Who are our stakeholders?
Our stakeholders are anyone who is impacted by, or can impact upon, our business operations. They include investors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), regulators, suppliers, the scientific and public health communities, consumers, employees, local communities, customers (retailers and distributors) and CSR opinion leaders. We use stakeholder mapping to focus our dialogue and aim to engage with relevant experts in each area.
How will we involve stakeholders in our sustainability agenda?
Stakeholder engagement has brought significant business value to British American Tobacco. Embarking on our programme of formal stakeholder dialogue seven years ago allowed us to broaden the range of stakeholders with whom we engaged. The process acted as a catalyst to drive our CSR activity and has enabled the Group to take greater account of a wider range of stakeholder expectations in its decision making.
We will continue to hold independently facilitated and assured dialogue, but will shift our focus to discussing our sustainability agenda and developing targets and plans to address sustainability issues.
Stakeholders will also play a central role in shaping our future reporting. In this way, we believe our reporting will remain relevant to our business and its key sustainability issues.
What did we discuss with stakeholders in 2007?
Comment from Ernst & Young LLP
“We attended the London-based stakeholder dialogue events. The meetings were independently facilitated and attended by British American Tobacco senior management, who made commitments to follow up on points highlighted during these sessions. We consider the description of these sessions within this Report to be a fair summary of the topics covered and issues raised.”
In 2007, we asked Ipsos MORI once again to facilitate our formal dialogue, which was attended by Ernst & Young who provided assurance on the accuracy of Ipsos MORI’s records of these meetings. Sessions were held on our Supply Chain, our Marketplace and on our People and Culture. Attendees included representatives from the investment community, NGOs, academics and business partners. We have found over the years that this range of opinion provides a valuable, balanced and practical commentary on the sustainability issues we face.
We also conducted a separate dialogue to seek the views and guidance of various CSR experts on our reporting process and our decision to move to sustainability reporting. This was facilitated by a specialist CSR consultancy, Acona.
Harm reduction is a key issue for our business and we have engaged with a number of stakeholders in this area for several years. We have found that engagement with individuals or individual organisations is preferred by most of these stakeholders and is potentially more productive. We therefore decided not to conduct a wider facilitated discussion on harm reduction for this Report. Nevertheless stakeholders raised the topic of harm reduction in all the facilitated sessions, underlining, in their view, its position as our most significant sustainability issue. We report on harm reduction separately in this report.