Ethics and CSR in British American Tobacco

Categories: AmericaEthicsTobacco

Ethics and CSR in British American Tobacco


            Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) encourages the view that “company should endeavor to build a profit, abide by the law, and be a good corporate citizen, be ethical”.  Tobacco firm, yet, are not like other group. Tobacco is simply the consumer product that murder one half of its customers when taken as directed. The idea that tobacco firm can be ethical while upholding a disease-producing produce is fundamentally opposing (Carroll 1999). Tobacco firms claim that they employ CSR because they are apprehensive corporate society.

However, tobacco business internal credentials reveal the exact goals of industry supported programs, which are to increase profits and drive firm’s interests.

            Tobacco firms want to give the notion that they are presently like any other large company: responsible and concerned about the happiness of their stakeholders and customers (Collin, 2002). CSR serve to counter negative press and form positive public opinion of the tobacco manufacturing and tobacco matters, without changing real company performance (Yach et al.

Get quality help now
Marrie pro writer
Marrie pro writer
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: America

star star star star 5 (204)

“ She followed all my directions. It was really easy to contact her and respond very fast as well. ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

, 2001). The growing focus from the community on the tobacco manufacturing and the health risks connected with its goods, give rise to ethical enquiry on as to why Tobacco firm, carry out CSR. In this context, the World Health Organisation (WHO), one of BATs key stakeholders, is getting out towards BAT for a further open debate on their CSR and for a more distinct communication towards other main stakeholders. In addition, they question the ethical concern of tobacco firms and their CSR occupation.

            With BAT organism examination as a business with a rather divisive product, specifically cigarettes, one might enquire whether it is ethical to honour and accept BAT with rewards on their CSR and acknowledge their initiative towards appropriate a worldwide accepted corporate inhabitant.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

Hence, World Health Organisation questions the legality of BAT as a CSR firm? Therefore, it is exciting to examine the ethical of the field of CSR. Additionally, the moral fibre of BAT’s product present questions on BAT effort to be analysed as a CSR firm. Additionally, the effort of BAT to make WHO open up an appealing position of the cooperation between stakeholders and companies could lead to a more clear CSR work, and consequently create a better opportunity of enhancing business production.

            Stakeholder theory will be function in order to recognize the key stakeholder, whom the BAT fear, in order to examine the relationship linking BAT and BAT stakeholder and how this influence BAT’s CSR. World Health Organisation as one that is capable of influencing BAT both indirectly and directly. World Health Organisation directly subject BAT’s work and declare that their programmes do not contain the intended outcome on the teenage. Furthermore, BAT is indirectly exaggerated by WHO’s governmental occupation .The framework has been implemented, by several governments and it is a pace backwards for BAT and possibly its dealing because it encourage bans on smoking in open places and anti-smoking campaigns. In addition it place standards for the promotion efforts of the tobacco manufacturing, and consequently BAT. This speech provides a thoughtful of the dispute which BAT face in its sustainability way. Additionally, the statement emphasizes the fact that stakeholders of BAT do not desire to engage with them seeing the business they conduct. Hence, an implied reference may be practical to the ethical distress which several of BAT’s stakeholders have concerning BAT’s tobacco stuff. Laufer (2003) argues that present ethical programs are supposed as most successful when there is previously a dominant credible ethical leadership style and/or ethical culture within the business. Thus, Laufer supports the concept that for companies who hope to engage in CSR, there should be existent a rational culture that encourage ethical company. Subsequently, it seems sensible to question the ethical standpoint of BAT’s appointment in CSR. BAT’s products are conclusively of an unethical moral fibre. BAT produces the just lethal customer product which is sold lawfully to the customers. although it is not accepted by all customers, more than 70.000 piece have been available on tobacco use it is now identified fact that nicotine is physiologically addictive and grouping of tobacco nicotine addictiveness and consumption is a major hazard to the community health. Likewise, the fact that tobacco firms cannot adhere to rules of CSR, primum non nocere, detonating, first do no injury (Palazzo & Richter, 2005).

