All Group companies have adopted the Statement and are encouraged to engage in stakeholder dialogue to help determine how it should best be reflected in their business practices. The Business Principles and Core Beliefs form the basis for our continuous auditing of Group companies’ CSR performance.
Stakeholders in dialogue also helped British American Tobacco p.l.c. to develop our Business Principles into a Framework for CSR. We believe this may provide a blueprint for a responsible tobacco business and a basis for ongoing stakeholder dialogue. Within the Framework, each Core Belief offers three areas of responsibility, which attempt to address the nature of appropriate contributions for a commercial organisation:
Our Standards of Business Conduct are an integral part of the Group’s governance and, together with our Business Principles, underpin our commitment to high standards of corporate responsibility. The Standards apply to all Group companies and employees and require high standards of behaviour and integrity wherever our businesses operate. Each company is required to adopt them or local policies which reflect them and each employee is expected to know and comply with their provisions. Each General Manager and Head of Function must sign a letter annually confirming compliance and continuous information on performance against the Standards is gathered and reported quarterly to the Board Audit Committee.
Our International Marketing Principles (IMP) set down detailed guidance on all aspects of tobacco marketing, from print, billboards and electronic media to promotional events, packaging and sponsorship. Central to the IMP is our long held commitment to ensuring that no marketing activity is directed at, or particularly appeals to, youth. The IMP are globally applicable and in some countries exceed the requirements of local laws. Adherence by our companies forms part of our regular internal audit process, supported by annual self-certification by management and Audit Committee review. We publicly report any instances of incomplete adherence each year.
Our Snus Marketing Standards (SMS) came into effect on 1 November 2011. The SMS are applied solely to the marketing of Swedish style snus. We believe there is sufficient scientific evidence to support a less restrictive regime for the promotion of snus, on the basis of its potentially lower health risk when compared to cigarettes. In line with this belief, a separate set of marketing standards have been introduced specifically for snus. Our SMS follow the structure and spirit of our International Marketing Standards, central to which is our commitment to ensuring that no marketing activity is directed at, or particularly appeals, to youth.
Our Employment Principles build on our commitment to good employment practices and workplace related human rights. They set out a common approach to our companies’ development of policies and procedures, while recognising that each company must take account of local labour law and practice and the local political, economic and cultural context. All our companies have committed to the Employment Principles and, through our internal audit process, are required to demonstrate that they are embedding them in the workplace. Our auditing also monitors that our companies are strongly encouraging key suppliers to meet similar standards.
Our Philosophy for Supplier Partnerships is a Group statement on supply chain management which has been distributed to key global, regional and local supply partners. It builds on our Business Principles and supply chain practices. Amongst standards we expect of suppliers, the statement makes clear that we will not tolerate any supply partner who has not taken steps to avoid the employment of children (other than in genuine apprenticeships), sales of cigarettes to minors, use of forced or illegal immigrant labour, working conditions that do not meet our own occupational health or safety standards, denial of access to, or unfair application of a transparent grievance procedure or any form of unlawful discrimination, harassment, abuse or bullying.
We accept that our companies’ operations affect the environment and we are committed to following high standards of environmental protection, adhering to the principles of sustainable development and protecting biodiversity.
We aim to apply the best international standards of practice relating to the health and safety of employees at work and non-company personnel on company premises and to give a high priority to these activities. The Statement is backed by detailed specific requirements.
Our Biodiversity Statement recognises that we have both an impact and a dependence on biodiversity and states our commitment to avoiding, minimising, mitigating or offsetting our impacts on biodiversity and linked ecosystem services. The Statement is backed by detailed specific requirements.