BAT’s approach to sustainability

Today BAT is transitioning from being a business where sustainability has always been important to one where it is front and centre in everything that it does.

The Group has made significant progress on its sustainability journey, as reflected by its presence in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for many years and the other notable independent recognition it has received.

BAT’s strategy has evolved with the purpose of delivering A Better Tomorrow for all our stakeholders. At its heart, the strategy is about anticipating and satisfying the ever-evolving consumer: providing pleasure, reducing risk and offering increasing choice.

Central to the strategy is the Group’s updated sustainability agenda which reflects our changing external environment. Specifically, we are clear that reducing the health impact of our business is our principal focus area, as well as placing a greater emphasis on the importance of addressing climate change and excellence in environmental management. At the same time, we remain committed to delivering a positive social impact and ensuring robust corporate governance across the Group.

BAT is committed to making a step change in its sustainability ambition. It has announced stretching targets that it is confident will accelerate its purpose to deliver A Better Tomorrow for all stakeholders, including:

  • increasing consumers of non-combustible products to 50 million by 2030
  • achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and accelerating the Group’s existing environmental targets to 2025
  • eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic and making all plastic packaging recyclable by 2025.

You can read more about BAT’s sustainability agenda and progress against it in the Group’s latest Sustainability Strategy Report and ESG Report .

Locally, BAT South Africa is committed to the conservation of the physical environment and the sustainability of the country’s natural resources, so we work actively to reduce our impact. We do this through a series of risk assessments, performance management processes, and optimising operational efficiency.

Our Heidelberg Factory accounts for the bulk of our environmental footprint, and we invest in initiatives to drive down our energy and water consumption.

Energy reduction

BAT South Africa was a signatory to the South African Energy Efficiency Accord between the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) and the private sector in 2005. The accord aimed to reduce the projected demand for energy by 15% by 2015.

BAT South Africa has reduced its energy consumption by installing natural and LED lighting, motion sensors, motor re-sizing, variable speed drives, and solar panels, among others. This has helped the company optimise our energy consumption by more than 40% over the past five years.

Water savings

We have implemented water saving initiatives which allow us to recycle a significant amount of water as well as harvest rainwater.

Heidelberg factory’s water saving initiative was heralded as one of the best water saving initiatives and was showcased at the 2017 UN Water Summit, held in South Africa.

The intricate water recycling process at Heidelberg factory has allowed for BAT to decrease its fresh water usage by 50%. This means we use less water from the municipality’s resources, allowing the municipality to pump more water to its citizens.

This rainwater harvesting facility has afforded us the opportunity to save more than 200 million litres of water since its inception in 2011, while being able to give back to the municipality 40 million litres of water. The facility allows us, amongst others, to harvest rainwater and to also recycle water so that it can be used in running one of the Group’s largest factories.

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