Policies, principles and standards
The guidelines that govern our business
This page is not a complete description of Group policies and standards, but offers an overview of those likely to be of particular interest to stakeholders, with links to the documents.
Our Standards of Business Conduct are a set of global policies of British American Tobacco, expressing the high standards of integrity we are committed to upholding. The Standards apply to all Group companies and employees and require high standards of behaviour and integrity wherever our businesses operate. Each operating company in the Group must adopt the SoBC, or its own standards reflecting them, and each employee is expected to know and comply with their provisions. General Managers and Heads of Function formally confirm on an annual basis that their market or business unit has adequate procedures in place to support SoBC compliance, and continuous information on performance against the Standards is gathered and reported quarterly to the Board Audit Committee.
Framework for Corporate Social Responsibility
Stakeholders in dialogue also helped British American Tobacco p.l.c. to develop our Business Principles into a Framework for CSR. We believe this may provide a blueprint for a responsible tobacco business and a basis for ongoing stakeholder dialogue. Within the Framework, each Core Belief offers three areas of responsibility, which attempt to address the nature of appropriate contributions for a commercial organisation:
Our International Marketing Principles (IMP) set down detailed guidance on all aspects of our marketing of our conventional combustible tobacco products and our portfolio of reduced-risk*† products – from print, billboards and electronic media to promotional events, packaging and sponsorship. Central to the IMP is our long-held commitment to ensuring that no marketing activity is directed at, or particularly appeals to, youth. The IMP are globally applicable and in some countries exceed the requirements of local laws. Adherence by our companies forms part of our regular internal audit process, supported by annual self-certification by management and Audit Committee review. We publicly report any instances of incomplete adherence each year.
Our Employment Principles build on our commitment to good employment practices and workplace related human rights. They set out a common approach to our companies’ development of policies and procedures, while recognising that each company must take account of local labour law and practice and the local political, economic and cultural context. All our companies have committed to the Employment Principles and, through our internal audit process, are required to demonstrate that they are embedding them in the workplace. Our auditing also monitors that our companies are strongly encouraging key suppliers to meet similar standards.
Our Supplier Code of Conduct complements our Group Standards of Business Conduct by defining the minimum standards we expect our suppliers to adhere to in order to supply goods or services to BAT and any BAT Group company. This builds upon our long-standing commitment to operating to high standards of corporate conduct for both our own business operations and our wider supply chain. It also supports our continuing commitment to respect human rights and uphold international standards, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
We accept that our companies’ operations affect the environment and we are committed to following high standards of environmental protection, adhering to the principles of sustainable development and protecting biodiversity.
For BAT, adopting circular economy principles will deliver better products for our consumers, create efficiencies in our operations, offer our employees opportunities to innovate and reduce our overall environmental impact on the planet
Health and Safety Policy Statement
We aim to apply the best international standards of practice relating to the health and safety of employees at work and non-company personnel on company premises and to give a high priority to these activities. The Statement is backed by detailed specific requirements.
Group Quality Policy Statement
BAT’s Group Quality Policy Statement formalises how we strive to deliver defect-free products, processes and capabilities that create sustainable value for our brands while exceeding the expectations of adult consumers. It is the responsibility of the BAT leadership team at all levels to ensure the understanding and implementation of this policy by providing the necessary processes, practices, procedures, resources, and training.
† Our products as sold in the US, including Vuse, Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, are subject to FDA regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without agency clearance.