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Identifying our sustainability priorities

We decide which issues are most material, or most important to the business, by talking to our many different stakeholders, from shareholders and employees to consumers and suppliers.

Our Group Sustainability Agenda is developed through a detailed materiality process conducted every three years to identify the issues that have the greatest significance to our business and our stakeholders.

Our last detailed materiality assessment took place in 2014 and involved a three-stage process.

The first stage involved inputs from a wide variety of external stakeholders utilising a number of different sources, including interviews with key opinion leaders in different geographies, stakeholder perception research, stakeholder dialogue, peer benchmarking, a global media review and consumer focus groups. The external insights were complemented by an extensive period of internal consultation with senior management.

In the second stage, all the different issues raised through the external stakeholder and internal consultation were refined by mapping them onto the matrix below, with each one positioned according to its level of concern to stakeholders and its current or potential impact on the Group.

In the third stage, the refined issues matrix was presented for comment at a stakeholder dialogue session with sustainability opinion leaders and NGOs, as well as civil society, academic and research bodies, peer companies in challenging sectors and specialist consultancies.

This resulted in the identification of the three strategic focus areas of our Sustainability Agenda, which are covered in our Sustainability Report: Harm Reduction; Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer Livelihoods; and Corporate Behaviour. Other issues continue to be important business priorities and are covered in our Annual Report and on this website.

We conduct a review of these issues each year to ensure they continue to remain relevant. In 2016, this was conducted by a specialist sustainability consultancy and included a media review, peer benchmarking and horizon scanning of emerging issues. No new issues that are not already captured within our Sustainability Agenda were identified.

We plan to undertake a new, detailed materiality assessment of our Sustainability Agenda in 2017.

materiality - Current or potential impact on the Group

Material issues covered in our
sustainability reporting

Other business priorities Covered in our Annual Report and on this website.

No action / not reported

Current or potential impact on the Group

Level of interest to stakeholders

Material issues
covered in our sustainability reporting

Harm reduction
  • Understanding the relative risks of different products
  • Developing and commercialising alternative Next Generation Products (NGPs)
  • Product quality and safety standards
  • Scientific research
  • Regulation of new products
  • Responsible marketing
  • Addressing key concerns about NGPs
Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer Livelihoods
  • Our tobacco leaf supply chain
  • Supplier standards
  • Enhancing farmer livelihoods
  • Child labour and human rights
Corporate behaviour
  • Policies, principles and standards
  • Corporate governance, oversight and monitoring
  • Anti-bribery and corruption
  • Tackling the illegal tobacco trade
  • Marketing responsibly
  • Preventing youth smoking
  • Regulatory engagement
  • Tax transparency
  • Human rights
  • Diversity
  • Health & safety

Other business priorities
covered in our Annual Report and on www.bat.com

  • Principal Group risk factors
  • Executive remuneration
  • Regulatory positions
  • Retailer relationships
  • Non-agricultural supply chain
  • Corporate social investment