Fauna & Flora International achieves groundbreaking impacts with British American Tobacco

The British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership (BATBP), a collaboration of BAT, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Tropical Biology Association and the Earthwatch Institute, has recently completed its second term. The partners are pleased to announce the launch of the third five-year term starting in 2011.

“The Partnership has proven how collaboration between BAT and the NGO partners can make a difference to the company’s biodiversity impacts,” said Anna Lyons, Conservation Partnerships, FFI. “By working together, we have shown that agricultural supply chains can become more sustainable.”

BATBP has been going strong for a decade now. The Partnership’s success has meant real change on the ground for biodiversity conservation. Some key achievements over the last five years are listed below.

Biodiversity Risk and Opportunity Assessment (BROA)

FFI helped BAT to adopt BROA as the core tool to drive change around biodiversity management within the company. To date, 19 BAT leaf growing companies across the globe have completed BROAs and developed their action plans. Working with local NGOs or Universities to help identify the risks and opportunities was a valuable process. All leaf growing operations are now busy implementing their plans for 2011.

BROA has catalysed a range of activities that greatly extends the reach of the Partnership. The BATBP BROA work was highlighted in The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and is a tool the Partnership will make publicly available in 2011. In addition, a global biodiversity risk mapping tool was developed to enable an overview of biodiversity risk.

Supporting high-impact conservation

One of the key objectives of the BATBP has been to direct support to the NGO partners’ biodiversity conservation initiatives. The partnership has enabled FFI to continue and expand our work in many projects around the world, including:

  • Capacity building in Maderas Volcano Natural Reserve in Nicaragua, which catalyzed the designation of Ometepe Island as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Improving the conservation of the world’s most critically endangered gorilla, the Cross River gorilla, in Western Cameroon

Making a difference in tobacco growing areas

Over the last five years the BATBP supported several projects that help BAT to more actively manage impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ecosystem services in leaf growing operations.

These range from identifying the best ways to start converting eucalyptus plantations to native forest in Chile and Sri Lanka to developing the protection of an important agricultural watershed in Lombok, Indonesia. See the case study below for a project that FFI has been working on in Brazil.

CASE STUDY: Brazil Green Corridor

Developing and implementing a conservation model for the Araucaria forest landscape

FFI and our partner Brazilian NGO Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem e Educação Ambiental (SPVS) have led an initiative to help BAT Brazilian subsidiary Souza Cruz explore ways to encourage a green corridor through the tobacco-farming landscape of Paraná State. Araucaria forest in the area is rich in biodiversity but is increasingly fragmented and threatened.

Many of the forest remnants survive on small farms in varying degrees of degradation. We saw the opportunity to work together to engage farmers in protecting these forest patches to conserve biodiversity.

The project aims to assist small farmers in Souza Cruz’s tobacco supply chain in complying with Brazilian forest conservation law. The law requires farmers to set aside 20% of their land for biodiversity maintenance or recolonisation as a ‘forest reserve’. It also mandates the permanent protection of vulnerable elements of the landscape such as water course buffer zones, which act as a natural connector through the landscape.

The collaboration of FFI, SPVS and Souza Cruz has made great strides:

  • Total of 120 farms surveyed, over 100 farmers committed to working with us
  • Around 560 hectares of natural forest has been identified as possible legal reserves and permanent protected areas
  • 100% of Souza Cruz’s Leaf Technicians trained in biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as environmental legislation and farmer compliance options
  • Souza Cruz was the first company within BAT to set up a Leaf Production Sustainability Area
  • Souza Cruz set the ambitious target of 0% native wood use for tobacco curing by 2015

Download the British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership progress report to read more about past achievements and where we’re headed.

Explore the recently relaunched BATBP website.