British American Tobacco began international social reporting in 2001-02 to help us embed the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR) throughout the Group.
At the end of 2007, several end-markets, including British American Tobacco South Africa, transitioned from social reporting to sustainability reporting. The 2008 Sustainability Report produced by British American Tobacco South Africa was voted as the best Sustainability Report within non-extractive industries by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA). In April 2010 British American Tobacco published the third Sustainability Report for the Group.
British American Tobacco's approach to reporting
The production of social reports by many of the Group's local companies has been a key element in its approach to sustainability over the past 10 years. To date, the Group's businesses in more than 40 markets have produced social reports and stakeholder dialogue is a key business practice for the Group companies around the world. However, as reporting has evolved and there has been greater alignment throughout the Group, this approach is no longer the most appropriate. We have therefore decided to produce one Sustainability Report for the Group.
Not producing local reports will free up time and resources to concentrate on implementing sustainability initiatives. Performance will continue to be monitored and reported throughout the Group's audit and CSR committees while dialogue, transparency and accountability will remain central to its approach. Local companies will continue to help shape their local sustainability plans and initiatives.
About the reporting process
The Group's reporting process allows it to meet greater demands for corporate transparency and to continue improving its management decision-making through understanding changing expectations in society.
British American Tobacco's rigorous approach to the reporting process involves:
- Governance: Group CSR performance is monitored through a Board CSR Committee and local and regional audit and CSR governance committees;
- Sustainability reporting: the Group's companies around the world engage in dialogue and British American Tobacco p.l.c. produces an annual Sustainability Report for the Group;
- Standards: The Group follows the AA1000 Standard and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines;
Assurance: Rigorous external verification is applied to its Report;
- Dialogue: Reporting is based on independently-facilitated stakeholder dialogue.
The Group's Sustainability Report is independently verified and based on independently facilitated stakeholder dialogue. The report follows the AA1000 Standard and GRI Guidelines.
In the Group's Reporting download centre, you can access previous Social and Sustainability Reports. There is also a list of all the companies’ previous reports, many of which can be viewed online or downloaded as PDF files.
Group CSR governance
All the Group's companies are required to demonstrate clearly defined management responsibility for CSR. Group CSR performance is monitored through a Board CSR Committee chaired by Non-Executive Director, Karen de Segundo, and at regional, area and local levels through combined audit and CSR committees. The structure aims to support the embedding of CSR principles Group-wide by monitoring the Group’s performance against the Core Beliefs in our Statement of Business Principles.
For more information, see Group CSR governance.
Independent standards and assurance
The AA1000 Standard was established by the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability, known as AccountAbility, a non-profit institute working to promote accountability innovations that advance responsible business practices and the broader accountability of civil society and public organisations. Its members include businesses, NGOs and research bodies internationally. The AA1000 Standard, followed by all Group companies in social reporting, encourages transparency and impartiality in reporting through nine key principles.
Ernst & Young are the Group's preferred assurance provider for sustainability reporting. Ernst & Young’s independent assurance activities on our Sustainability Report 2009 are described in their assurance statement in the Report. Their sustainability assurance team for British American Tobacco has been drawn from their global climate change and sustainability services network, which undertakes similar engagements with a number of significant UK and international businesses.
GRI Guidelines: The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) was convened in 1997 by the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, to produce globally applicable guidelines for organisations reporting on the economic, environmental and social dimensions of their activities. The GRI Guidelines are followed by about 1,000 reporters in over 60 countries. To promote comparability between organisations, they offer a reporting framework, recommended topics and GRI indicators of economic, environmental and social performance which we and many other organisations follow.
All the Group's participating companies develop dialogue structures to enable them to respond to their cultural, economic and political environments and local stakeholders’ interests. Independent local facilitators run these dialogues and produce independently verified dialogue reports. Examples of local facilitators include ethics and facilitation consultancies, well-known public figures in the media, politics or academia, former diplomats, human resources specialists and negotiation experts.
In 2009, our companies continued to engage with their stakeholders to help shape the sustainability agenda in their markets, building on British American Tobacco's programme of formal stakeholder dialogue which began in 2001. In 2009, independently facilitated and assured dialogue was carried out in line with Group guidance by the Group's companies.
You may access the download centre to access a copy of the Group's 2009 Sustainability Report, as well as to visit it's Sustainability Reporting mini-site.