british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2011 - Viewpoint from our Group Operations Director

 
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Sustainability Report 2011
Des Naughton, Group Operations Director

It is vital to ensure our supply chain is fit for purpose for the long term. That’s partly about how it’s structured – for example, being vertically integrated gives us greater flexibility. But it’s also about making sure our supply chain works in sustainable ways, from growing tobacco through to distributing our products around the world.

Importantly, our approach covers both our own operations and our wider supply chain. We join forces with partners in our supply chain and with other stakeholders to find solutions that work for all of us, preparing us for changing regulation, climatic instability and evolving consumer needs.

The business case for adapting to climate change is strong and includes competitive advantage, cost savings, community resilience, liability management and good investor relations. To me, it’s clearly good business, as well as good stewardship.

What's the issue?

Our supply chain sustainability strategy prepares our business for the future. The strategy covers our own planning, manufacturing, logistics and trade marketing operations. But the most significant part of it relates to tobacco growing. Even though this is an area where some of our greatest supply chain impacts are, we do not own tobacco farms or directly employ farmers. However, with relationships with over 140,000 farmers in 19 countries, we do have strong influence.

We believe these relationships and this experience mean we have an important part to play in developing sustainable agriculture solutions that focus on the whole agricultural sector, not just tobacco.

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