REINVESTING IN SOCIETY
As an international business we make positive contributions. We support livelihoods through wealth creation and community participation. We partner, support fundraising and encourage volunteering. In our supply chain we promote responsible labour practices that respect human rights.
We expect all our suppliers to be aligned with our Code of Conduct. Our supplier standards and programmes address working conditions, fair remuneration, working hours, freedom from forced labour, child labour, respect, non-discrimination and health and safety.
We purchase the majority of our leaf tobacco from third-party suppliers who are mainly part of large international leaf supplying companies. Our tobacco is sourced globally from origins including Brazil, China, India, EU member states and in Sub-Saharan Africa. A small amount of our tobacco is purchased directly principally in Madagascar, Morocco and Laos.
Our leaf sourcing programme, the Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP), monitors social, environmental and economic factors. For more information on STP click here.
We operate a Supplier Qualification Programme for our key non-tobacco materials suppliers. Materials supplied include paper, board, filters, filter tow, foils, films, printed materials and glues.
Suppliers are asked to complete a periodic compliance check. This includes questions on business conduct, environmental management and labour practices. We also encourage our suppliers to evaluate their suppliers and sub-contractors. The programme involves a phased cycle of audits to check against the supplier’s self-assessment. We prioritise audits on the basis of risk assessment, quality and performance.
Child labour is defined as work that can harm children’s well-being, hinders their education, development and future livelihood. We refer to the main international and legal instruments which are contained in the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Addressing child labour is a multi-stakeholder issue. We would like to see universal legislation aligned to ILO conventions 138 (minimum age for admission to employment and work) and 182 (the worst forms of child labour) and our own supplier standards.
We engage our suppliers through our leaf sourcing programme (STP), which includes the monitoring of child labour, farmer standards of living and capacity building.
We see that having a strong focus on farmer viability and leaf sustainability are highly important. It is crucial that there is also community understanding, support and a referral systems.
In partnership with leaf suppliers we support a range of projects that are targeted in tobacco-growing countries, identified as having the most need. Our projects seek to mitigate child labour risk by supporting farmer incomes, improving agricultural techniques, community well-being, food security and improving access to finance and education.
We support the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation (ECLT). ECLT aims to tackle the root causes of child labour by improving access to education and providing alternatives to childhood working. It also has an advocacy role, raising awareness with governments and communities to galvanise positive action.
Livelihoods relate to standards of living and tackling poverty. We use socio-economic impact assessments to better understand our direct and indirect impacts and the contributions that we make to stakeholders. A number of country-specific and regional assessments have been undertaken including a socio-economic impact assessment for West Africa.
We pay our taxes. The Group’s Policy on Taxation is to ensure compliance with tobacco taxation and product supply legislation and to engage constructively with revenue authorities worldwide to help combat illicit trade. In compliance with legislation, our UK Tax Strategy is made available on our website.
We choose to have a central community investment budget, to support employee engagement and the communities with the greatest need connected to our business footprint.
Our community support is prioritised towards the most disadvantaged around our factories, offices and tobacco-sourcing activities, in line with internal guidelines and our Code of Conduct. We focus on projects aligned to employability, basic needs and the elimination of child labour in tobacco growing communities.
We recognise that a number of factors can impact on food security. These include agricultural development, land use, environmental factors, food waste, trade flows, agricultural prices, income distribution and political dynamics.
Our suppliers and growers are encouraged to establish sustainable agricultural and post-harvest practices through our leaf supplier programme (STP). The programme covers integrated pest management, soil conservation, water conservation and farmer training. Pollution prevention is also covered to maximise agricultural yields and minimise dependence on agrochemicals.
We also help address food security through some of our community projects. We have supported interventions to better enable people to afford food, make land more productive and encourage farmers to grow a range of food crops.
We want our employees and workers in our supply chain to be well. By supporting schemes to protect our employees we can also help disrupt the spread of disease within the wider communities.
Similarly by working against infectious diseases in relevant communities we can reduce the risk to our own employees and to workers in the supply chain. Where appropriate we assist by supporting programmes which are relevant to the level of risk. This may be through our own healthcare services or by working with partners under our community livelihoods approach.
We have supported programmes to help address HIV / Aids, malaria and water-borne disease and to help provide disaster relief in the event of civil unrest, extreme weather events, major accidents, terrorism and / or geological catastrophes.