british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Reporting methodology

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Sustainability Report 2010

Sustainability reporting for us is more than a communications exercise and we apply a rigorous approach to our reporting processes. This not only ensures that our reporting activities help drive change within the business but given the nature of our industry, we believe following such a robust process is crucial to demonstrating openness and building trust.

Independent assurance and standards

Our Company Sustainability Reports are independently assured by Ernst & Young LLP in accordance with ISAE 3000 [ 1 ] and evaluated against the AA1000AS (2008) [ 2 ] assurance principles of Inclusivity, Materiality and Responsiveness.

Ernst & Young LLP provides ‘limited’ assurance of our Report content and the completeness and accuracy of its claims and performance data. In addition, they provide a ‘reasonable’ level of assurance on all of our Company stakeholder dialogue sessions.

We use the AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard (AA1000SES) for all our dialogue sessions, which outlines the five stages of the engagement process and is widely recognised as an international stakeholder engagement benchmark.

In addition, our reporting integrates the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) principles and associated key performance indicators.

Reporting governance

The Company’s Sustainability Report undergoes a formal review and approval process prior to publication. It is reviewed in detail by a sustainability report drafting committee chaired by Michael Prideaux, Group Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director. The final draft of the Report is then approved by the Board CSR Committee, which is a committee of the Company’s Board with delegated responsibility.

After publication, the Board CSR Committee continues to review progress against targets throughout the year and commitments made in the Report.

Stakeholder dialogue

As well as using AA1000SES, our stakeholder dialogue sessions are independently facilitated and assured. This approach applies not only to our Company dialogues, but also those carried out by our local companies.

The independent facilitator not only moderates the session itself, but also works with us to design the format of the day and to identify appropriate stakeholders to attend. After the dialogue, they produce a summary report which is distributed to the participants and a more detailed report for internal use. This detailed report is used in the appropriate forum to help determine what actions need to be taken as a result of the dialogue session.

To assure the Company dialogues to a ‘reasonable level’, Ernst & Young LLP attends each session, reviews the independent facilitator’s report and reviews any references to the dialogue in our Sustainability Report for accuracy and balance.

  1. ISAE 3000 – International Federation of the Accountants’ International Standard for Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information.
  2. AA1000AS (2008) – The second edition of the AA1000 assurance standard from the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability.