A sustainable approach

A sustainability agenda for A Better Tomorrow

We have a long and proud history of sustainability achievements, but today we are transitioning from being a business where sustainability has always been important to one where it is front and centre in all that we do.

Over the past 20 years, we’ve made significant progress on our sustainability journey, as reflected by our presence in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for 19 consecutive years and the other notable independent recognition we have received over the years.

Yet our approach needs to constantly develop, much as the world around us is evolving – from increasing expectations of the role of business in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and addressing climate change; to evolving consumer preferences and the emergence of new category products, such as vapour products that offer potentially reduced risks for the estimated 19% of the world’s population who continue to smoke cigarettes.

Future ambition

Just as we are committed to making a step change in our New Categories performance, we are also committed to making a step change in our sustainability ambition. Recently, we have announced a number of stretching targets that we are confident will accelerate our purpose to deliver A Better Tomorrow for all our stakeholders, including:

  • increasing our consumers of non-combustible products to 50 million by 2030
  • achieving carbon neutrality by 20301 and accelerating our existing environmental targets to 2025

Our sustainability agenda

We have evolved our Group strategy with the purpose of delivering A Better Tomorrow for all our stakeholders. At its heart, our evolved strategy is about anticipating and satisfying the ever-evolving consumer: providing pleasure, reducing risk and offering increasing choice.

Central to this evolved strategy is our updated sustainability agenda which has been refreshed to reflect the changing external environment. Specifically, we are clear that reducing the health impact of our business is our principal focus area, as well as placing a greater emphasis on the importance of addressing climate change and excellence in environmental management. At the same time, we remain committed to delivering a positive social impact and ensuring robust corporate governance across the Group.

The diagram below sets out our sustainability agenda in full and you will be able to read more about the agenda and our progress against it in our 2019 Sustainability Strategy Report and 2019 ESG Report, which were published on 26 March.


Reducing the HEALTH impact of our business

  • Consumer choice
  • World-class science
  • Standards and regulation

Excellence in ENVIRONMENTAL management

  • Climate change
  • Water and waste
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Circular economy

Delivering a positive SOCIAL impact

  • Human rights
  • Farmer livelihoods
  • Health and safety
  • People and culture

Robust corporate GOVERNANCE

  • Business ethics
  • Responsible marketing
  • Regulation and policy engagement

Creating shared value for

  • Consumers
  • Society
  • Employees
  • Shareholders

A key strength of our approach to sustainability is a robust process to identify and understand the most material environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics that drive our long-term business sustainability and value creation. Each year we engage with a wide range of stakeholders to understand what matters to them most and complement this with ongoing risk monitoring, research and benchmarking.

This comprehensive approach to evolving our Sustainability Agenda ensures we keep pace with emerging topics and stakeholder expectations.

Along with our principal focus on reducing the health impact of our business, we retain a strong focus on other ESG priorities. Together, this approach helps to create shared value for our consumers, society, our employees and our shareholders. Ultimately, it’s about building towards ‘A Better Tomorrow’ not just for BAT, but for all our stakeholders.


As part of our sustainability efforts, we are running a pilot programme in three countries to make it as easy as possible for our adult vapour consumers to do their bit to help the planet in relation to waste. Our ambition is that together we can reduce landfill.

To this end, we have introduced our VYPE DROP THE POD pilot programme in UK, France and Mexico retail outlets, which makes it easier for adult consumers in these countries to dispose of their empty Vype pods. In exchange for every 10 empty Vype pods consumers bring into our participating Vype Inspiration Stores in UK and Mexico, and third party retail stores in France participating in the pilot programme, they will receive one replacement flavour pack of Vype pods.

The pilot programme has shown early success among consumers to date – in Mexico alone there has been a 20% return rate; 6,000 empty pods returned across 50 stores since the VYPE DROP THE POD pilot programme started; and a total of 40,000 empty pods for the full pilot period (from October 2019 to 24th March 2020).

The video below shows how this new VYPE DROP THE POD sustainability pilot programme works.

*Please note this content was produced prior to COVID-19 lockdown measures being implemented, and the participating pilot stores are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

  1. Based on Scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions.