british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Australasia's corporate social investment area strategy

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SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2009

British American Tobacco Australasia has developed a strategy for corporate social investment (CSI) to help ensure that:

  • There is a consistent approach to CSI across the area focused on one theme - empowerment;
  • CSI projects are properly governed; and
  • CSI is leveraged appropriately to enhance internal and external stakeholder engagement.

Our businesses in Australasia identified the need to focus their CSI work on one key theme that the businesses in all markets of the area could support. Operating across such diverse markets as Australia, Fiji and Samoa, they worked hard to find a common theme, but empowerment was relevant in all markets.

Empowerment is defined as providing people with the training, education and opportunities to help themselves, especially in circumstances where government support is limited. Projects may include:

  • Adult education (grants to institutions for scholarships and research);
  • Training for farmers (agronomy and entrepreneurship); and
  • Help for small businesses and efforts contributing to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture (not just tobacco).

The CSI strategy aims to ensure that the focus within British American Tobacco Australasia is in line with countries’ national priorities. It recognises that business relies on a healthy, educated workforce, strong societies and stable economies and that there are very real threats to these in the area. The businesses believe they can play a role in helping to address these issues, particularly in the developing markets of the South Pacific where whole sectors of society struggle to access basic opportunities, and the aim is to help empower these groups to improve their lives. The strategy also supports the transfer of key insights from British American Tobacco companies in developed countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, to British American Tobacco companies in developing markets in the area, helping the business units in these markets to partner with and build upon the capacity of appropriate community organisations.

The strategy is currently being implemented in the area, with the aim of ensuring that 80 per cent of CSI spend by our businesses in Australasia goes towards initiatives with clearly articulated empowerment outcomes.