british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Policies, principles and standards

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Sustainability Report 2010

Statement of Business Principles

Our Statement of Business Principles Opens in new window sets out our expectations for the responsible management of the Group’s business. It was developed in 2002 in consultation with stakeholders, supported by the Institute of Business Ethics. The Statement comprises three principles – Mutual Benefit, Responsible Product Stewardship and Good Corporate Conduct – and 18 Core Beliefs which explain in more detail what each principle means for the Group.

Standards of Business Conduct

Our Standards of Business Conduct  Opens in new window underpin our commitment to high levels of corporate behaviour. While our Statement of Business Principles sets out our beliefs and values, our Standards of Business Conduct apply these to specific situations which may arise in our day-to-day business life.

Details of our Standards of Business Conduct

Our Standards of Business Conduct apply to all our businesses and employees. They require compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, as well as conduct consistent with high standards of business integrity. They also provide clear and practical guidance covering:
  • Whistleblowing
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Entertainment and gifts
  • Political contributions
  • Charitable contributions
  • Accurate accounting and record-keeping
  • Protection of corporate assets
  • Confidentiality and information security
  • Insider dealing and market abuse
  • Competition and anti-trust laws
  • Money laundering and anti-terrorism
  • Trade in the Group’s products
  • Sanctions

All Group companies have adopted our Standards of Business Conduct or local policies embodying them. They are applicable to all employees, including senior management, and to the Board Directors. Senior managers in the Group must report on annual compliance with the Standards. Agents, consultants and other third parties engaged on behalf of any Group company are expected to apply standards of business conduct consistent with our Standards.

Information on compliance with the Standards is gathered at a global level and reported to the regional audit and corporate social responsibility (CSR) committees and to the Board Audit Committee. The Board CSR Committee also reviews any Group reputation-related issues arising from non-compliance with the Standards.

You can read more about the Standards of Business Conduct and download them in full on Opens in new window. For Standards of Business Conduct compliance in 2010, see GRI indicator SO4.

Anti-bribery and corruption policy

Corruption causes distortion in markets and harms economic, social and political growth in developing countries. Our Standards of Business Conduct make clear that it is wholly unacceptable for any of our employees to be involved or implicated in corrupt practices. It is our policy that Group companies and their employees must ensure that:

  • They do not directly or indirectly offer, promise or give any gift, payment or other benefit to any person for the purpose of securing any improper business or other advantage;
  • They do not directly or indirectly solicit, accept or receive any gift, payment or other advantage from any person in return for providing any improper business or other advantage; and
  • Their activities do not otherwise contravene any applicable anti-corruption measures.

Our Standards of Business Conduct are currently under review to ensure that the Group’s policies and procedures remain at the forefront of best practice and to ensure alignment with the provisions of the UK Bribery Act 2010.

Each Group company is required to maintain a register of all political donations, gifts, charitable contributions and non-commercial sponsorships made by or on behalf of the company.

Other policies, principles and standards

Other policies, principles and standards that guide the way our businesses are run include our:

Product stewardship and quality

We aim to ensure that no aspect of our products, under normal conditions of use, significantly increases the risks to health associated with tobacco products. To help achieve this we have:

  • A number of processes covering ingredients, additives and materials, including our Additives and Materials Guidance Panel’s review process;
  • A Scientific Research Group which assesses external research and published opinion on tobacco-related science and associated health matters so as to guide the development of our products, Group positions and product best practice guidelines; and
  • Product quality management systems to ensure that we provide our consumers with products that meet their expectations and satisfy regulatory requirements.

You can read more about this on Opens in new window.