british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Group CSR Governance

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Sustainability Report 2010

Group CSR Governance

A central part of being a sustainable business is operating with integrity and responsibility. Effective governance is critical to ensuring that we live up to our principles and standards and also that we deliver on our sustainability agenda.

Group CSR performance is monitored through a Board CSR Committee and at regional and local levels through combined audit and CSR committees. This structure supports the embedding of CSR and sustainability principles across the Group and allows performance against those principles to be monitored.

Framework for CSR

Our Framework for CSR Opens in new window is based on our Business Principles and was developed in collaboration with stakeholders. It takes each of our Core Beliefs and sets out how we see our role in each of these areas – where we should take the lead, where we should work with others and where we think others should take the lead.

Board CSR Committee

The Board CSR Committee meets at least three times a year and comprises four Non-Executive Directors: Karen de Segundo, who chairs the Committee, Dr Ana Maria Llopis, Dr Gerry Murphy and Kieran Poynter. The Chairman, Chief Executive and the Management Board members responsible for Corporate and Regulatory Affairs and Global Operations regularly attend meetings by invitation but are not members.

The Committee is authorised by the Board of British American Tobacco p.l.c. to review CSR and sustainability activity within the business. Through feedback from the regional and local committees, it assesses Group social and environmental performance, evaluates our policies in the area of social, environmental and reputational risks and, where necessary, makes recommendations for change. It also reviews the British American Tobacco Group’s sustainability agenda and plans, as well as approving the Company’s Sustainability Report. You can view key activities of the Board CSR Committee in 2010 here.

The Committee is authorised to seek the information it requires from, and require the attendance at any of its meetings of, any Director or member of management, and all employees are expected to cooperate with any request made by the Committee. It is authorised by the Board to obtain, at the Company’s expense, independent professional advice and secure the attendance of outsiders with relevant experience and expertise if it considers this necessary.

The Chairman of the Committee reports to the subsequent meeting of the Board on the Committee’s work and the Board receives a copy of the minutes of each meeting. The papers considered by the Committee are available to any Director who is not a member, should they wish to receive them.

Summary Terms of Reference

The CSR Committee is responsible for:
  • Reviewing and making appropriate recommendations to the Board as regards the Company’s management of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the conduct of business in accordance with the Statement of Business Principles;
  • Monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the Group’s strategy for, and management of, significant social, environmental and reputational issues;
  • Reviewing and monitoring the Group’s plans for, and progress towards, business sustainability; and
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of the CSR governance process.
The Committee's terms of reference were reviewed in December 2010 and minor updates were made with effect from 1 January 2011. The full terms of reference are available from the Company Secretary and on Opens in new window.

Regional and local committees

The CSR Committee is supported at regional and local levels through combined audit and CSR committees, with the exception of a small number of local audit and CSR committees that have remained separate. The structure aims to support the embedding of CSR and sustainability principles across the Group and to allow performance against those principles to be monitored. The regional audit and CSR committees meet three times annually, and they follow a standard agenda, in order that materials and issues which are presented and raised at regional level may feed into Board level discussions, and vice versa.