Delivering a positive social impact

Benefitting our employees and people across our supply chain

We are committed to delivering a positive social impact for our employees and people across our supply chain.

Human rights 

We’re committed to protecting the human rights of our employees and people across our supply chain, such as:

  • Our Human Rights Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct are aligned to the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs);  
  • Human rights criteria are included in due diligence procedures for our tobacco leaf suppliers via the industry-wide Sustainable Tobacco Programme; 
  • Annual human rights risk assessments for all our other suppliers, with independent audits for those with the highest risks;  
  • Strengthening our farm monitoring with our new global digital system that enables issues to be tracked in real time for prompt remediation; 
  • Participating in multi-stakeholder groups, such as the ECLT Foundation and SlaveFree Alliance; and 
  • Conducting human rights impact assessments, aligned to the UNGPs, in tobacco growing countries. 

Farmer livelihoods

We’re helping to enable prosperous livelihoods for our contracted farmers, such as by:  

  • Developing new tobacco seed varieties that offer greater yields, as well as higher quality, and so help boost farmers’ profits;
  • Helping our contracted farmers to increase farm efficiency and productivity with new technologies, such as for tobacco curing; 
  • Supporting our contracted farmers to grow other crops for food or as additional sources of income; and 
  • Measuring progress via our global Thrive programme, which assesses over 250,000 farmers in our supply chain against core indicators aligned to the internationally recognised ‘Five Capitals’ livelihood framework. 

Health and safety

We’re working to ensure a safe working environment for our employees and contractors, as well as for tobacco farmers in our supply chain, such as through: 

  • Group-wide health and safety programmes and employee training;  
  • Tailored initiatives for higher-risk areas of our business, such as manufacturing and Trade Marketing & Distribution;  
  • Providing our contracted farmers with best practice health and safety training and access to personal protective equipment (PPE); and 
  • Developing a new operational standard for PPE in tobacco growing to drive a consistent approach across our supply chain. 

People and culture

We’re creating a fulfilling, rewarding and responsible workplace culture by: 

  • Implementing Group-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives; 
  • Listening and responding to our employees’ views via our Group-wide workforce engagement channels; and 
  • Investing in world-class training and development programmes.

Next steps

  • Publish a new Human Rights Focus Report in 2020, including details of human rights impact assessments in tobacco growing areas in India and Indonesia; 
  • Conduct two further human rights impact assessments in Mexico and Mozambique in 2020;
  • Continue working with the industry to develop and evolve the Sustainable Tobacco Programme with a stronger focus on risks and impacts;  
  • Continue to enhance farmer livelihoods, such as by helping to increase yields and improve farm productivity;  
  • Zero accidents for all our employees and contractors Group-wide; and 
  • Significantly increase the representation of women and focus nationalities in senior management.

Highlights for 2019

  • 5,000+ human rights training sessions for farmers in our tobacco leaf supply chain in 2019
  • 12–20% increase in tobacco crop yields thanks to our new seed varieties covering 57% of our 2019 volumes from contracted farmers
  • 18% reduction in total accidents to employees and contractors in 2019
  • 82% employee engagement score in our 2019 ‘Your Voice’ survey, 7% higher than the FMCG comparator