Setting supplier standards
Our Business Enabler Survey Tool (BEST) establishes the standards we expect from our direct materials suppliers, from carton board for cigarette packs to factory machinery. It is designed to identify the suppliers who meet our requirements and to help us develop a mutually beneficial continuous improvement process.
BEST assesses the sustainability performance of our materials suppliers through continuous detailed reviews by an international pool of trained auditors. Suppliers must obtain Approved, Qualified or Certified status in order to be retained by British American Tobacco. As part of the process, we also provide guidelines and roadmaps to support suppliers’ continuous improvement.
The BEST criteria includes employee rights and training, process control, quality philosophy, financial management, occupational health, safety and environmental management and the supplier’s ability to trace its own materials sources, including sourcing wood from certified forestry.
Suppliers are asked to provide evidence that they comply with all relevant regulations and have policies, procedures and practices demonstrating a commitment to corporate responsibility, employment principles and good corporate conduct. The human rights criteria includes working conditions, employee benefits, child labour, forced, bonded and slave labour, discrimination, collective bargaining and freedom to join unions, records of harassment, abuse or bullying and the history of any strikes.
BEST also covers suppliers’ support in tackling illicit trade and counterfeit. Suppliers are asked to verify that they have adopted rigorous ‘Know Your Customer’ due diligence controls such as our own, with the aim of ensuring that sales are made only to reputable customers.
In 2015, we carried out nine reviews of global materials suppliers. Of these, three gained the minimum Approved status, five gained Qualified status and one gained the highest status, Certified.
To help spread high standards further through the supply chain, we are now encouraging our suppliers to use the BEST criteria and improvement guidelines with their own suppliers.
Our leaf buyers are applying aspects of BEST to support continuous improvement at Green Leaf Threshing plants as part of our Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production programme.