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Our environmental approach

The concept of Shared Value underpins British American Tobacco South Africa’s approach to sustainability. We believe that sustainability is about investing in the country’s future, for the benefit of both our society and our business.

Environmental management is a key focus for us given that the most important input into our products is sourced from nature. Because of this, we recognise the importance of applying sound environmental practices throughout our business.

Locally, British American Tobacco 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

British American Tobacco 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.

British American Tobacco 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 rain water. 

Heidelberg factory’s water saving initiative was heralded as one of the best water saving initiatives by Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane in 2017. 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 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.

Speaking about the initiative, BATSA CEO, Soraya Benchikh, said, “ We are very proud of our project which was primarily initiated to conserve water, and answering the call from government to partner and find a solution to water shortages. It has benefitted the business, but as a corporate citizen of this country, we’re also very conscious of giving back to the society we operate in.

Sustainability reporting helps us to embed the principles of corporate social responsibility throughout our business.

British American Tobacco currently produces an annual Sustainability Summary report as well as focus reports on specific sustainability topics. Read about the British American Tobacco Group’s strategic approach to sustainability reporting and download all the latest reports by visiting the Sustainability Reporting Centre