A transparent and controlled policy
We have a clear policy and compliance procedures on political donations, set out in our Group-wide Standards of Business Conduct. Contributions from our companies to political parties and organisations, their officers, elected politicians and candidates for elective office are actively discouraged, and may only be made subject to specific controls.
Contributions are not permitted to be made in order to achieve any improper business or other advantage or to influence any decision by a public official to the advantage of the Group or any Group company. In addition, they must not be intended personally to benefit the recipient or his or her family, friends, associates or acquaintances and must be permissible under all applicable laws.
Any donation must be authorised by the board of the company making it, must be fully documented in the company’s books and, if required by local law, must be put on the public record.
Details must be notified in writing each year to the Company Secretary of British American Tobacco p.l.c. and these are monitored by the Board Audit Committee. Donations to political organisations and political expenditure within the European Union may only be made out of funds previously authorised by shareholders at a General Meeting.
Although neither the Company nor its subsidiaries have any current intention of making political donations to political parties in the EU or incurring EU political expenditure, it remains possible that circumstances may arise in which it would be in the interests of the Company or its subsidiaries to do so, or where expenditure may be categorised as such. We therefore seek an annual authority to make such donations (up to £100,000 in aggregate) at our Annual General Meeting.
Group companies must return a certificate to the Company Secretary each year stating either that no payment has been made or giving details where a payment has taken place. These results are reported annually to the Audit Committee of British American Tobacco p.l.c., with an interim report to the Committee at the half year in respect of those countries where payments were reported or made in the preceding year.
We collate information centrally on contributions to political parties and to individual politicians that are made for the benefit of their party.
British American Tobacco Japan Limited reported contributions totalling Japanese yen 1,910,000, (approx. £10,324) for the full year 2015 (2014: Japanese yen 560,000, approx. £3,214). This expenditure is reported as a political contribution although it related specifically to the purchase of tickets to receptions hosted by Members of Parliament (MPs). Representatives from British American Tobacco Japan Limited engaged with these MPs at the receptions on local tobacco tax issues.
British American Tobacco Colombia S.A.S. reported contributions totalling Colombian peso $65,000,000 (£15,480) for the period covering 1 July to 31 December 2015. This expenditure relates specifically to donations made to five different political parties in Colombia in order to contribute to public and democratic debates on issues affecting the company.
No other political donations were reported.