Helping to make a difference
Our companies have long supported local communities. We approach corporate social investment (CSI) as an end in itself, rather than as a way to promote ourselves.
Our companies have always been closely identified with the communities where they operate. Over the past five years we have invested more than £60 million in projects which support the communities where our companies work.
Local community needs are as diverse as the communities themselves. That’s why we manage our CSI activities at a local level, ensuring we support the most appropriate projects and maximise their value.
We are encouraging our companies to focus their CSI activities around three key themes:
Sustainable agriculture and environment covers contributions to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture – and wider environmental issues. It includes activities such as efforts to improve biodiversity and access to water, afforestation, programmes to prevent child labour, grants for agricultural research and training to help farmers grow non-tobacco crops. This type of investment naturally complements our own agricultural, environmental and biodiversity conservation practices.
Empowerment focuses on giving people training, education and opportunities to help them develop. Examples include scholarships and IT training or programmes supporting small businesses and promoting entrepreneurship.
Civic life encompasses activities that aim to enrich public and community life, including supporting the arts and educational institutions, conserving indigenous cultures and restoring public spaces.
Our companies also continue to make other important contributions to meet local needs, such as relief efforts after natural disasters.
We provide our companies with guidance on selecting, managing and evaluating major CSI activities and ask them to calculate their contributions using the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) model, used by over 100 businesses. This includes cash contributions, in-kind donations and employee volunteering in company time.
In recent years, we have concentrated on a smaller number of large projects that are focused on our key themes. We believe this means that our community investments have greater impact in the areas that really count.
Our global CSI expenditure in 2015 was £11.1 million (2014: £13.9 million) as defined by the London Benchmarking Group’s criteria for charitable donations.
A major global activity currently supported by British American Tobacco p.l.c. is the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation.