The FINANCIAL — British American Tobacco p.l.c. (BAT) has become the first tobacco company to publish a Human Rights Report. The report coincides with UN Human Rights Day and highlights the company’s commitment and actions to protect human rights across its global business and supply chain. BAT has also announced a commitment to aim for zero child labour in its agricultural supply chain by 2025.
BAT’s Human Rights Report is aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles Reporting Framework. The report highlights the extensive measures BAT takes to promote, uphold and protect the human rights across its extensive supply chain, which includes 90,000 directly contracted farmers. The report also features case studies to showcase partnerships and activities aimed at improving farmer livelihoods and securing the long-term sustainability of rural communities.
The report is published on UN Human Rights Day which, this year, focuses on the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights. Ensuring the health and welfare of all employees around the world is central to BAT’s strategy to build A Better Tomorrow for all stakeholders. The report highlights many of the initiatives the company has adopted to address the pandemic including:
Developing a potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Producing and distributing protective equipment and sanitiser
Providing financial support to suppliers where required
Ensuring access to COVID-secure workplaces for workers throughout our supply chain
ESG is a key driver of BAT’s transformation journey to build a Better Tomorrow for all stakeholders. At the centre of our strategy is our purpose to reduce the health impact of our business through offering a range of enjoyable and potentially reduced-risk products. We continue to be clear that combustible cigarettes pose serious health risks, and the only way to avoid these risks is not to start or to quit. BAT encourages those who otherwise continue to smoke, to switch completely to scientifically-substantiated, reduced-risk alternatives
Jack Bowles, BAT CEO, said:
“ESG is front and centre in all that we do and is a key driver of our purpose to build A Better Tomorrow. “We recognise that forced labour is a serious risk in agricultural supply chains and I am proud that we had zero reported cases of forced labour in 2019. We adopt a zero-tolerance approach to forced labour whilst having a clear commitment to aim for our tobacco supply chain to also be free of child labour by 2025.” “This journey will not be easy, but by focusing on the most difficult issues I believe we can push ourselves to create A Better Tomorrow for everyone.”