            However, one of the main influences on the active negativity of tobacco business is connected to their previous activities as an industry, with an exacting focus on the past administration of the tobacco business. Furthermore, Palazzo and Richter have established that the tobacco production for decades rejected the harmful effects of passive smoking, plus smoking, and BAT extensive efforts to decline scientific claims through political lobbying and misleading campaigns. The grounds being, they were aimed at to protecting themselves from lawsuits brought presented by affected customers simply because they accepted that such proclamation could lead to a key crisis within the tobacco business. Interestingly, the business joined effort to depower World Health Organisation and the tobacco business purposely destabilised World Health Organisation’s position, in order to stop their tobacco control labour (Palazzo & Richter, 2005). This is crucial information, and it clarified the reason why BAT, nowadays, are having troubles in getting caught up with their most key stakeholders e.g. WHO. Though, it also offers an understanding of why it is lawful to question the tobacco company’s ethical activities (Palazzo & Richter, 2005).

            Taking the challenging ethical question of the tobacco business into consideration, how is BAT subsequently trying to change that negative view around? The response may appear straightforward but it is set by BAT as they distinguish their dark ages. BAT is trying to centre on the current and future by ways of CSR that reach out to BAT stakeholders. By accomplishing so, BAT is requesting its stakeholders to evaluator them on their present act within the field of CSR as an alternative of focusing on the preceding rhetorical tactic. Additionally, BAT employs the CSR perception as a way of validating and approving the growth of new products.

            The BAT 2008 statement has been endorsed with two awards and established into a business society for its performance. The report has been approved UK Business in the Community’s 2007 Corporate Responsibility Index, by Sustainable Asset Management’s Sustainability Yearbook 2009 (SAM by Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI)) and in the these honour are particularly exceptional to BAT as the DJSI present BAT as the single tobacco firm in its index. Additionally, the SAM recognizes BAT as both a sector mover and sector leader, while, the Business in the Community puts BAT’s statement in the gold sector.

            The proposal of certifying a sustainability statement stems from the assurance of financial accounting statement which is endorsed by third parties, frequently in large accounting company. Blanco and Souto established that, “The dynamic scheme for financial accounting and its related financial audit can be repetitive for CSR situation.” (Blanco & Souto, 2009, p.156). Therefore, we must analyse these assurance audits and programs as mere suggestion and not certain standards. Still, there are several proofs as to why BAT must use these assurance programs. Moreover, “These exercise help to develop chances and manage social, environmental and economic risks. Many shareholders consider this a crucial significance for success” (Lopez et al., 2007). When BAT is credited by the DJSI, it is marking of the business and its performance that point in an accurate direction. Thus, the encouragement for BAT to publicize these assurance and acknowledgements programs is legitimised by the consequences it has towards a few stakeholders of the firm. Mainly, shareholders are concerned in such accreditations, as it guarantees them that their capital invested in BAT is put into good, as sustained by Lopez et al. that, “…stakeholders consider accredited exercise in CSR direct to excellent economic-financial act for a specific business.” (Lopez et al., 2007, p.286).

            However, there is good explanation to question the applied assurance programs. The degrees, to which these programs are utilized, rely on the beneficiary BAT, want to be evaluated. Blanco and Souto established, “The general selected alternative is limited intensity of assurance…” (Blanco & Souto, 2009, p.166) which is also the one BAT uses,If a business chooses a limited strength of assurance, it is no possible for the stakeholders to view this as a transparent and credible assurance level? The clear answer to this problem is that the international business community recognizes the Accountability Standards (AA1000AS) as an assurance standard. Entertainingly enough, BAT is a Global initiate Sponsor of AA1000AS. Therefore, it is logical to question the objectivity and validity of such a reassess, especially when the company being reviewed subsidise the assurance standards. Additional significantly, it authenticates lack of ethics in CSR. Nevertheless, the AA1000AS is implied as an assurance standard in some sustainability information in various different firms, therefore, it is still accepted as an assurance standard, but it is logical to question the validity and ethics of these standards of BAT. Blanco & Souto conclude, “For along period, financial auditing and financial accounting have accepted a long progress process to accomplish a generally acknowledged conceptual structure. Supporter of CSR must learn from this procedure.” (Blanco & Souto, 2009, p.167). Though, the idea of standards in exclusive of a clear classification poses ethical questions of lack of transparency and legitimacy. Thus, a resolution to the assurance program is in a clear explanation (Blanco & Souto, 2009).

            Therefore, identifying this it is not amazing that WHO as a key stakeholder of BAT, questions its participation with a health care centre in Bangladesh or that WHO issue its youth anti-smoking movement. Even though, it seems reasonable when explained, it is yet a truth that the tobacco business is engaged in operations that clash with its industry. Consequently, there is a sound motive to discuss and disagree for a progress of the future CSR plan which BAT must engage in.

