british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Corporate social investment in South Korea


Working together for social enterprise

South Korea is currently facing high unemployment and the Government is promoting social enterprise as a way of tackling the issue. The Ministry of Labour plans to certify 1,000 social enterprises by the end of 2010, which will mean providing these organisations with various benefits including financial support and tax exemptions.

In 2009, British American Tobacco Korea signed an agreement with an NGO, called ‘Working Together’, to support Korea’s social enterprises. Under this three-year agreement, the NGO organised a public subscription process to select the social enterprises, and British American Tobacco provided financial support enabling them to grow to a point of self-sufficiency, with the aim of being certified by the Ministry of Labour.

This initiative was the first of its kind in Korea. The enterprises were assessed by a panel including a Government representative, a professor, a journalist and two representatives from the partner NGO.

The three social enterprises selected by the panel were:

  • ‘Green Travel’, which develops sustainable travel programmes that encourage cultural awareness and responsible consumption;
  • ‘God of Study’, which runs online and face-to-face classes and reinvests the profits to fund mentoring and education for people who cannot afford to pay for such education; and
  • ‘The Let’s Do Centre’, which teaches practical skills to develop future leaders in art and music.

‘Big Love’ charity clubs

British American Tobacco Korea’s employee volunteering club, called ‘Big Love’, was introduced in 2000. Members gather on weekends or holidays to volunteer for charitable projects; the company provides guidance on the activities and financial support such as funding travel and food expenses.

In 2009, there were 24 clubs across the company’s sales offices, factories and head office. Each club chooses its own charity work to meet local community needs and most carry out voluntary work every month. Activities are wide-ranging and include helping the elderly, planting trees and cleaning the streets. The number of employees involved in the clubs has increased over time and in 2009, the number of employee days volunteered grew by 47 per cent from 2008.

Community support

Under another agreement, British American Tobacco Korea sponsors the Federation of Artistic and Cultural Organisation (KNFACOK) in KyungNam province. The Federation hosts major cultural events in the rural area of Sacheon, where British American Tobacco Korea’s factory is located.