british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Corporate social investment in Russia

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Sustainability Report 2010

Since 1995, British American Tobacco Russia has been a leader among the country’s businesses in the area of corporate social investment activities. In 2004, it became the first commercial company in Russia to introduce a programme to enable employees to make charitable donations directly from their salary and, from 2005, these donations were matched by the company.

The programme provides a quick and easy way for employees to make either one-off donations or monthly contributions to any of their chosen charities. These charities are selected every two years through an employee survey. Managed by the British Charities Aid Foundation in Russia, the programme provides employees with reports about their donations and how they have been used by the charities.

The number of company employees participating in the programme has grown steadily since it began and now totals over 500. A total of RUB 9.8 million (£208,000) has been donated since 2004, with annual donations growing by 42 per cent in 2010. In addition to cash donations, employees also collect items such as clothes, books and toys.

Enthusiasm for this programme also prompted the introduction of an employee volunteering scheme in 2005. The volunteering activities initially began in Moscow and Saratov, but by 2010 had expanded to 10 cities across Russia.

In 2010, British American Tobacco Russia implemented a new corporate volunteering policy which defines the financial support the company will provide for employee volunteering, such as contributing to materials and equipment costs. The charities and projects for volunteering are selected by the employees themselves and, in 2010, 11 projects were completed (nine of which received financial support from the company) with a total of 825 employee hours volunteered. Employees also volunteer in their own time and often include family members in the activities.

Since 2007, British American Tobacco Russia’s business partners have also got involved. For example, the company has taken part in a joint environmental initiative with a retail partner for the last three years. With another retail partner, it has also funded food donations for local disadvantaged communities in Moscow over the last two years.

Alongside the benefits for the local communities, these programmes have also benefited the company culture and helped raise awareness of British American Tobacco Russia’s approach to corporate responsibility. The results of the company’s 2010 employee opinion ‘Your Voice’ survey showed that the percentage score for favourable responses in the corporate responsibility category had increased by 7 per cent since 2008 to 82 per cent. The score in this category is also 8 per cent above the Russian national benchmark of other companies in Russia that conduct similar employee surveys.

In 2011, British American Tobacco Russia plans to further develop its existing corporate social investment programmes, further promote volunteering among employees and business partners and seek new approaches, projects and partners.