Investing in a sustainable future
Sustainability is not a choice or something that is ‘nice to have’ – it is crucial to securing the future of our company and for creating shared value for our consumers, our shareholders and our stakeholders.
It is not a recent priority either – as a major international business in a controversial sector, we have long been aware of our responsibilities and our ability to address issues on a global scale.
In our long history of focusing on sustainability and corporate responsibility, we have made significant progress – our strong market performance is delivering value for our shareholders, while we have also embedded more effective sustainability practices into our day-to-day business. These have included strengthening our approach to human rights, advancing sustainable agricultural practices among our farmers, developing industry-wide security systems for our supply chain that help prevent tobacco trafficking, and achieving significant reductions in CO2e emissions
We still have a long way to go, and as much as our business has changed so has the world around us – from evolving consumer demands and emerging opportunities in Next Generation Products, to increasing expectations of the role of business in society.
In 2014, we sharpened our approach further with the development of a sustainability agenda, focused on the most material issues for our business and our stakeholders in three key areas: harm reduction, sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods, and corporate behaviour. These are not only sustainability issues, they are fundamental business imperatives. They ensure we have an ongoing focus on the matters which have the most relevance for our stakeholders and consequently the future of our business.
Read more about our sustainability agenda, goals and commitments, key activities and performance in our latest Sustainability Report.
We are proud that our focus on sustainability has been recognised by our inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for 15 consecutive years.
In the 2016 indices review, we were the only tobacco company to feature in the DJSI’s European index. Our overall score was 83%, 28 percentage points higher than the industry average of 55%, and we scored better than the industry average in 16 of the 17 assessment sections.
We achieved industry leadership in 10 of the sections – up from nine in 2015 – including a maximum 100% rating for Raw Material Sourcing; Environmental Policy and Management; Environmental Reporting; and Materiality.
We believe these scores reflect the quality of management across our business and our comprehensive global focus on sustainability issues.
Our focus on sustainability and reporting has gained other high-profile external recognition. For example, we were awarded a Silver Class distinction for sustainability performance in the sustainability investment specialist RobecoSAM's 2017 Sustainability Yearbook.
In addition, our Sustainability Summary 2015 report, which was published in March 2016, was ranked as the fifth best overall report of its type in the world in the 2017 Corporate Register Reporting Awards.