By Eromo seleAbiodun
British American Tobacco (BAT)’s 2015 Sustainability Report has shown the company’s on-going commitment to shared value. This was based on the premise that business can deliver value for its shareholders without this coming at a ‘cost’ to society.
Showcasing the company’s strategy for how it continues to invest in a sustainable future for the business and for society, the report provides updates and progress on three key areas: harm reduction, sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods, and corporate behaviour. Within each of these three key areas, the report sets out clear commitments to research, develop and commercialise less risky products to regular cigarettes, work to enable prosperous livelihoods for all famers who supply our tobacco leaf and operate to the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency.
BAT’s commitment to openness, collaboration and engagement has been underscored with the inclusion of an expert view introduction from three well-respected independent external stakeholders: Scott Ballin, health policy advisor and key opinion leader on tobacco harm reduction; Tony Juniper, a leading British environmentalist, campaigner and sustainability advisor and Research Director at the Institute of Business Ethics, Simon Webley.
Chief Executive of BAT, Nicandro Durante, said: “The concept of shared value is one that I truly believe in – this is why it forms the foundation of our approach to BAT as a sustainable business, and has done for many years. As a business working in a complex industry, operating in over 200 markets around the world and with an agricultural supply chain, we face many different challenges and issues.”
Speaking further, he added that “What this report demonstrates is our continued commitment to upholding the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency wherever we operate, and how we are working to address these challenges in order to grow our business for the shared value of both shareholders and society.”
The entire report, which is open to public view, also includes a question and answer session with Durante; Managing Director of Next Generation Products, Kingsley Wheaton; Group Operations Director, Alan Davy; and Group Legal and External Affairs Director, Jerry Abelman, in which they respond to challenging questions.
BAT has been producing independently assured reports since 2001. The company’s ongoing commitment to and progress in this area is reflected in its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the last 14 years, 13 of which as industry leader.