british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2011 - Materiality

 
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Sustainability Report 2011

We have always endeavoured to focus our sustainability programme and reporting on those issues of the greatest significance to our business and our stakeholders. In 2007, we began taking a more systematic approach to identifying those issues. Through reviewing the issues that had been raised in our companies’ stakeholder dialogue sessions since 2001, we drew up a list of 76 topics. These we grouped into 14 categories. We then performed a three-stage test to establish the most significant.

The first stage involved mapping the categories onto a matrix, with each one positioned according to its level of concern to stakeholders and its current or potential impact on the Group.

This mapping was refined through internal consultation at the second stage. We consulted regional teams and senior functional managers in relevant areas, such as our Head of Environment, Health & Safety, as well as the Management Board and the Board CSR Committee.

In the third stage of the process, this refined version was presented for comment at a dialogue session with sustainability opinion leaders, NGOs and our senior management. The result was the identification of our five most significant areas of impact: harm reduction, marketplace, environment, supply chain and people and culture. The goals in these five areas comprise our sustainability agenda.

Materiality

Material issues

Reported

This online Report covers the issues of greatest significance to our business and stakeholders.

Covered at www.bat.com

Topics of high interest to some stakeholder groups but partial impact on the business, or vice versa, can be found elsewhere on our corporate website.

Not reported

We do not cover topics that are of low interest to stakeholders. Nor do we cover topics that do not have a significant current or potential impact on our business.

The exercise also determined which issues are included in our Sustainability Reports, which we cover on www.bat.com and which we do not report on. On the first page of each section in this Report, we list the topics covered in the section and what related information can be found elsewhere on our corporate website www.bat.com.

Examples of topics covered outside this report but on bat.com Opens in new window are:

In 2009, we reviewed the results of our materiality test, particularly in view of our shift from local reporting to a single Sustainability Report for the Group. This included reviewing the Group Risk Register and minutes from stakeholder dialogue sessions.

The review identified no new issues that we needed to cover, but it highlighted the increasing significance of some of the issues we were covering on www.bat.com. As a result, these issues, including Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment and HIV/AIDS are now covered in the South Africa section of this Report.

We continue to review our materiality matrix on an informal basis and, during 2011, we identified no newly emerging issues to include. We plan to conduct another formal review in 2012.

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