British American Tobacco has terminated cooperation with Grodno Tobacco Factory “Neman”
A statement has been posted on the company’s website. The reasons for this include, inter alia, allegations of human rights abuses as well as BAT’s complicity in the illicit trade in cigarettes in Belarus.
“We take any allegations relating to human rights extremely seriously, openly engaging with the relevant stakeholders and responding to the issues raised”, the company said in a statement.
“In 2021, we received enquiries relating to BAT’s business in Belarus in light of recent political developments. Concerns were raised relating to Grodno Tobacco Factory Neman (“GTF Neman”), which manufactures cigarettes under contract on behalf of BAT Belarus.
These included allegations around human rights abuses of factory workers who have taken part in political protests and allegations that BAT is complicit in the illicit trade in cigarettes in Belarus.
Due to the recently announced sanctions and existing legal restrictions in Belarus, we have had to suspend a planned on-site independent audit at the GTF Neman.
Following the recent imposition of international sanctions against several Belarusian persons and entities, including GTF Neman, as well as restrictions targeting tobacco manufacturing materials, steps have been taken to ensure all activities remain compliant.
This has included the suspension by our subsidiaries of relevant transactions impacted by these sanctions. BAT has suspended its operations with GTF Neman and currently does not order manufacturing of its product from this factory.
We continue to closely monitor the situation in Belarus and will update our response and actions as it evolves, in accordance with our Group policies and international standards”.