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Biodiversity risk and opportunity assessment

Taking action to address our impact

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.

This 15-year Partnership concluded at the end of 2015, but its legacy lives on in the projects that continue to thrive and in how it has helped to embed biodiversity management into our business.

The biodiversity risk and opportunity assessment tool was developed by the Biodiversity Partnership to help our companies identify, assess and address risks arising from their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystems in and around their leaf-growing operations.

By the end of 2010, all our tobacco leaf growing operations had completed assessments and initiatives are now in place to address the issues identified.

We make sure that the assessments and the actions taken encourage cooperation with local stakeholders and don’t just focus on tobacco. Collaboration with the people living and working in the agricultural landscapes or organisations like local NGOs is often required for these initiatives.

Examples of initiatives include replanting trees to address water supply issues in a watershed catchment of the Indonesian island of Lombok; farmers in Uzbekistan being helped to improve soil management through green manuring and crop rotation; and a Ugandan project to restore and manage forest and freshwater health.

Updating the tool

In 2011, we revised the biodiversity risk and opportunity assessment tool with our Biodiversity Partnership, with input from external experts. The revised version of the tool should give us a more consistent approach to the assessments across the globe.

It was field-tested in Vietnam in early 2012 and was rolled out to all our tobacco growing operations.

Sharing the tool

The assessment tool is freely available on the independent BROA website  to encourage other tobacco and agricultural businesses to adopt a similar approach.