We launched our new International Marketing Principles Group-wide at the end of 2012
Like any business, we want to grow our market share. But we do this responsibly, not by trying to increase the number of smokers or how much they smoke, but through competitive and innovative product offers to encourage existing adult smokers to choose our products over those of our competitors.
Our voluntary International Marketing Standards have been in place throughout the Group since 2001. In 2012, we updated the Standards to reflect developments in marketing, technology, regulation and stakeholder expectations. We launched our new International Marketing Principles Group-wide at the end of 2012.
Our four key marketing principles are:
We will not mislead about the risks of smoking.
We will only market our products to adult smokers.
We will not seek to influence consumers about whether or how much to smoke.
It should always be clear that our advertising comes from a tobacco company and is intended to sell our products.
We monitor compliance to our International Marketing Principles (and previously to our old International Marketing Standards) through market audits and annual self-assessments and any incidents of non-adherence are reported to our regional audit and CSR Committees and to the Board CSR Committee.
In 2012, there were 14 incidents where we failed to adhere to our International Marketing Standards (2011: 21). Appropriate actions were taken in every one of these cases and we are committed to 100% compliance to our new Marketing Principles.
Youth smoking prevention
Our marketing is aimed only at adult smokers and is not designed to engage or appeal to the youth sector. Our global approach to youth smoking prevention focuses on engagement with governments to adopt minimum age laws of 18 for tobacco sales where none exist and, where they do, to effectively enforce them.
We work with retailers to raise awareness of minimum age laws and provide training and advice on checking IDs for age verification, and we supply in-store posters and materials. In some countries, political instability or regulation stops our activities, and we are also limited where we only operate through a distributor. In 2012, this was the case for markets representing 14% of our total sales volumes. In the remaining markets, 98% reported adherence to our youth smoking prevention approach. We remain committed to achieving 100% compliance.
You can view our marketplace performance charts in our sustainability data centre .