British American Tobacco - Innovating for a sustainable future: Celebrating BAT’s Women in Science

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10 February 2023

Innovating for a sustainable future: Celebrating BAT’s Women in Science

Whether it is harnessing cutting-edge science or pioneering disruptive technologies to create new, alternative nicotine products for consumers, BAT’s R&D experts are on a mission to build A Better Tomorrow™ for our consumers, society, and planet.

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science , a UN-backed initiative designed to help close the gender gap in science, technology, maths, and engineering,  we caught up with one of BAT’s leading scientists, Dr Sara Ben Khaled, Principal Biotechnology Manager,  to hear about her exciting work in

Sara Ben KhaledWith the theme of this year’s International Day centring around innovation and sustainability, we are shining a spotlight on Sara and her team’s ground-breaking work in Biotechnology, exploring how they are contributing to Tobacco Harm Reduction through innovative scientific research and discovering new technologies that can help protect the environment.

Based in BAT’s Global R&D Centre in Southampton, UK, Sara’s team of experts work to understand the basic building blocks of living organisms. They study the genetic, chemical, and physical attributes of cells and identify practical ways to apply this understanding to the processes and methods used to research and develop our products, whilst also exploring the new areas of Wellbeing and Stimulation.

“Our innovative research is fuelling BAT’s mission to accelerate Tobacco Harm Reduction and deliver A Better Tomorrow, sustainably” says Sara, who joined BAT in 2017 following a post-doc and PhD in Molecular Biology at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich.

“We are working to enhance the consumer experience, anticipate people’s future preferences, and deliver an increasingly sustainable future for our business. We are doing this through the development of plant-derived active ingredients, deploying cutting-edge biotechnology tools, and building an ecosystem of strategic partners,” says Sara.

Not only has the team embedded environmentally friendly ways of working into their research, but they are also pioneering new ways to save water.

“Biotechnology is playing an important role in reducing our environmental footprint and we are working to create a fundamental shift towards more sustainable solutions in water,” says Sara.

“This is so exciting, and it motivates us to continue to explore disruptive technologies that can have a really positive impact.”

Sustainability is at the heart of BAT’s strategy and we are committed to reducing the health and environmental impacts of our business. In December 2022, we were included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the 21st consecutive year and we received an ‘A’ rating in CDP’s climate change assessment.