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Sustainable Tobacco Programme

New programme drives industry-wide supplier standards

The Sustainable Tobacco Programme helps to drive standards in agricultural practices, environmental management and key social and human rights areas.

At British American Tobacco, we have always taken the environmental and social issues associated with growing and processing tobacco very seriously.

An example of this commitment is our Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production (SRTP) programme, which ran for more than 15 years. SRTP set out the minimum performance levels we expect of our tobacco leaf suppliers in areas such as sustainable agriculture, environmental management and human rights.

Through annual self-assessments and on-site reviews, SRTP promoted best practice and drove continuous improvement across our leaf supply chain.

In 2016, we replaced SRTP with the Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP). This is an industry-wide initiative developed in collaboration with other manufacturers to bring together best practice from across the industry and drive continuous improvement. It is also aligned to important external standards, such as those of the International Labour Organisation, and includes strengthened processes and more frequent on-site reviews.

STP covers areas such as sustainable farming techniques, the use of agrochemicals, soil and water management and actions that can be taken to help prevent child labour, forced labour and to create safer working environments.

The programme has been adopted by all major global tobacco manufacturers and their leaf suppliers. Its aim is to provide a more consistent and robust way of assessing suppliers’ performance, reducing complexity and driving continuous improvement across the global tobacco leaf supply chain.

STP was rolled out across our leaf supply chain in 2016 through a series of training and regional workshops. STP is independently managed by AB Sustain on behalf of the industry. Across the industry, STP covers 180 tobacco leaf suppliers and five million smallholder farmers in 52 countries.

How STP works

At British American Tobacco, STP applies to all our first-tier suppliers. These are:

  • our own tobacco leaf operations, which directly contract more than around 90,000 farmers
  • third-party suppliers, which contract around 260,000 farmers.

These suppliers complete a comprehensive annual self-assessment covering different criteria ranged under the key pillars of: crop, environment, people and facilities. They must also show that they have good governance underpinning all four areas and are required to assess, identify and mitigate any significant risks which may affect their ability to meet the STP criteria.

As well as the self-assessments, independent on-site reviews of first-tier leaf suppliers will be carried out every three years and will include visits to tobacco farms and in-depth analyses of suppliers’ policies, processes and practices.

We will use the results of the self-assessments and on-site reviews to work collaboratively with suppliers to drive improvements.

We published the results of our first-tier suppliers’ SRTP self-assessments annually in our sustainability performance centre . Following its first full year of implementation, we will also report our suppliers’ scores against the key STP pillars from 2018.

The type of criteria covered under each STP pillar

Crop
  • Seed testing and certification
  • Best practice crop management
  • Use of agrochemicals
  • Crop hygiene and control of contaminants
  • Farm profitability
Environment
  • Sustainable water, soil and forest management
  • Pollution control
  • Waste and recycling
  • Fuel and energy efficiency
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Biodiversity
People
  • Child labour prevention
  • Safe working environment
  • Fair treatment and preventing forced labour
  • Freedom of association
  • Terms of employment
Facilities
  • Hygiene and health
  • Safety and protection
  • Accident prevention
  • Emergency procedures
  • Medical facilities
  • Vehicles and drivers
  • Site security
Governance
  • Policies
  • Procedures and business records
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Business integrity
  • Traceability
  • Farmers’ economic viability
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