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Identifying our sustainability priorities

We decide which issues are most material, or most important to the business, by talking to our many different stakeholders, from shareholders and employees to consumers and suppliers.

Developing our sustainability agenda

In 2014, through a detailed materiality process, we identified the three key areas that have the greatest significance to our business and our stakeholders. These form our new sustainability agenda covering:

  • Harm reduction: We are committed to researching, developing and commercialising less risky alternatives to regular cigarettes.
  • Sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods: We are committed to working to enable prosperous livelihoods for all farmers who supply our tobacco leaf.
  • Corporate behaviour: We are committed to operating to the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency.

The materiality process included inputs from a wide variety of external stakeholders, utilising a number of different sources including interviews with key opinion leaders in different geographies, stakeholder perception research, stakeholder dialogue, peer benchmarking, a global media review and consumer focus groups. The external insights sought were complemented by an extensive period of internal consultation with senior management.

In 2015, we commissioned a specialist sustainability consultancy to conduct a materiality review of our sustainability agenda to ensure it remains relevant. This included peer benchmarking and horizon scanning of emerging issues. This review identified no new issues that are not currently captured within our sustainability agenda.

The issues of greatest significance to our business and our stakeholders form the three key areas of our agenda and are covered in our sustainability reporting, including the annual Sustainability Summary Report.

Other issues continue to be important business priorities and are covered in our Annual Report and on this website.

materiality - Current or potential impact on the Group

Material issues covered in our
sustainability reporting

Other business priorities Covered in our Annual Report
and at www.bat.com

No action / not reported

Current or potential impact on the Group

Level of interest to stakeholders

Material issues

Harm reduction
  • Public health policy
  • New product regulation
  • Vapour Products (e-cigarettes)
  • Licensed Medicinal Products
  • Tobacco Heating Products
  • Low-toxicant smokeless tobacco
  • Scientific research
Sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods
  • Supporting farmers
  • Social and environmental impacts of tobacco growing
  • Human rights, labour standards and child labour
  • Agricultural policy
Corporate behaviour
  • Marketing practices
  • Youth smoking prevention
  • Human rights
  • Engaging openly on regulation
  • The illegal tobacco trade
  • Environmental impacts of our business operations
  • Health and safety

Other business priorities

  • Non-leaf supply chain
  • Retailer relationships
  • Diversity
  • Employee engagement, training and development
  • Corporate social investment
  • CSR governance
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Tax transparency