|Member employees of Big Love, a volunteer service organization run by BAT Korea officials, serve food for the elderly in a district-run senior welfare community in January. (BAT Korea)|
Companies’ social contributions are important in helping society stay healthy.
Among different corporate management philosophies that abound in Korean society, British American Tobacco Korea has held on steadfastly to social responsibility.
The company has over 1,000 employees and operates a manufacturing facility in Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province.
“Some people believe tobacco and social responsibility do not mix,” a BAT Korea spokesperson said.
“Tobacco can involve risks, but those risks are the core reasons why we put so much emphasis on responsible management throughout all operations.”
The multinational tobacco maker has put strong emphasis on social contributions by fostering social and cultural enterprises and reaching out to society through volunteer activities, as well as abiding by self-governed regulations.
In addition to state regulations, the company has also set its rules for responsible marketing, company officials said. These include not misleading customers about the risks of smoking, or promoting or marketing its products to minors.
Such a sense of responsibility in management derives from following the footsteps of British American Tobacco Group, which has come up with the International Marketing Principles to advocate responsible marketing operations, according to BAT Korea. BAT Korea has also supported multiple youth smoking prevention campaigns nationwide.
BAT Korea is not just known for its line of cigarettes ― Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Vogue ― but for going the extra mile to find the most urgent, responsible means of social contribution, especially for the elderly.
“Since minors are strictly excluded from the company’s operation targets, BAT Korea has a history of social volunteer services for the elderly,” a BAT Korea official said.
In 2000, BAT Korea employees organized “Big Love,” a volunteer social community organization, and have actively participated in community service programs ever since.
Big Love’s regular social sharing activities include delivering coal briquettes to elderly, low-income people who live alone and cannot afford sufficient heating during winter.
The volunteer group also makes them kimchi for winter, and cooks them Lunar New Year holiday meals.
“The seniors simply love to talk with our international staff in Korean,” a BAT Korea spokesperson said. “They find it very different and interesting.”
BAT Korea’s practicality-based social contributions have won various certificates and awards from state and local governments.
For its efforts for “true giving,” BAT Korea was conferred a social contribution award from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and its volunteer service organization Big Love was awarded a number of accolades from the governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province as well as mayors of Gwangju, Incheon, Gunpo, Suwon, and other local governors.
“Based on our corporate social strategy, BAT Korea supports practical programs to contribute to society and carry out differentiated ways of adding value to the community,” said an executive official at the corporate and regulatory affairs division.
By Chung Joo-won