BAT, CSR and Lobbying

Williams, Sarah (2008) BAT, CSR and Lobbying. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Due to the nature of their product, tobacco companies face much criticism from many fronts, particularly the media and NGOs. This public criticism has meant tobacco companies strive to implement sound and commendable CSR principles, initiatives, and codes, often voluntarily reporting on their CSR or sustainability activities.

Tobacco companies have also faced criticism regarding their lobbying practices since the 1950s and onwards. Many commentators feel they should be excluded from consultation on health and even tobacco policy.

British American Tobacco Plc in particular has been widely lauded for its CSR and stakeholder engagement initiatives, while at the same time strongly censured and targeted by multiple NGO reports and in the press.

This dissertation considers how far BAT's lobbying activities are consistent with its explicitly stated corporate social responsibilities, assessing whether a reporting-performance portrayal gap exists in this regard. The data analysed was BAT's self-portrayal through its social reports and website, and the public portrayal as represented in the UK press between 2002 and 2008. The issues facing BAT were split into harm reduction, marketplace, supply chain, environment, and people and culture.

The study found that BAT's performance in this area was mixed, showing BAT is inconsistent in its approach to CSR and lobbying, and the two are not fully integrated. BAT was found to be lobbying for positive policy tightening related to some aspects of its publicly stated corporate responsibilities, e.g. its lobbying on youth smoking prevention and on a smokeless tobacco product. However, those examples of BAT's lobbying practices which were found to be consistent with the company's stated responsibilities were observed to be undermined by inconsistencies discovered between other instances of lobbying and the company's stated responsibilities.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: CSR, lobbying, tobacco, British American Tobacco, reporting-performance portrayal gap
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2009
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 21:27

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