KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Malaysia’s largest tobacco producer is switching tack to manufacturing products that aim to reduce the health risks associated with smoking cigarettes as part of its new business strategy focusing on sustainability.
In an online news conference here today, British American Tobacco (BAT) Malaysia Berhad unveiled its “A Better Tomorrow” initiative that focuses on four “pillars” for its business going forward — harm reduction, environment, social and governance.
“With our A Better Tomorrow purpose, we are transitioning from being a business where sustainability has always been important, to one where it is front and centre in everything that we do.
“We will work to reduce the health impact of our business and at the same time champion environmental, social and governance excellence. Together, we believe this will drive the company’s long-term business sustainability and create shared value for consumers, society, employees and our shareholders,” Nicholas Booth, Bat Malaysia’s legal and external affairs director said.
Booth said BAT Malaysia’s primary focus would be on reducing the health impact of its business and offering less risky products for its customers.
He said the company fully supports appropriate regulations to reduce tobacco harm in products such as nicotine vapour.
Under the environment pillar, Booth said that BAT Malaysia is also increasing the use of renewable energy and pushing towards carbon neutrality in its operations.
“This includes solar energy deployment at its factory in Johor Baru, warehouse and distribution offices nationwide and deployment of hybrid vehicles.
“In addition, BAT Malaysia is accelerating its reduction of waste and will eliminate single use plastics,” he said.
As for the social aspect, Booth said the company is working to enhance racial diversity as well as gender equality at the workplace.
“This includes its efforts to ensure fair and equal representation of women and different nationalities in the management and leadership roles within the company.
“BAT Malaysia is also reviewing its community investment programmes and aims to empower underprivileged communities for shared prosperity and positive impact,” he said.
Booth said that BAT Malaysia will ensure the company achieves its business objectives in a responsible manner and in accordance with the high standards of integrity, transparency and accountability, ensuring compliance with local laws, governance best practices and internal policies.
He added that BAT Malaysia is aligned to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and key elements of the 12th Malaysia Plan, adding that it will also be benchmarking itself against the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia ESG rating.
Launched in December 2014, the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia is a rating system introduced by Bursa Malaysia that rates the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores of Malaysian public listed companies (PLCs).
FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia recognises PLCs that have taken steps to improve their ESG practices and disclosures, and aims to support investors in making ESG investments, increase the profile and exposure of companies with leading ESG practices, encourage best practice disclosure and support the transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy.
“We have clear goals in delivering the strategy. We want to be the leading consumer product and services company when benchmarked against the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia ESG rating and recognised for sustainability initiatives locally and internationally.
“We are excited about building a better tomorrow,” Booth said.