They grow, we grow: helping farmers to thrive
Tobacco leaf is the most essential part of our products, so the farmers who grow it are absolutely crucial to the success of our business.
How does BAT support farmer livelihoods and sustainable agriculture?
We do not own tobacco farms or directly employ farmers – but our approach to agriculture and working with farmers means that we have strong influence.
Our global Leaf function has centralised management over our tobacco leaf supply chain. The majority (approximately 68%) of our tobacco leaf is sourced by our own BAT leaf operations in 18 countries, which contract directly with over 90,000 farmers. The remaining leaf we buy is sourced through third-party suppliers from 26 countries that in turn contract with over 250,000 farmers.
All our suppliers are managed centrally by our Group's leaf function, which enables global oversight of our supply chain and the sustainability risks and issues inherent in agriculture. We have a defined approach to identifying our most strategic and critical leaf sources, which takes account of a number of parameters, including the tobacco type, geography and commercial factors, such as price and volume. Over 80% of our total leaf purchases are from these strategic sources.
Regarding the farms in our supply chain and the farmers we work with:
Agricultural supply chains are particularly vulnerable to a range of challenges, including climate change and water scarcity, increasing demand for land and natural resources, rural poverty, social inequality, child labour and ageing farmer populations. Tobacco is no exception.
At BAT, we have a long and proud history of working directly with farmers around the world and advancing agricultural practices. This benefits our farmers by giving them the resources and support they need to be successful, as well as helping to secure our long-term supply of tobacco leaf and ensuring the integrity and quality of our products to satisfy our consumers.
We see an opportunity for us to build on this longstanding approach, to work with others to develop multi-stakeholder solutions to increasing challenges and expectations and to further enhance the livelihoods of farmers and their communities.
We focus on two key programmes to ensure the long-term sustainability of our tobacco leaf supply chain and to enhance farmer livelihoods: