british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Managing biodiversity


We aim to understand, manage and mitigate our impacts on biodiversity as far as possible – not only because we have a duty as a responsible business, but also because we depend on the natural world for our raw materials. During 2009, we focused on biodiversity training workshops and carrying out biodiversity risk and opportunity assessments in tobacco leaf growing locations.

Managing biodiversityThe agronomy support we provide to farmers enables them to minimise the negative biodiversity impacts caused by growing commercial crops. Our Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production (SRTP) programme includes soil and water conservation and integrated pest management, as well as many elements that mitigate farmers’ impact on biodiversity. You can read more about this in the Supply chain section and on Opens in new window.

Our Group Biodiversity Statement reflects our aim to embed biodiversity conservation across our businesses worldwide. Our companies assess their biodiversity impacts and dependencies then devise action plans to avoid, minimise and mitigate these impacts.

The British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership

Since 2001, we have worked with three NGOs in the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership – Fauna & Flora International, The Tropical Biology Association and the Earthwatch Institute.

We donated £1 million a year to the Partnership in its first five years and committed £1.5 million a year for five years from 2006. Through the Partnership, we are involved in more than 30 biodiversity projects worldwide. These fall into two categories:

  • Projects designed to embed biodiversity management in our own operations; and
  • External conservation projects selected and managed by our NGO partners.

Working in the Partnership, we continue to develop our management of biodiversity issues, measuring our impacts, setting targets for tackling them and reporting on progress. These include targets to undertake biodiversity risk and opportunity assessments in all our leaf growing operations and produce corrective action plans by 2010; to provide biodiversity training for our key leaf and senior staff; and for directly contracted farmers in our supply chain to source less than 3 per cent of curing wood from natural forest by 2015.

During 2009, the Partnership provided biodiversity training at three regional biodiversity workshops. The aim of the workshops was to enable employees to identify and, where necessary, mitigate possible biodiversity risks associated with our operations. Following the workshops, individual businesses were tasked with conducting biodiversity risk and opportunity assessments and developing action plans to address any identified risks.

In 2008, the Partnership produced a report on global biodiversity risk mapping, identifying locations where risks to biodiversity are high, medium or low. The results have now been shared with our companies to assist them in preparing their own biodiversity risk and opportunity assessments and associated action plans, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2010.

In February 2009, we launched an online biodiversity learning module. It is available to all employees with intranet access across the Group and, by the end of 2009, 1,305 people had completed the module. We will continue to monitor uptake with a view to assessing the module’s effectiveness and updating the content.


Managing biodiversity: what’s next?

Through 2010, our focus will be to assess the implementation of local corrective actions resulting from risk assessments. We also aim to further raise awareness of biodiversity issues through training workshops, engagement with farmers and our leaf managers, and through our online biodiversity learning module.