british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Australia's Sustainable Business Partner initiative

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SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2009

In response to stakeholders' expectations and our efforts to address human rights in the supply chain, British American Tobacco Australia developed the Sustainable Business Partner initiative. Building on our BEST programme and focusing on local suppliers, this initiative:

  • Communicates our values and principles with regard to sustainability;
  • Assesses suppliers’ social and environmental practices;
  • Facilitates simple completion and scoring; and
  • Can be easily integrated into existing procurement systems.

The Group’s BEST programme is applied predominantly to global and regional suppliers. This local Sustainable Business Partner initiative assesses major suppliers appointed locally, and therefore not covered by BEST, to a defined standard of social and environmental responsibility. It enables suppliers to understand the company’s values and reinforces that suppliers’ practices, including human rights, environmental practices and community involvement, will be considered when contracts are awarded or renewed.

The initiative, rolled out in Australia at the end of 2007 and adopted in New Zealand and the South Pacific in 2008, is now an established part of local procurement processes. While there was initial resistance from suppliers in some markets, careful engagement produced positive outcomes; for example, in one instance, a logistics supplier amending its employee safety practices as a result of the process. Our local companies believe that it is in developing markets, such as some of those in the South Pacific, that the initiative is most beneficial.