It's a zinger of a month for CSR reporting. Hot on the heels of BP, our friends at British American Tobacco have published their latest defensive shell.
My favorite part is their CEO's jargon-filled, generic answer to this question:
"For me it is clear: If we do not operate sustainably and create shared value, we will not be a successful business in the future."
"Our strategy is designed to deliver our vision of industry leadership and, as a result, build shareholder value. It is based on growth, funded by productivity and delivered by a winning organisation that acts responsibly at all times. Our balanced strategy adds value to all aspects of our business. We think this sets us apart from our competitors and ensures our long-term business sustainability. My predecessor, Paul Adams, was clear when he said that our sustainability goals are intrinsic to our strategy and are a cornerstone to building sustainable value. I agree wholeheartedly. The sustainability agenda is and will remain key to our long-term success."
To increase clarity, I suggest the following equation to replace that corporate monologue:
More cigarettes + more greenwash = Unsustainable long-term business strategy
Next up, it wouldn't be a report from the tobacco industry if we didn't have this tepid testimony to incremental innovation:
"How do we develop lower-risk products that will appeal to tobacco consumers? This is tough, and we’re still working out the science."
And for the final zinger, the concluding Q&A from the CEO interview: