As Malaysia’s largest tobacco company, and as a company operating in an industry that is seen as controversial, we believe we have a role to play in shaping and taking the lead in the responsibility agenda in the country. This is evident in our commitment to social reporting.
In 2001, we were the first local tobacco company to publish a social report. As the Company evolved towards sustainability, British American Tobacco Malaysia published its final Social Report in 2008, making way for a more consolidated approach towards reporting. This was based on a global decision in 2009 to produce one Global Sustainability Report for the BAT p.l.c. Group, which includes balanced scorecards and sustainability case studies from businesses in the Group's largest markets which includes British American Tobacco Malaysia. The Company’s sustainability case studies and balanced scorecards can be accessed in the section on Malaysia Sustainability Case Studies.
Throughout the years of publishing our social report, we have continuously applied a rigorous approach to our social reporting, which involved various aspects as listed below:
Our first social report was published following the best international standards of AA1000 - an international accountability standard established by the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability (the professional body for corporate and social responsibility). It is designed to improve accountability and performance with a process of learning through stakeholder engagement. The AA1000 framework provides guidance to users on how to establish a systematic stakeholder engagement process that generates the indicators, targets, and reporting systems needed to ensure its effectiveness in impacting on decisions, activities, and overall organisational performance.
The AA1000 requires a social reporting process to meet the principles of completeness, comparability, inclusivity, regularity and timeliness, embeddedness, disclosure, verification, continuous improvement, materiality, accessibility and information quality.
These principles were further integrated and consolidated into the three principles of materiality, inclusivity and responsiveness, under the recently issued AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS). This consolidation of principles reflects a response to the results of extensive stakeholder engagement undertaken concerning the AA1000 framework.
Throughout the years of publishing our social report, we followed the best practice standards AccountAbility1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS) on stakeholder engagement and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) which forms the blueprint for the Company’s triple bottom-line reporting.
For more information on these principles, visit the Accountability website www.accountability.org.uk .
We measure our stakeholder engagement process through rigorous and independent external review and assurance by Bureau Veritas Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Bureau Veritas Malaysia Sdn Bhd was appointed to verify British American Tobacco Malaysia’s Social Reporting process in terms of integrity and transparency in accordance with the AA1000AS, and to ensure the accuracy of information in our Social Reports.
Bureau Veritas Malaysia Sdn Bhd is part of the Bureau Veritas Group, an independent professional services company that specialises in quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) and Social Responsibility, with a presence in over 140 countries.
Two of the key elements underpinning the principles behind AA1000AS are stakeholder engagement, and embedding of the process. Our adherence to the key element ‘stakeholder engagement’ is reflected in our dialogue process with stakeholders. We have engaged our stakeholders on key issues, to listen, understand and respond to their concerns and expectations. The method of engagement we have used is dialogue, conducted in a transparent and constructive manner.
We are also meeting the element of ‘embedding’ with the establishment of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, which reports into the Board of the Company via the Audit Committee. It also reports into the Regional CSR Committee, which in turn reports into the Global CSR Committee, in alignment with the Company’s CR principles. Further to this, the integration of systems and structures in the Company to strengthen the accounting, auditing and reporting process also aid in embedding social reporting and CR within the organisation.
Stakeholder Mapping and Classification (SMC)
Throughout our Social Reporting cycles, our dialogue with stakeholders has been guided by findings from the Stakeholder Mapping and Classification (SMC) research, which enabled us to identify the key issues highlighted by a cross-section of different stakeholders sampled, with respect to the tobacco industry in Malaysia.
The SMC methodology included face-to-face as well as roundtable discussions with stakeholders to ascertain their views and opinions on a number of tobacco-related issues and was the platform with which to identify the key areas stakeholders considered crucial for the tobacco industry to work towards accountability, transparency and responsibility in business. The SMC was conducted in three phases, from 1999 to 2001.
Based on the combined findings from this three-phase research effort, the following issues emerged which then formed the basis of discussion in our dialogue with stakeholders from cycles one to six of our Social Reporting process:
- Underage youth smoking prevention
- Passive smoking
- Responsible marketing
- Sensible regulations
- Consumer information
- "Safer" products
- Illegal cigarettes
- Taxation and litigation
- Corporate conduct & accountability
- Addressing concerns of employees
At the end of cycle six, stakeholders were satisfied that these issues had been sufficiently discussed and that the issues like illegal cigarettes, underage youth smoking prevention and consumer information required ongoing effort from the tobacco industry. The company also listened to internal stakeholder to identify their concerns. In response to these expectations, the 2006 - 2008 dialogues focused on two specific topics: illegal cigarettes, and putting employment principles into practice.
We engaged an independent dialogue facilitator where deemed necessary, to further facilitate open dialogue. The main language used throughout the dialogues was English, although participants were free to speak in Bahasa Malaysia. Interpreters were also provided to facilitate Mandarin speakers where required.
The issues discussed in our 2006 - 2008 dialogues continue to reflect the elements addressed in our company-wide commitment to run our business responsibly, as reflected in Statement of Business Principles.