bat biodiversity partnership - What we do

The British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership seeks to address some of the challenging issues surrounding the conservation and management of biodiversity within agricultural landscapes and the ecosystems on which they depend.

British American Tobacco has a long record of addressing social and environmental responsibility through its direct links to some 200,000 farmers around the world, mostly in developing countries. Most of these farmers grow tobacco on a small scale, alongside or in rotation with other crops such as rice, maize or beans, in mixed farming landscapes. Where farmers use wood as a fuel for tobacco curing, these landscapes often also include plantations or agro-forestry.

British American Tobacco’s ‘vertically integrated agricultural supply chain’ provides an excellent foundation for the work of the Partnership, and a unique entry point to rural communities living in diverse and sometimes fragile landscapes around the world. There is a great opportunity to contribute to conservation and sustainable development in these landscapes. This requires us to look not only at the specific impacts and dependencies of the tobacco crop, but also at the long-term sustainability of farming practices as a whole and at the health and resilience of the ecosystems on which farming relies. In almost all cases this requires us to work not only with tobacco farmers but with other stakeholders in these landscapes. 

The Partnership was set up in 2001 with a vision of a world better able to manage biodiversity responsibly through partnership and we are working to maintain and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes.

Our mission is to act as a catalyst, bringing together the knowledge, skills and resources of the Partners to leverage positive change in understanding and behaviour among stakeholders.  We seek to deliver on-the-ground solutions, raise awareness of biodiversity and ecosystem services issues, and build capacity of individuals and organisations.

Read more about the Objectives of the Partnership 
Read more about the Scope of our work

Our programme of work

Since 2001, our programme of work has supported key work streams:

  • Embedding biodiversity into British American Tobacco’s leaf operations through projects developed jointly between NGO Partners and British American Tobacco Operating Companies, to help British American Tobacco better monitor and manage its biodiversity impacts and opportunities; and
  • Projects that aim to improve how biodiversity is managed and protected, and meet the conservation objectives of the NGO Partners.

Read more about our current and past Projects

History of the Partnership

The Partnership has been working together since 2001, and as a partnership has evolved and developed over time.

Term 1 (2001–2005) was mostly about building trust and understanding between the Partners. The Partners were able to deliver significant conservation outcomes within their own organisations as well as laying the groundwork for projects, such as restoring natural forest from eucalyptus in Sri Lanka and the sustainable forest management project in Uganda.

Term 2 (2006–2010) developed further definition and delivered tangible ways to deliver British American Tobacco’s commitment to embed biodiversity conservation principles into its business operations, as well as supporting each NGO Partner to achieve its mission. The Partnership was instrumental in setting the direction for British American Tobacco, starting with the company’s Biodiversity Statement of 2006, followed by high-level measures adopted in its sustainability reporting, and the development of core tools to drive biodiversity management and change within the business. The Partnership continued to support important conservation projects of the NGO Partners around the world.

As a sign of the Partners’ continued commitment, the Partnership was renewed for a third term of five years (2011–2015). Term 3 has a sharper focus on the key issues relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services in tobacco-growing and mixed agricultural landscapes and ecosystems.

"Term 1 was about finding the best ways of working together, and agreeing the ‘mechanics’ of the Partnership. Through Term 2 and heading into Term 3, we are increasingly accessing the strengths of the partners, and their local insights, to improve resilience of biodiversity within agricultural landscapes. Greater flexibility is allowing us to focus on ecosystem services and adaptation planning as means of ensuring biodiversity persists in these landscapes, despite escalating global pressures on agricultural land."
Rosalind Aveling, Deputy Chief Executive and Director, Conservation Partnerships, Fauna & Flora International