Our CSR Committee helps us manage environmental and reputational risks
A central part of being a sustainable business is operating with integrity and responsibility. Effective governance is critical to ensuring that we live up to our principles and standards and also that we deliver on our sustainability agenda.
Group corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance is monitored through a Board CSR Committee and at regional and local levels through combined audit and CSR committees. This structure supports the embedding of CSR and sustainability principles across the Group and allows performance against those principles to be monitored.
Framework for CSR
Our Framework for CSR is based on our Business Principles and was developed in collaboration with stakeholders. It takes each of our Core Beliefs and sets out how we see our role in each of these areas – where we should take the lead, where we should work with others and where we think others should take the lead.
Board CSR Committee
The Board CSR Committee meets at least four times a year and comprises four Non-Executive Directors: Karen de Segundo, who chairs the Committee, Christine Morin-Postel, Sir Nicholas Scheele and Dr Richard Tubb (with effect from 28 January 2013). The Chairman, Chief Executive and the Management Board members responsible for Corporate and Regulatory Affairs and Global Operations regularly attend meetings by invitation but are not members.
The Committee is authorised by the Board of British American Tobacco p.l.c. to review CSR and sustainability activity within the business. Through feedback from the regional and local committees, it assesses Group social and environmental performance, evaluates our policies in the area of social, environmental and reputational risks and, where necessary, makes recommendations for change. It also reviews the British American Tobacco Group’s sustainability agenda and plans and approves the Company’s Sustainability Report.
The Committee is authorised to seek the information it requires from, and require the attendance at any of its meetings of, any Director or member of management and all employees are expected to cooperate with any request made by the Committee. It is authorised by the Board to obtain, at the Company’s expense, independent professional advice and secure the attendance of outsiders with relevant experience and expertise if it considers this necessary.
The Chairman of the Committee reports to the subsequent meeting of the Board on the Committee’s work and the Board receives a copy of the minutes of each meeting. The papers considered by the Committee are available to any Director who is not a member, should they wish to receive them.
For the Board CSR Committee’s Terms of Reference, visit Board Committees.
The Committee considered a report prepared by the Company Secretary on the effectiveness of the Committee as assessed during the evaluation of the Board in 2012. While the Committee was considered to be functioning well, a number of action points were identified:
Committee focus and forward agenda: Less focus on in-depth country presentations and increased focus on regulation and harm reduction (the Committee also finalised its forward agendas for 2013 in light of these new areas of focus).
Peer review: A review of how the Company compares to its industry peers in terms of delivery and reporting of its CSR agenda (this is scheduled for 2013).
Committee Composition: The addition of a member with scientific background would augment the Committee’s skillset (Dr Richard Tubb was appointed to the Committee in January 2013).
Regional and local committees
The CSR Committee is supported at regional and local levels through combined audit and CSR committees, with the exception of a small number of local audit and CSR committees that have remained separate. The structure aims to support the embedding of CSR and sustainability principles across the Group and to allow performance against those principles to be monitored. The regional audit and CSR committees meet three times annually, and they follow a standard agenda, in order that materials and issues that are presented and raised at regional level may feed into Board level discussions, and vice versa.