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Environmental and supply chain management

Driving improvement

We’re a global company, which means we have a global footprint. Reducing the environmental impacts of what we do is a key priority, and something that involves every single person who works for us.

We have had a comprehensive Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) management system for many years. We monitor and reduce our direct environmental impacts by making our operations more efficient. We also seek to address our indirect impacts by choosing suppliers with strong environmental credentials and encouraging our existing  suppliers to improve their environmental performance.

The environment

We expect the effects of climate change to be felt more strongly in the coming years. Resulting changes to the environment could make it harder for us to source tobacco and make and distribute our products, as well as affecting the communities and landscapes in which we operate. The success of our business now and in the future also depends on biodiversity as it provides resources like clean water, healthy soils and timber.

We recognise that good environmental management is not only the right thing to do, but also makes sound business sense given how much we depend on natural resources for our products. Securing access to these resources, as well as being prepared for future changes, is key to ensuring the sustainability of our business.

Our approach

We work to address both our immediate environmental impacts and the likely environmental pressures on the business in the future. This involves risk assessments, performance management and making our operations more efficient.

Environmental problems cannot be solved by one company acting alone. They also need flexibility – what works in one part of the world might not in another. So we also aim to work more with local communities and in collaboration with other international organisations.

Our supply chain

We rely on a complex but critical supply chain and we need it to be fit for the future. That’s why we’re using our influence to improve sustainability from crop, all the way to the consumer. The nature of our industry means that our supply chain has two distinct supplier categories, leaf and non-leaf, for which we have comprehensive supplier programmes.

Leaf suppliers

We buy more than 400,000 tonnes of tobacco each year from our first-tier suppliers. They comprise our in-house leaf operations, which directly contract and support more than 90,000 farmers worldwide, and third-party suppliers, which contract their own farmers.

We have always taken the environmental and social issues associated with growing and processing tobacco very seriously. An example of this commitment is our Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production (SRTP) programme, which ran for more than 15 years. SRTP set out the minimum performance levels we expect of our tobacco leaf suppliers in a range of areas, including sustainable agriculture and environmental management.

In 2016, we replaced SRTP with the Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP) an industry-wide initiative developed in collaboration with five other manufacturers to bring together best practice from across the industry. Its aim is to provide a more consistent and robust way of assessing suppliers’ performance, reducing complexity and driving continuous improvement across the global tobacco leaf supply chain.

We use the results of the self-assessments and on-site reviews to work collaboratively with suppliers to drive improvements

Non-leaf suppliers

Supplier management in the non-leaf category includes suppliers of direct materials such as paper, board and machinery, and indirect services such as IT consultancy.

Our major supply chain management programme for non-leaf direct materials suppliers is our Business Enabler Survey Tool (BEST) which assesses their sustainability performance and provides a framework for continual improvement.