Corporate social investment
Helping to make a difference
As an international business, with a presence in 175 markets worldwide, we play an important role in countries around the world. Many of our companies have built close ties with the communities in which they operate and we have a longstanding approach to investing in these communities through our Corporate Social Investment programmes.
As well as providing direct support to our contracted farmers, we support their wider communities in many parts of the world. We do this by partnering with NGOs and other stakeholders.
Across the Group, £19.0 million was reported for community investment programmes in 2021, including £12.6 million in cash spend and a further £6.4 million estimated for in-kind donations. These programmes cover issues ranging from crop diversification, women’s empowerment and rural development to provide access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation.
For example, our mobile doctor units in Pakistan provide much-needed healthcare services for more than 100,000 people in remote tobacco-growing communities. And we have clean water and sanitation programmes in eight countries, including Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Uzbekistan, benefiting an estimated 317,000 people.
Our Community Investment Framework Sets out the Group strategy for community investment and charitable donations, aligned to the eight United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are most relevant for our business
To find out more read our 2021 ESG Report (9.1 mb)
Working in partnership has always been central to our approach, as many of the biggest sustainability challenges being faced today cannot, nor should not, be addressed in isolation. This approach is also particularly relevant to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) , specifically ‘Goal 17: Partnership for the Goals’.
Our global themes
Our CSI strategy focuses on activities within two themes.
The sustainable agriculture and rural communities theme covers contributions to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture, farmers’ livelihoods and wider environmental issues. It includes activities such as efforts to improve biodiversity and access to water, afforestation, programmes to prevent child labour and tackle rural poverty, grants for agricultural research and training to help farmers grow non-tobacco crops.
This theme directly aligns with SDG 15: Life on the Land, as well as with the Productivity area of our Group Strategy, and the Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer Livelihoods area of our Group Sustainability Agenda. This recognises that tobacco leaf is the most essential part of our products, so advancing sustainable agriculture practices, supporting farmer livelihoods and protecting the environment, is a pragmatic, commercial approach to ensuring we have an efficient, responsive, productive and secure agricultural supply chain, ensuring the integrity and quality of our products to satisfy our consumers.
While our agricultural supply chain programmes, which you can read about in the Sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods section, are an important part of delivering against these business priorities, some of the major issues in agriculture today require a wider community or landscape-level approach, working collaboratively with local partners. Therefore, CSI activities in this area are an essential part of delivering our business strategy.
Our goal with CSI continues to focus on empowering individuals and communities where we operate, primarily by providing scholarships, training and skills development, supporting small businesses and promoting entrepreneurship. This directly aligns with SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, and aligns with our broader corporate goals of building economic growth in key markets as well as broadening the local talent pool so we can attract and employ the best people as we build a long-term sustainable business.