British American Tobacco - Delivering a positive social impact

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Delivering a positive social impact

Benefitting our employees and people across our supply chain

As a global business, we deliver a positive social impact, both for our employees and people across our supply chain. We are building A Better Tomorrow™ for all our stakeholders – from enhancing farmer livelihoods and promoting human rights to creating a diverse, inclusive culture.

Human rights 

Our business and supply chain touch several industries with important human rights impacts. We are committed to respect the human rights of our employees, the people we work with and the communities in which we operate.

Our ambitions are for zero child labour and zero forced labour in our tobacco supply chain by 2025. All our product materials suppliers and high-risk indirect service suppliers will have undergone at least one independent labour audit within a three-year cycle by 2025.

Our management approach 

Our operations: Our approach is aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, focused on strong policies, due diligence and remediation. We conduct annual human rights risk assessments of all our businesses worldwide. Group companies identified as high risk undergo detailed human rights reviews, monitored by the Audit Committee of our Board. 

Our supply chain: We include human rights criteria in our supply chain due diligence procedures. We digitally monitor our contracted farmers and are conducting human rights impact assessments in selected countries. We take a long-term and collaborative approach to mitigating the risks and tackling the root causes. This includes participating in the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation and Slave-Free Alliance.

Read more about our approach to farmer livelihoods in our 2020 ESG Report.

Farmer livelihoods

Rural poverty is recognised as a primary root cause for issues such as child and forced labour, as well as poor safety and environmental standards. Enhancing farmer livelihoods helps tackle such issues and strengthen our supply chain. We are committed to working to enable prosperous livelihoods for all farmers in our tobacco supply chain.

Our management approach 

Our operations: Our global leaf agronomy centre develops innovative farming techniques and technologies, deployed to our contracted farmers by our Extension Services of expert field technicians. These include innovative technologies and hybrid tobacco seed varieties that offer greater yields and higher quality, helping boost farmers’ profits. 

Our supply chain: We provide support for our contracted farmers, helping to enhance their livelihoods and food security. And our wider community programmes help to build long-term resilience in farming communities. We have also worked to help our contracted farmers operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic to secure their incomes. 

Read more about our approach to human rights in our 2020 ESG Report.

Health and safety

Health and safety risks can have serious impacts on our employees, contractors and contracted farmers. They can also interrupt Group operations if not effectively addressed. We are committed to providing a safe working environment for all our workers. Our ambition is for zero accidents Group-wide.

Our management approach 

Our operations: We commit to providing a safe working environment for all our employees and contractors. Our risk-based approach to managing workplace safety enables us to focus and prioritise our efforts. We regularly deliver training to minimise and manage health and safety risks. 

Our supply chain: Our operational standard for personal protective equipment (PPE) in tobacco farming requires the mandatory provision of PPE to all our contracted farmers and workers for agrochemical use and harvesting, as well as training and monitoring to ensure effectiveness. We ask our third-party tobacco suppliers to guarantee that our standards have been implemented within their own practices and operations.

Read more about our approach to health and safety in our 2020 ESG Report.

People and culture

Attracting and retaining an increasingly diverse workforce and providing a welcoming, inclusive working environment are key drivers in BAT’s transformation journey to build A Better Tomorrow™. By 2025, we aim to increase the proportion of women in management roles to 45%.

Our management approach 

Our operations: Our ethos guides and empowers our behaviours across the Group. Through our diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy, we drive ownership and accountability, build diverse talent pipelines and create enablers, underpinned by an inclusive culture. We listen to, and learn from, our people through a range of well-established engagement channels. 

Our supply chain: We support D&I campaigns and events that showcase best practice and provide platforms for role models to amplify their profiles. Examples include our campaigns for International Women’s Day, and becoming signatories to the UK Race at Work Charter. We also participate in independent reviews, such as the UK National Equality Standard, to benchmark our approach. 

Read more about our approach to our people and culture in our 2020 ESG Report.

Highlights for 2020

  • 38,000+ human rights training sessions were held, with over 390,000 attendances
  • 20% increase in tobacco crop yields thanks to our new seed varieties covering over 50% of our 2020 volumes from contracted farmers
  • 27% reduction in total accidents to employees and contractors in 2020
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