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Fauna & Flora International (FFI) works with British American Tobacco (BAT) through the company’s Biodiversity Partnership.
The Partnership is a collaboration between BAT, FFI, Tropical Biological Association and Earthwatch Institute. We have worked together since 2000 and entered into the Partnership’s third five-year term in 2011.
We are working on protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, specifically in tobacco-growing and mixed agricultural landscapes and the wider ecosystems on which they depend.
BAT obtains most of its tobacco from about 200,000 farmers – most are small-scale and in developing countries.
The company’s long-term success relies on sustainable sources of tobacco and other natural resources; these, in turn, depend on healthy ecosystems for water, fertile soil, stable climates, crop pollination, pest control and genetic diversity.
Protecting biodiversity and ecosystems is therefore a critical area in maintaining BAT’s commercial sustainability and reputation.
The Partnership enables us to develop better understanding of the drivers of change in the agricultural sector and the complex livelihood and conservation issues that farmers face.
The Partnership can potentially influence the behaviour of farmers and others in the farming landscape in the 19 countries where BAT grows tobacco.
By partnering with a committed leader, we can raise standards across the tobacco and agriculture sector and develop tools and case studies that benefit the wider business and conservation community.
FFI helped BAT to adopt Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment (BROA) as the core tool to drive change around biodiversity management within the company.
In fact, BAT made BROA mandatory across all tobacco leaf growing operations in 2008. To date, 19 BAT leaf growing companies across the globe have completed BROAs and are implementing their action plans.
FFI experts are leading on two of the BAT Biodiversity Partnership’s operation-level projects.
1) Tobacco Growing Landscapes in the south of Brazil.
Located on one of the earliest BROA pilot sites, FFI’s first site-level project with BAT is securing threatened Araucaria forest in tobacco growing areas in Parana State, Brazil with over 100 farmers.
Through the established partnership with BAT subsidiary Souza Cruz and Brazilian NGO Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem e Educação Ambiental, we are aiming to scale up our impact by working with farmers to establish an economically viable approach for them to maintain and restore biodiversity through the threatened landscapes of Southern Brazil.
2) Watershed protection in Indonesia
The second project focuses on a major tobacco growing area, the Renggung water catchment on the Indonesian island of Lombok. We are developing a model to conserve watersheds through sustainable landscape management practices that enhance biodiversity, support agriculture and improve livelihoods. Over 3,200 farmers rely on the Renggung for irrigation for rice and tobacco crops.
FFI is collaborating with BAT subsidiary Export Leaf Indonesia, the University of Mataram and the local government to develop a sound management plan.
Read Dr Stephen Browne’s blog post on our work in Lombok.
Download the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership progress report (PDF) to read more about past achievements.
The BAT Biodiversity Partnership concluded in December 2015 after 15 years of working together on projects, approaches and dissemination on critical issues facing biodiversity and natural resource management in agricultural landscapes.
An event was held in November to celebrate the achievements and legacy of the partnership, a video of which is available here: