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How we manage human rights

Respecting and recognising fundamental freedoms

We must always conduct our operations in ways that respect the human rights of our employees, the people we work with and the communities in which we operate.

We believe that fundamental human rights, as affirmed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , should be respected. We support the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights  which outline the duties and responsibilities of industry to address business-related human rights issues.

Given that parts of our agricultural supply chain and operations are located in challenging environments, human rights is a particularly important issue for our business.

Our policy

Our Human Rights Policy, which forms part of our Standards of Business Conduct, details our commitments to:

  • managing human rights risks
  • no child labour
  • no exploitation of labour
  • freedom of association
  • local communities.

To help suppliers meet our policy commitments, in 2016 we published our Supplier Code of Conduct, which complements our Standards of Business Conduct by setting out the minimum standards we expect our suppliers to adhere to, including those covering human rights.

Monitoring performance and due diligence

We have human rights due diligence processes in place across the Group. These include key audit controls and twice-yearly reviews of all BAT operations against country-level human rights risk indicators for businesses. These are conducted by an independent global risk analytics consultancy.

In our tobacco leaf supply chain, our Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP) sets out the minimum requirements we expect of our tobacco leaf suppliers in a wide range of areas, including criteria covering human rights. STP promotes best practice and provides a framework for continuous improvement through annual self-assessments and on-site reviews of all our first-tier leaf suppliers.

For our non-leaf suppliers, in 2015 we developed an approach to assess and prioritise these suppliers to more effectively manage human rights in the highest risk areas. It is aligned to the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles and was piloted in 2016.