Respecting natural resources
Improving environmental performance supports efficiency and cost optimisation and enables us to better comply with evolving environmental legislation. We recognise that certain resources are finite and that the environment must be protected.
To better understand our main environmental impacts we have undertaken an environmental footprint analysis.
We have a formal approach to environmental management through the application of ISO 14001, which is the main standard within our direct operations. We have a number of targets which primarily relate to waste, energy, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. From our environmental footprint analysis we understand that the majority of our environmental impacts are in our agricultural supply chain. We seek to minimise these impacts through the application of the Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP) and the CDP Supply Chain Programme, with suppliers.
We seek to protect and regenerate forests, as with their associated biodiversity, they support our access to natural resources. Forests are important for key materials and for us to maintain access to good quality tobacco, water, timber and other agricultural products.
In tobacco production, wood may be used as either a fuel for curing tobacco or as construction material for drying and grading barns. Partnerships with suppliers and communities are helping us to protect forests and support wood sustainability.
Forestry protection and biodiversity management are core elements of our leaf supplier programme. We are focused on having a sustainable source of wood for all our tobacco requirements of African origin. In this context we are approaching wood sustainability as a cost of production so that the suppliers we do business with in Africa do forestry on our behalf.
In addition to the planting of trees we are also investing in projects to increase the number of fuel-efficient drying or curing barns, hence reducing the demand for trees. We have made improvements to furnace design and curing technology for better efficiency and to reduce wood consumption. This is an example of the linkage between forests, climate and energy.
Where possible we support the use of FSC certified materials for our products and use.
Water scarcity and seasonal shortages may impact our factories and the surrounding communities. Water conservation and protection is managed locally within environmental management systems. Waste water quality is strictly controlled to meet local regulations and consent limits. We apply a standard for bulk fuel containment, spillage control and emergency action.
Our factories generally use mains water from local suppliers, however some extract and filter groundwater from wells, for production purposes, in accordance with local authority permits and extraction limits.
We have a target to reduce water use and specific targets for sites in countries that have been identified at risk from water scarcity. Improvements include new waste water discharge systems, better water metering, water recycling from air conditioning, cooling tower processes and rainwater use for sanitary facilities.
In our supply chain working with our Leaf Suppliers we have enabled and progressed a number of water projects to provide ponds, bore-holes, dams and weirs – enhancing water access for farmers and their communities.
We recognise that energy use is a cause of greenhouse gas emissions. We reduce our direct impacts through energy efficiency and carbon emission management. We reduce our indirect impacts by collaborating with our suppliers. In factories we have achieved energy savings in lighting and heating, by investing in technical improvements and modifying processes and procedures.
We invest in renewable energy where deemed appropriate. We believe that solar, wind and geothermal generated energy offer benefits in terms of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, better energy security, cost stabilisation and energy price volatility.
Targets to reduce the environmental impact of our transportation activities are principally in the areas of route planning, load optimisation, vehicle selection, maintenance and driver training.
We engage on climate change through the CDP Climate Change Programme, the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme requirements.
We submit information on our climate change strategy, carbon accounting, risks and opportunities to the CDP Climate Change Programme. We encourage our suppliers to do the same through the CDP Supply Chain Programme.
Biodiversity is important in securing access to natural resources including timber and other agricultural products. This is part of supply chain sustainability and maintaining access to good quality tobacco. Partnerships with suppliers and communities help us to address this issue.
We protect biodiversity through the progression of environmental management systems and by monitoring to ensure that we operate within recommended and legal limits. In our supply chain our Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP) is key promoting good agricultural practices which is further supported by training and advice from our specialist Leaf Sustainability and Agronomist Team.
We have participated in the Natural Value Initiative (NVI) Ecosystem Services Benchmark Analysis. The NVI is a collaboration between the environmental NGO Fauna & Flora International, a Brazilian business school and the UNEP Finance Initiative. The benchmark identified STP as a key strength in biodiversity and ecosystem protection.
We recognise that we have a duty to protect the natural environment and must work to minimise our actual and potential environmental impacts. This relates to the storage of hazardous substances, water management, emissions to air, noise and waste management.
We work to minimise our impacts and avoid polluting by the application of good environmental management practices, environmental risk assessments, mitigation measures, emergency plans and by obtaining the correct permits to operate.
We seek to minimise waste and waste to landfill through a combined approach of reduce, reuse and recycling, as key elements of our environmental programme.
In our manufacturing operations we continuously seek to improve and be most efficient. We aim to achieve the highest output on the basis of a lean way of working. Reducing complexity and the rollout of our Operational Excellence Programme (OEP) continues to move us further towards better ways to working and streamlined processes.