Since 2001, all our companies have been required to demonstrate clearly defined management responsibility for CSR. The governance structure has involved local CSR committees covering markets where our companies do business, regional CSR committees chaired by Board Executive Directors and a Board CSR Committee currently chaired by Non-Executive Director, Karen de Segundo. The structure aims to support the embedding of CSR principles Group-wide by monitoring the Group’s performance against the Core Beliefs in our Statement of Business Principles.
The Board CSR Committee meets at least twice a year (three times a year from 2009) and is attended by the Company Chairman, the Chief Executive and senior managers. Through feedback from the regional and local CSR committees, it reviews Group social, environmental and corporate citizenship 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 p.l.c. sustainability reporting process.
Until 2009, regional CSR committees have comprised the members of the regional audit committees and representatives from our Corporate and Regulatory Affairs function. These have normally met twice a year, adjoined to regional audit committee meetings. Their work has included monitoring reputation risks, the management of CSR-related issues and initiatives, and checking that appropriate engagement is taking place with relevant stakeholders.
Local CSR committees have covered each market where our companies do business. For some smaller markets, these have taken the form of active CSR monitoring by the management team. The agendas for the local committees have been based on local issues. Meetings have taken place at least twice a year and the outputs were referred to the relevant regional CSR committee.
In 2008, we undertook a review of our CSR governance processes with the aim of ensuring that they continue to be well integrated into the business and maintain systematic and consistent reviews of key issues and risks.
As a result of this review, we decided to combine our audit and CSR governance processes below Board level and apply existing audit and risk management methodologies to CSR governance, thereby standardising audit and CSR processes globally.