British American Tobacco targets carbon neutrality by 2030
British American Tobacco (BAT) has announced a new ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics by 2025, having slashed emissions by almost 50% since 2000.
BAT outlined the carbon-neutral ambition as part of it’s “A Better Tomorrow” strategy, which also commits the company to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics and to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2025.
The strategy was unveiled alongside the latest iteration of BAT’s sustainability report. The report reveals that the company has reduced emissions by 47% since 2000 and by 9.5% against a 2017 baseline. Specifically, 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent have been saved annually by removing silicon caps from Vype e-liquid pods, which are being introduced as BAT aims to increase the use of non-combustible products to 50 million by 2030.
The sustainability report also notes that a 13.1% reduction in water withdrawals against a 2017 baseline has been recorded, with the company aiming for 35% by 2025. Additionally, 99% of wood fuel used by 90,000 directly contracted farmers for curing came from sustainable sources in 2019.
BAT’s chief executive Jack Bowles said: “Today we are transitioning from being a business where sustainability has always been important to one where it is front and centre in all that we do.
“Over the last 20 years, we’ve made significant progress on our sustainability journey. Yet our approach needs to constantly develop, much as the world around us is evolving – from increasing expectations of the role of business in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and addressing climate change; to evolving consumer preferences and the emergence of new category products, such as vapour products (e-cigarettes), tobacco heating and modern oral products, that offer potentially reduced risks for the many millions of people across the world who continue to smoke cigarettes.”
The report adds that Scope 3 emissions account for 90% of BAT’s total carbon footprint and the company is now “engaging with [it’s] largest direct product materials suppliers and conducting climate change impact assessments for major tobacco leaf sourcing countries”.
Another notable achievement is that BAT’s “reduced-risk” products are available in 48 markets globally, growing the firm’s “New Categories” business by 37% to £1.3bn as part of the health pillar of the strategy.
BAT is also one of the highest-ranking companies for approaches to identifying and combatting modern slavery.
The sustainability report has been complemented by an online ESG report that provides detailed information about BAT’s policies, management approach. The report is also aligned to the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s ESG index, Standards, the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) Tobacco and Agricultural Production Standards and the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) Standard.
During a discussion on edie’s Sustainable Business Covered podcast, British American Tobacco’s group head of sustainability Jennie Galbraith noted that business decisions going forward would likely be driven by consumer demands for products and services that deliver core societal or environmental purposes.