Collaborating for a common goal
From 2001 to 2015, we collaborated with three conservation NGOs – Earthwatch Institute, Fauna & Flora International and the Tropical Biology Association – in the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership.
The Partnership focused on some of the challenging issues surrounding the conservation and management of biodiversity within agricultural landscapes and the ecosystems on which they depend.
In 2010, ‘The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity’ initiative, led by the United Nations Environment Programme, recognised the Partnership as an effective example of how businesses can address biodiversity. You can read the study at www.teebweb.org .
The Partnership’s mission was to act as a catalyst, bringing together the knowledge, skills and resources of the Partners to leverage positive change in understanding and behaviour among stakeholders.
The Partnership began in 2001. Term 1 (2001–2005) concentrated on building trust and understanding between the Partners and exploring conservation opportunities, focusing on local implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Partners delivered significant conservation outcomes through their own initiatives as well as laying the groundwork for joint projects, such as restoring natural forest from eucalyptus in Sri Lanka and sustainable forest management in Uganda.
Term 2 (2006–2010) saw the Partnership develop a programme to embed biodiversity conservation principles into our business operations and create a range of useful tools to drive change. This direction was set out in our 2006 Group Biodiversity Statement, followed by several high-level commitments made in our Sustainability Reports. The Partnership continued to support important conservation projects around the world.
Term 3 (2011-2015) had a sharper focus on the key issues relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services in tobacco growing and mixed agricultural landscapes and the ecosystems on which they depend.
From 2011 onwards, the Partnership focused on fewer projects that were larger in scope and ambition than previous projects. They concentrated on our leaf operations and priority locations identified by all four Partners, specifically on:
At the end of 2015, our Biodiversity Partnership concluded after 15 years of successful collaboration. But although how we work with our biodiversity partners has concluded on a global level, our commitment to biodiversity has not.
We’re very proud of our work with the Earthwatch Institute, Fauna & Flora International and Tropical Biology Association. As a result of the Partnership, biodiversity management has been embedded into our leaf operations and a number of projects continue to thrive.
We are currently piloting a new, holistic sustainable agriculture programme that focuses on supporting farmers and their livelihoods. This is a much broader programme than we have had in the past, reflecting the vital role that farmers play as our valued business partners.
Biodiversity remains a priority and what we have delivered and achieved through the Partnership forms an integral part of this new programme.