Investing for the future
Tobacco is often grown in developing countries where access to health services, clean water, sanitation, energy and technology can be a challenge.
By improving access to basic infrastructure and resources, we can help ensure some of our most important tobacco growing areas are viable places to live and work.
Many of our companies have built close ties with the communities in which they operate and we have a longstanding approach to corporate social investment (CSI). These CSI activities often support local infrastructure projects that can benefit wider communities. For example, our company in Pakistan has provided basic healthcare facilities for remote rural areas through mobile doctor units. In 2013, more than 87,000 patients were treated.
We are now working to closer align our CSI with our leaf operations activities, by requiring at least 70% of our annual CSI spend in all our tobacco growing countries to be focused on sustainable agriculture, where feasible.
We provide our farmers with access to new farming methods and technologies which might otherwise be unavailable to them. Examples include new seed varieties developed by our global agronomy centre; ‘floating trays’ for producing seedlings; innovative technologies for irrigating crops; and mechanised equipment to help with harvesting.
These help our farmers to improve productivity, reduce labour requirements and optimise quality and yields, as well as guaranteeing the integrity of tobacco for our products.
Because of their rural location, many of our upland farmers in Bangladesh haven’t had an electricity supply. Access to clean water for drinking and sanitation can also be a major challenge for them.
BAT Bangladesh has provided over 1,300 solar energy panels that generate electricity for 15 remote villages in tobacco growing areas.
The company also runs a project which has installed 53 water filtration plants that purify up to 270,000 litres a day, providing much needed clean drinking water in 14 districts.