british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2011 - Viewpoint from an employee in Germany

 
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Sustainability Report 2011
The best way we can address youth smoking is to support retailers to adhere to the minimum age law. Ralf Artes, Sales Representative, British American Tobacco Germany

In my role as a trade marketing representative, I visit over 50 retailers a week – in my fuel-efficient car, I’d like to point out! That level of engagement with the retailers puts me in the ideal position to talk to them about key issues for our business, like youth smoking prevention and marketing standards.

The best way we can address youth smoking is to support retailers to adhere to the minimum age law. So we talk to them about the issue, provide advice on age verification, supply them with point-of-sale materials like ‘no sales to under 18s’ stickers and so on. I think the retailers really appreciate this personal approach and from my experience it’s a far more effective way of addressing the problem.

The fact that our International Marketing Standards (IMS) are more stringent than local laws in some areas presents us with a challenge. For example, we include health warnings on all our point-of-sale materials, but in the shop, sometimes other materials obscure the health warnings. As health warnings on these materials are not required by local law, some retailers struggle to understand why this is a problem. Of course, we talk to them about our IMS and explain why it’s important. Then they generally get it.

Last year, the company developed a new training programme to help us better understand the IMS and translate it into real-life scenarios. What was particularly helpful was the face-to-face training. Hearing about other reps’ experiences and picking up tips on how to engage with retailers on difficult issues really helps me to do my job better. And that means I’m doing my bit to contribute to us upholding high standards in the marketplace.

Ralf Artes, Sales Representative, British American Tobacco Germany
STAKEHOLDER VIEWPOINT

I've been able to build a one-to-one relationship with the company rep who visits my store. We discuss not only sales and products, but also issues like youth smoking prevention and health warnings. For me, this demonstrates how seriously British American Tobacco Germany takes these issues and shows that it’s not just lip service. They really do practice what they preach!

K. Frank, Retailer, TABA-PRESS, Nürnberg, Germany

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