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Our sustainability strategy is central to the long-term success of our business and underpins our drive to create shared value for our stakeholders. The strategy focuses on three pillars identified as having the greatest significance to us and our stakeholders:

  • a sustainable tobacco supply: maintaining sustainable agricultural practices to ensure a consistent, quality supply of tobacco
  • reduced harm Next Generation Products (NGP): developing alternative products that are less harmful to health
  • responsible operations and people: behaving responsibly at all times and providing a safe and rewarding work environment for employees

The three pillars of our strategy, designed to enable growth and create value, define the approach we take to addressing our environmental, social and governance (ESG) responsibilities. We remain committed to reducing our environmental impact, collaborating with stakeholders to make a positive social impact and maintaining high standards of governance.


Through the process of stakeholder engagement, we have identified the following five priority issues:


Consumer Health

We understand society’s concerns about the health risks of smoking and recognise the important role we can play in helping to reduce the harm caused by combustible tobacco products.

Climate and Energy

Given our global reach and influence, we have a duty to protect the natural environment and actively work to minimise our environmental impacts.

Farmer Livelihoods and Welfare

Farmer livelihoods and welfare is of paramount importance to sustainable tobacco production and we continue to engage with our suppliers to support farming communities.

Human Rights - Modern Slavery

As an international business we recognise the importance, influence and duty we have in promoting respect for human rights across our business and supply chains.


As part of our duty to protect the natural environment, we seek to minimise waste and waste sent to landfill.


Maintaining sustainable agricultural practices to ensure a consistent, quality supply of tobacco.

Behaving responsibly at all times and providing a safe and rewarding work environment for employees.

Developing alternative products that are less harmful to health.


We place responsibility in the context of good business management. Our PLC Board approves direction and remains informed with business reviews, progress reports and briefings. Our Executive Committee is responsible for implementing Group strategy and monitoring operational performance.

A formal review of our sustainability strategy and performance is held with both the Executive Committee and the PLC Board, annually. Material risks to the business, including strategic, operational, financial, legal and the most pertinent social and environmental risks are managed through our risk management framework.  

To ensure we continue to maintain adequate executive level oversight of our sustainability strategy and performance, we have established a cross-functional ESG Steering Committee, chaired by the Chair of Imperial Brands. The Committee meets formally during the year and encourages members to stay in touch on a day-to-day basis to ensure there is regular ongoing dialogue about ESG matters. 

Further information on governance can be found in our Leadership and Governance Table.



Building and maintaining trust with our stakeholders underpins the success and reputation of our business. Stakeholder engagement introduces wider perspectives and enables better decision-making; it is an ongoing process which we primarily use to help us understand key priorities and how we can do things better.

We conducted independent materiality assessments in 2013 and 2016 which included identifying economic, social and environmental risks based on the geographical location of our operations as well as the locations of our key strategic suppliers. Around 940 locations were assessed, and the output helped to identify our top 20 issues, which supports how we frame our sustainability strategy.

In May 2019 we convened an independently facilitated Stakeholder Panel to appraise our approach and alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as support further prioritisation of our environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. For a summary of the Panel session, see our Stakeholder Panel Statement.



See the progress we’ve made against our key performance indicators during 2020.

Read more


We've outlined a new strategy to transform our business and create long-term value.


Colleagues at business meeting in conference room

Our commitment to sustainability starts at the Board of Directors, who have oversight of our material sustainability issues and our performance against them.