our focus areas

Our ESG strategy represents an exciting opportunity to make a positive difference

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Our 2022 ESG review has focused on prioritising our activities to ensure they fully align with our new strategy, purpose and vision and meet the evolving expectation of stakeholders.


Our ESG strategy represents an exciting opportunity to make a positive difference, as well as to be a platform to demonstrate our strategic risk management of ESG issues.

A full materiality study, which combined both quantitative data-led analysis and qualitative stakeholder interviews, highlighted eight key areas of focus.

Explore the drop-down boxes below to find out more about each of these eight areas.


OUR FOCUS AREAS - consumer health image

Why it is important?

We recognise that consumer health is the most important ESG priority for many of our stakeholders and that we need to build a successful next generation product (NGP) business. Our commercial strategy, launched in 2021, announced our intention to challenge through NGP market trials. This has been a key pillar of our new business strategy, and our ESG strategy aims to complement this by bringing a focus to how we address consumer health by offering adult smokers a range of products that have the potential of harm reduction at population level.

A consumer-led harm reduction strategy

We start with the consumer, focusing on consumer insight and research to ensure we build a portfolio that suits them.

We substantiate the harm reduction potential of our NGP through our multi-stage, multi-year testing and research programme. This scientific assessment framework is applied for each NGP type compared to cigarettes to assess the relative risk. You can explore in more detail on our science website.

Based on our scientific research and market research, we will link the findings into our NGP innovation process in order to innovate for stronger consumer satisfaction and to drive harm reduction by enabling smokers to choose potentially less harmful products.

Download ESG strategy report for more information

OUR FOCUS AREAS - climate change image

Why is it important?

We acknowledge our global reach and influence in addressing concerns over climate change. Disruption in climate and energy has the potential to impact our business across the value chain, from crop production to manufacturing and distribution. We monitor this risk and put in place intervention or mitigation measures where necessary.

Strong track record of performance

Over the last 10 years (2012-2021) we have:

  • Reduced our absolute scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions (tonnes) by 26 per cent
  • Reduced our absolute energy consumption (GWh) by 33 per cent
  • Reduced our absolute water consumption in our operations (m3) by 42 per cent

2021 Performance against our 2017 baseline year

  • Absolute energy consumption: 17 per cent decrease
  • Total absolute scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions: 14 per cent decrease
  • Reduction in water consumption in our operations: 24 per cent decrease

Download ESG Strategy report for more details 

OUR FOCUS AREAS - packaging and waste image

Why is it important?

Given our global reach and influence, we want to play a role in protecting the natural environment and actively work to minimise our environmental impacts. We also recognise that certain resources are finite and, as such, this presents us with opportunities to explore sustainable solutions that support our business sustainability and protect the environment. We are committed to compliance with environmental legislation. Reducing our environmental impact also supports efficiency and cost optimisation.

Strong track reord of performance

Over the last 10 years (2012-2021) we have:

  • Reduced waste generated within our operations (tonnes) by 24 per cent
  • Reduced waste sent to landfill (tonnes) by 16 per cent

2021 Performance against our 2017 baseline year

  • Waste generated within our operations: 15 per cent decrease
  • Waste sent to landfill: 40 per cent increase

Download ESG strategy report for more information

OUR FOCUS AREAS - farmer livelihoods image

Why it is important?

Everything on the farm is interconnected.

By continuing to support our suppliers to help their farmers increase access to basic needs, diversify their income and farm sustainably, it is not only having a positive impact on the planet, and for farming communities, but helps make our supply chain more robust and sustainable into the future.

2021 performance highlights

  • 88 per cent of farmers growing complementary crops
  • 97 per cent of farmers with access to initiatives to improve agricultural productivity
  • 130,000 farming community members benefitting from Imperial Leaf Projects

Download ESG strategy report for more information

OUR FOCUS AREAS - sustainable and responsible sourcing image

Why it is important?

Ensuring continuity of supply has a direct impact on our business today as well as the potential to impact business sustainability in the future.

It is important for us to know that the standards we expect in terms of quality, labour practices and environmental concern are being adhered to by our suppliers.

2021 performance highlights

  • 41 per cent of our key suppliers by spend had set science-based targets.
  • We have been recognised as a Supplier Engagement Leader by CDP for a third successive year. 

Download ESG strategy report for more information

OUR FOCUS AREAS - human rights image

Why it is important?

As an international business we recognise the importance, of promoting respect for human rights. Respecting human rights is of paramount importance in relation to our own employees, external reputation and supply chain sustainability.

2021 performance highlights

  • Strengthened our due diligence framework and embedded human rights awareness across functions within the business.
  • Strengthened governance through the formation of a cross-functional Human Rights Compliance Working Group.
  • Conducted a review and benchmark of all key policies that address human rights issues to identify areas for improvement.
  • Having assessed employee training needs, we provided in-depth training to key personnel across the business via an accredited online course deliveredby a third party.
  • Conducted a pilot anti-modern slavery audit with our UK facilities management provider.

Download ESG strategy report for more information

OUR FOCUS AREAS employee health image

Why it is important?

The health, safety and wellbeing of our people continues to be of utmost importance to us. We want to create a working environment where safety is an absolute priority, and strongly believe that no one should be injured in the course of their work. We can only achieve this vision if each and every one of us takes personal responsibility and therefore our health and safety identity is: ‘I own safety’.

2021 performance highlights

  • We have seen a 36 per cent decrease in lost time accidents (LTAs) since our 2019 baseline year
  • We have seen a 33 per cent decrease in our LTA rate since our 2019 baseline year
  • Total number of accidents has decreased by 33 per cent since our 2019 baseline year.
  • The accident rate has decreased by 30 per cent since our 2019 baseline year
  • Accident collision rate has decreased by 22 per cent since the 2019 baseline year
  • 74 per cent of our factories certified to the occupational health and safety management standard in 2021

Download ESG strategy report for more information

OUR FOCUS AREAS diversity image

Why it is important?

We have laid the foundations for a performance driven and inclusive culture which supports the delivery of Imperial’s new strategy. Underpinning our cultural shift is a set of five clear behaviours – how we need to think and act in order to succeed. To ‘be authentic and inclusive to all’ is one of our core behaviours. Everyone is welcome. The more diverse we are, the stronger we are.

2021 performance highlights

  • 40 per cent of the workforce are female
  • 30 per cent of the Executive Leadership Team are female
  • 36 per cent of the Board are female
  • We delivered our first sunrise-to-sunset International Women’s Day programme of events, with participation from employees in 43 countries
  • Our ‘Everyone Belongs’ online hub is rapidly gaining recognition across the business as we build inclusion awareness and capabilities throughout our organisation.

Download ESG strategy report for more information


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