british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Employee volunteering in South Korea

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Sustainability Report 2010
South Korea

British American Tobacco Korea’s employee volunteering programme, called Big Love, was introduced in 2000. The programme consists of 24 voluntary clubs, members of which gather at weekends and holidays for charitable projects. The company provides guidance on activities and financial support such as for travel and food expenses.

While this is a company initiative, the programme is primarily driven by employees. Each club chooses its own charity work to meet the local community’s needs and most carry out activities every month. These are wide-ranging and include helping the elderly and disabled, planting trees and cleaning the streets.

When the programme was first introduced, it was a fund-raising initiative. Through the enthusiasm of employees who wanted to play more of an active part in helping their local communities, it evolved into its current form. The number of employees involved in the clubs has grown significantly over time. In 2010, 24 clubs participated in 233 community activities through the year.

As well as benefiting the local communities, Big Love has had a significant impact upon company culture. Employees have developed stronger links with each other, helping to build more effective teams.

The clubs’ initiatives have also enhanced relationships with the company’s business partners. In 2010, employees from a retail chain that is a key customer of British American Tobacco Korea became involved in a charity activity with the company’s employees.

To give recognition for the outstanding contribution of employees, the company holds annual Big Love Awards, with recipients’ clubs receiving extra funds from the company to put towards future activities.

In December 2009, in recognition of its achievements, the programme received an award from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for its contribution to the community.

In 2011, Big Love’s activities will continue to benefit local communities, while also enhancing employee wellbeing and team building. The company headquarters in Seoul will encourage members to build cross-functional networks with other clubs, sharing best practice and exchanging ideas. It will also encourage more active participation from senior managers. In the long term, British American Tobacco Korea hopes that the employee-led approach of Big Love, and the widespread participation that it has engendered, can be adopted for other company initiatives.