Sustainability is not a choice or something that is ‘nice to have’ – it is crucial to securing the future of our company and for creating shared value for our consumers, our shareholders and our stakeholders.
It is not a recent priority either – as a major international business in a controversial sector, we have long been aware of our responsibilities and our ability to address issues on a global scale.
In our long history of focusing n sustainability and corporate responsibility, we have made significant progress – our strong market performance is delivering value for our shareholders, while we have also embedded more effective sustainability practices into our day-to-day business. These have included strengthening our approach to human rights, advancing sustainable agricultural practices among the tobacco farmers we work with, and achieving significant reductions in CO²e emissions.
We still have a long way to go, and as much as our business has changed so has the world around us – from evolving consumer demands and opportunities in potentially reduced-risk products, to increasing expectations of the role of business in society.
Our sustainability agenda was developed through a detailed materiality process, which we refreshed in 2017. It has identified three key areas that have the greatest significance to our business and our stakeholders: Harm Reduction; Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer Livelihoods; and Corporate Behaviour. These are underpinned by our ongoing focus to reduce the environmental impact of our operations, and to build a diverse and engaging culture for our people.
Read more about our sustainability agenda, goals and commitments, key activities and performance in our latest Sustainability Report.
We are proud that our focus on sustainability has been recognised by our inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for 16 consecutive years.
In the 2017 indices review, we were proud to be overall industry leader and the only tobacco company to feature in the DJSI’s Europe Index and its prestigious World index. Our overall score of 84% was 21 percentage points higher than the industry average of 63%.
We achieved industry leadership in 13 of the 21 sections – up from ten in 2016 – including 100% ratings in Materiality; Policy Influence; Environmental Reporting; Raw Material Sourcing; and Social Reporting.
We believe these scores reflect the quality of management across our business and our comprehensive global focus on sustainability issues.
Our focus on sustainability and reporting has gained other high-profile external recognition. For example, we were awarded a Gold Class distinction for sustainability performance in the sustainability investment specialist RobecoSAM's 2018 Sustainability Yearbook.
In addition, for the second consecutive year, the Thomson Reuters Diversity & Inclusion Index 2017 ranked BAT as one of the most diverse and inclusive companies to work for and we were also one of only 13 companies to earn the prestigious Global Top Employer accreditation in February 2018.
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