            Corporate generosity is the efforts of giving back to people e.g. giving money to university programs as BAT give when they donated to University of Nottingham (UK) research centre for CSR. Though, this caused the main clamour in the university and the nearby public (Palazzo & Richter, 2005). Thus, we must appreciate that the aim of BAT may be fine but the stakeholders and general public are likely to object and protest to such programs as they clash with the ethical responsibility which is accepted from a university. Yach et al. suggest that, “financial support which gives constructive publicity to a tobacco business or which is probable to show the tobacco corporation in a positive light should be cast off.” (Yach et al., 2001). This as a result limits the steps taken of corporate charity for the tobacco business. The stakeholder association which is considered as key in the operation of CSR; still, using the illustration of the university funding to illustrate the difference that may a mount between BAT and stakeholder is useful. If charity done by a tobacco industry causes a public objection, the accepted reaction would be a negative match of the university as a BAT as the company and stakeholder. Thus, relationship between the University and BAT could replicate negatively on the University and influence its reputation as an ethical and political correct institution (Palazzo & Richter, 2005) supports this argument.

            In conclusion, WHO seems to disprove a direct alliance with BAT but they do not overlook the tobacco industry’s effort to help at any cost. There are facts that WHO, being an essential stakeholder, still has a concern in a dispute with BAT and its CSR performance. Therefore, recognising the tobacco business’s effort to take on with critical stakeholders, if done successfully, could lead to beneficiaries but in the long run, is cast off by WHO. Thus, the efficiency of stakeholder association is a point of evaluation for the tobacco business. The CSR subject can be criticised on the genuineness that social responsible invest in the tobacco production is facing a divestment as the to the tobacco firms efforts to emerges as socially responsible through its CSR occupation. Thus, the social and ethical responsibility, which investment companies are showing in their isolation of Tobacco Corporation in their portfolios, sustains the suggestion that, it is a bad thought for BAT to carry out CSR.


Aras, Güler and Crowther, David, 2009, Corporate Sustainability Reporting: A Study in Disingenuity?, In Journal of Business Ethics, 87 pp.279-288.

British American Tobacco, last viewed: 02-05-2010

Blanco, Silvia Ruiz and Souto, Belén Fernández-Feijóo, 2009, Sustainability reporting and assurance: current situation and future trends, In Taikomoji Ekonomika/ Sisteminiai Tyrimai, 3/2 pp.155-172.

Carroll AB. 1999 Corporate social responsibility: Evolution of a definitional construct. Business & Society. 1999;38(3):268-95.

Collin JaG, A. 2002; Corporate (Anti)Social (Ir)Responsibility: Transnational Tobacco Companies and the Attempted Subversion of Global Health Policy. Global Social Policy. 2(3).

Kallio, Tomi J., 2007, Taboos in Corporate Social Responsibility Discourse, In Journal of Business Ethics, 74 pp.165-175.

Laufer, William S., 2003, Social Accountability and Corporate Greenwashing, In Journal of Business Ethics, 43 pp.253-261.

Lopez et. al., 2007, Sustainable Development and Corporate Performance: A Study Based on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, In Journal of Business Ethics, 75 pp.285-300

Palazzo, Guido and Richter, Ulf, 2005, CSR Business as Usual? The Case of the Tobacco Industry, In Journal of Business Ethics, 61, pp.387-401.

Pomering, Alan & Dolnicar, Sara, 2009, Assessing The Prerequisites of Successful CSR Implementation: Are Consumers Aware of CSR Initiatives?, In Journal of Business Ethics, 85, pp.285-301.

Tench, Ralph & Yeomans, Liz, 2006, Exploring Public Relations, Pearson Education Limited, England

Wadham, Helen, 2009, Talking across Boundaries: Business and NGO perspectives on CSR, Sustainble Development and Partnership, In Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 34 Summer, pp.57-68.

World Health Organisation – Western Pacific Region, Seeing Beneath the Surface: The Truth About the Tobacco Industry’s Youthm Smoking Prevention Programmes,

Yach, Derek et al., 2001, Healthy Investments and Investing in Health, In Journal of Business Ethics, 33 pp.191-198.

Source document

Updated: Jul 06, 2022
Cite this page

Ethics and CSR in British American Tobacco. (2015, Sep 25). Retrieved from

Ethics and CSR in British American Tobacco essay
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment