Campaigning and engagement

Participating in a balanced debate

We believe that as a responsible company we can contribute – through information, ideas and practical steps – to helping regulators address the key issues surrounding our products and our industry.

Some of the tobacco control organisations like to present us as part of an all-powerful ‘Big Tobacco’ lobby that uses extensive resources and secretive measures to influence government. But all we are trying to do is make our voice heard on issues that affect our business.

Transparent lobbying

We believe that all views – whether from businesses, NGOs or any other parties – should be communicated transparently to everyone. So, the views and positions we advocate are reflected on this website.

Some stakeholders may have concerns that the views we publish externally and those we advocate to regulators are not the same but that is not the case. For global regulatory issues, the views we advocate are the same as those on this website and regulatory engagement by our companies is monitored by our regional audit and CSR committees. We also have a clear policy and compliance procedures on political donations set out in our Standards of Business Conduct.

We support best practice principles on the development of regulation, including the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Better Regulation Plan, the EU Communication on Smart Regulation, the guidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UK Better Regulation Executive.

We recognise that, as a responsible company, all the engagement activities we undertake must be guided by internal standards, which are set out in our ‘Principles for Engagement’. All our employees are required to act in accordance with these Principles. We support third parties on policy issues of mutual interest but will never ask a third party to conduct itself in any way that contravenes the ‘Principles for Engagement’.

Principles of Engagement (109 kb)  

Our Principles for Engagement provide clear guidance for our external engagement with regulators, politicians and other third parties. We are transparent about what we think, supporting some new proposals but disagreeing with others. When we do not agree with proposed regulations, we try to be constructive and put forward alternatives that can still achieve governments' aims. We have long supported the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying.