british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Other types of engagement

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Sustainability Report 2010


In 2010, we maintained our long-term partnership agreements, including those with our External Scientific Panel and our Biodiversity Partnership. Our External Scientific Panel gives us important input in developing our research programme. With our Biodiversity Partnership, we agreed the funding and areas of focus for the next five years.

We entered into a cooperation agreement with the European Commission and are working with the law enforcement authorities of its Member States to tackle illicit trade in tobacco. Our companies have also signed Memoranda of Understanding and industry agreements to tackle illicit trade in some 45 countries over recent years, with additional agreements signed in 2010 in Belarus, Colombia, South Korea and Vietnam.

We continued to collaborate with key suppliers on life cycle analysis studies and the development of an environmental scorecard. Our Memorandum of Cooperation with DHL, under which we initiate innovations in logistics with a particular focus on sustainability, remains in place.

In 2010, we also continued to address the issue of child labour through the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation, with community based projects in six countries.

You can read more about these in the relevant sections of this Report.

Customer research

For several years, our companies have commissioned an independent customer satisfaction survey among key distribution and retail partners, providing feedback on service quality and other aspects of our business relationship. In 2010, the survey was enhanced to include new methodologies, providing greater focus and allowing it to be coordinated globally by an independent research agency.

The survey covers several of our largest markets. In each market, it benchmarks British American Tobacco against our major local tobacco competitor and the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) supplier considered the best locally in serving the same retailers.

Quality of our service is covered across key areas including:

  • Trade marketing support;
  • Product distribution;
  • Products; 
  • Overall quality; and
  • Customer engagement.

The most recent results for 2010 rate British American Tobacco as the best company overall in 16 of 31 markets surveyed. We were also identified as the best overall company on trade marketing support in 17 of 31 markets surveyed.

Full results can be viewed at Opens in new window.

Journalist attitude survey

The press office at our headquarters in London commission an annual survey of UK journalists who have reported on the tobacco industry in the last year through various mediums, including print, web and broadcast.

The survey benchmarks British American Tobacco against our industry peers and covers issues including performance against our peers and our strengths and weaknesses.

In 2010, we outperformed our peers in most measures, including our quality of management, vision and strategy and corporate social responsibility. Compared to the tobacco industry as a whole, we were rated highest for our forward-looking approach and being a sound and successful business. However, the number of journalists who think our company is innovative continues to decline from previous surveys and the lack of a single global ‘mega’ brand was seen as a weakness.

The top-line results include:

  • 63 per cent saw our management and leadership as our main strength;
  • 78 per cent say our earnings potential was our strongest area in 2010, closely followed by our vision and strategy and quality of management;
  • 58 per cent said tougher regulation and the nature of our product were our biggest challenges; and
  • 75 per cent said we are the tobacco business they are most familiar with.

The results of this survey provide us with important insights into how the UK press view British American Tobacco which, in turn, can influence wider stakeholder opinion.

Employee opinion survey

We commission an independent, international employee opinion survey every two years. Called ‘Your Voice’, the survey is very valuable as it not only shows us the level of engagement of our employees, it also gives us an opportunity to benchmark our organisation against other multinational businesses. Most importantly, it highlights areas of the business where we can take action to address employees’ concerns.

You can see the results of our 2010 survey in the people and culture section.