Cigarette giant unveils CSR strategy

30 March 2011

30 March 2011 | Angeline Albert

British American Tobacco (BAT) has set out its plans for corporate social responsibility covering: tobacco harm reduction, supply chain, marketplace, people and culture, as well as environmental issues.

Under its supply chain plans, the company aims to end the use of wood not grown sustainably over the next four years. Wood is currently used as a fuel for tobacco curing or used in curing barns.

Last year, the group saw a huge rise in the use of non-sustainably sourced wood from its contracted farmers – from 4.3 per cent to 12.1 per cent of total wood sourced. BAT explained this was largely the result of a review into the reporting of wood fuel sources. “Having established more complete data, we feel confident in now aiming for zero use of natural forest for curing fuels by 2015,” it said.

In 2010, the company manufactured 708 billion cigarettes and purchased 460,000 tonnes of tobacco leaf grown by more than 200,000 farmers.

Around 80 per cent of the tobacco leaf purchased by BAT comes from suppliers in emerging economies. The group also purchases major quantities of other raw materials, such as packaging, cigarette paper, filter materials, glues and inks. 

In a statement, BAT said: “The challenge in encouraging sustainable practices among tobacco leaf farmers is that we are dealing with thousands of small-scale farmers, many of whom are in emerging economies. However, through tailored approaches and agronomy support, we can help them to build stronger, more sustainable operations, securing our future leaf supply.”

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