british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Employee sustainability initiative in Germany


‘We can do better!’ was the slogan that British American Tobacco Germany used to launch the first internal company sustainability week in Hamburg. Information on sustainability was displayed throughout the building and an exhibition included information, such as on a new environmentally friendly fleet of cars for trade marketing teams, on energy saving initiatives and on the number of business flights taken. Employees were given the opportunity to determine their own personal ‘sustainability footprint’ and during the week the employee restaurant offered only local and organic food.

As part of the week, employees were asked to put forward suggestions for responsible and environmentally friendly behaviour in everyday life. This was a huge success: 356 ideas were submitted and many of the ideas were included in the brochure ‘50 Tips for Everyday Heroes’. This was published as a follow-up to the sustainability week and shows how people can contribute to sustainability by making small changes in their professional and personal lives.

The feasibility of each of the 356 ideas was assessed and the first to be implemented was ‘Canteen Cent’, where employees can donate 50 cents a month in the employee restaurant. Employees select a charity to receive the donations and then the money is collected for three months and matched by the company.

The sustainability week initiative was nominated for the German Prize for Business Communication and was one of the finalists in the ‘Best Communication of Corporate Responsibility’ category. The sustainability week was a successful start to embedding sustainability within the company and employee feedback suggests that the initiative not only increased employee awareness, but created genuine commitment to sustainability issues.