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
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.”