British American Tobacco Kenya plc (BAT Kenya) is part of the British American Tobacco Group (BAT Group), a leading multi-category consumer goods business. Our purpose is to build A Better Tomorrow by reducing the health impact of our business through offering a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products for our consumers.
BAT has a long history and rich heritage in Kenya. We’ve been around since 1907 and been listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange since 1969. Over the years, we have evolved into one of the world’s leading consumer goods companies and we are proud of our history and excited about the opportunity to write an exciting new chapter in our success story.
Our heritage – and the foundation of our success – is in cigarettes. We believe our company has more than stood the test of time because we’ve always excelled at anticipating and meeting the preferences of our traditional consumers, adult smokers. Today, consumers’ desires and tastes are evolving, new technologies are emerging, while societal attitudes are changing. These changes are providing us with new opportunities we could not previously have imagined.
While cigarettes will be at the core of our business for some time to come, we aim to generate an increasingly greater proportion of our revenues from products other than cigarettes and thereby reduce the health impact of our business.
By building on our strong foundations, our purpose is to create A Better Tomorrow for all our stakeholders. Our Business involves activities ranging from the growing of tobacco leaf to the distribution and sale of finished tobacco products and nicotine products without tobacco. All our operations are underpinned by responsible and sustainable practices.
It is widely acknowledged that most of the harm associated with conventional cigarettes is caused by the toxicants in the smoke produced by the burning of tobacco. Despite the inherent health risks, many people continue to choose to smoke. The idea behind tobacco harm reduction is to encourage smokers who wouldn’t otherwise quit, to migrate to products that deliver nicotine without those toxic chemicals. The challenge for BAT has been to develop products that not only achieve this, but also deliver a compelling consumer experience that provides a satisfying alternative for smokers wanting to switch.
Over the last few years, a confluence of technology, societal change and public health awareness has given BAT the opportunity to meet this challenge; through offering our consumers a range of ‘potentially reduced risk products’ – next generation nicotine products that either do not contain tobacco or do not involve combustion. We refer to these products as our “New Categories”.
Our portfolio of non-combustible, potentially reduced-risk products within our Strategic product Portfolio currently comprises Modern Oral Nicotine pouches without tobacco. Through offering greater choice, more innovation and potentially less risk for our consumers, our objective is threefold:
We partner with over 4,300 contracted tobacco farmers in Kenya, mainly concentrated in the counties of Migori, Bungoma and Meru. Our contracted farmers are valuable partners and we are committed to enhancing their livelihoods as well as driving sustainable agricultural practices in tobacco farming. To achieve this, we implement various programmes which include providing expert technicians and agronomists who work with our contracted farmers. We also provide farmers with certified maize seeds to promote food security through crop diversification and maintaining the integrity of farm soils through crop rotation. Further, we increasing facilitate arrangements with strategic partners for facilities such as interest-free farmer loans and crop insurance. We also support our farmers’ Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) programs which provide avenues for additional income generation.
BAT Kenya serves as a manufacturing hub for Kenya’s domestic market and BAT markets in East Africa, as well as export markets across Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, through a cigarette manufacturing plant in Nairobi and a green leaf threshing (GLT) plant in Thika.
Our marketing activities are governed by our International Marketing Principles (IMP), often going beyond local legal requirements. A fundamental requirement of the IMP is that our marketing is aimed only at adult smokers and is not designed to engage or appeal to children. We fully support laws and regulations prohibiting the sale of our products to anyone under the legal minimum age of 18 in Kenya.
Consumer awareness of our new tobacco-free oral nicotine products and its availability in general trade outlets where cigarettes are sold, is essential to provide Kenyan adult smokers with the information and opportunity necessary to make an informed choice to switch away from cigarettes. At the same time, we are clear that our new tobacco-free oral nicotine pouches are intended for adult smokers and nicotine users only. Those under the age of 18 years should not use nicotine in any shape or form and as a responsible manufacturer, we recognise that youth access prevention is perhaps the single most important driver for sustaining the regulatory and commercial viability of the product.
Through our commitment and adherence to our International Marketing Principles, we strive to ensure that any communication to consumers is appropriate and responsible, and never targeted towards the youth. As such, we are committed to implementing an industry-leading youth access prevention programme and currently working with third-parties including trade partners to conduct relevant access prevention activities, including affixing health warnings on our product packs and on relevant trade signage.
We believe our comprehensive approach allows us to be consistent and robust on youth access prevention, demonstrating high standards of corporate behaviour in Kenya and our export markets
BAT Kenya directly employs over 400 people and indirectly engages more than 80,000 in its supply chain across the country. The quality of our people has always played a major role in our success, and our biggest asset is our highly motivated people who we are empowering through a new Ethos that is responsive to constant change, embodies a learning culture and is dedicated to continuous improvement.
But we cannot succeed on our own, and our partnerships with farmers, suppliers and traders are also key for ensuring sustainable future growth.
We are committed to delivering a better tomorrow for our consumes, shareholders, employees and society. Through a clear corporate purpose, our market-leading brands, talented people and sustainable partnerships, we will continue efforts to deliver value to our shareholders today while also investing in a sustainable and successful future for our business.