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British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership

Written by: Laura Fox
Other posts by Laura Fox

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.

Partnership objectives

  1. Embedding biodiversity assessment, management and conservation into British American Tobacco’s business culture and operations;
  2. Improving conservation of biodiversity in areas of mutual interest to the Partners to protect and restore habitats and species and ensure sustainable use of natural resources;
  3. Building capacity of individuals, organisations and local stakeholders around conservation;
  4. Developing and implementing tools to monitor, manage and restore biodiversity and ecosystems services upon which we depend; and
  5. Addressing global agendas and conservation priorities through cross-sector information exchange.

What’s in it for BAT?

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.

What’s in it for FFI?

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.

Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment

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.

BAT Biodiversity Partnership projects

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.

Read a case study of this project at the end of this news story.

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.

Learn more on the project page or BAT Biodiversity Partnership website.

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.

Written by
Laura Fox

Laura was brought up in rural Hong Kong where she saw how streams used by local communities changed colour on each day of the week depending on the clothes being dyed in an upstream factory. This triggered an interest in private sector environmental behaviour. Laura has since lived and worked in India, Japan, China and Russia in the community conservation and private sector. An undergraduate degree in geography and business studies focused on the travel and tourism sector and an MSc in Environment and Development further developed her interest in the trade-offs between economic development and truly sustainable natural resource management. After six years working in the private sector she shifted approach and spent four years working on pulp and paper issues with research and campaigning NGOS. Upon joining Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in 2008, Laura managed the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership for five years and now leads a team developing FFI’s Agricultural Landscapes Programme.

Other posts by Laura Fox
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales, Registered Company Number 2677068. Registered Charity Number 101110
Fauna & Flora International Australia (Ltd) is a company limited by guarantee, and recognised as a Charitable Institution (ABN 75 132 715 783, ACN 132715783)
Fauna & Flora International Inc. is a Not for Profit Organisation in the State of Massachusetts. It is tax exempt (EIN #04-2730954) and has 501(c) (3) status
Fauna & Flora International Singapore is a public company limited by guarantee, Registration Number 201133836K. Registered charity under the Singapore Charities Act