Participating in a balanced debate
We believe that as a responsible company we can contribute – through information, ideas and practical steps – to helping regulators address the key issues surrounding our products and our industry.
Some of the tobacco control organisations like to present us as part of an all-powerful ‘Big Tobacco’ lobby that uses extensive resources and secretive measures to influence government. But all we’re trying to do is make our voice heard on issues that affect our business.
We believe that all views – whether from businesses, NGOs or any other parties – should be communicated transparently to everyone. So the views and positions we advocate are reflected on this website. Some stakeholders have concerns that the views we publish externally and those we advocate to regulators are not the same. This is not the case.
For global regulatory issues, the views we advocate are the same as those on this website and regulatory engagement by our companies is monitored by our regional audit and CSR committees. We also have a clear policy and compliance procedures on political donations set out in our Standards of Business Conduct.
In addition, we support best practice principles on the development of regulation, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Better Regulation Plan, the EU Communication on Smart Regulation, the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UK Better Regulation Executive.
We recognise that, as a responsible company, all the engagement activities we undertake must be guided by internal standards, which are set out in our ‘Principles for Engagement’. All Group companies and employees are required to act in accordance with these Principles. We support third parties on policy issues of mutual interest, but will never ask a third party to conduct itself in any way that contravenes the ‘Principles for Engagement’.
When tobacco control groups get in contact with us, we are always quick to respond. Recent examples include our responses to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) who raised questions at our 2013, 2014 and 2015 Annual General Meetings. Please read our responses below: