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BAT and African smuggling

Premium Times.

This is a Nigerian investigative journalism piece that provides evidence of alleged British American Tobacco involvement in smuggling of tobacco in various African countries.

This is not the first time a tobacco company has been so accused.  The current UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) famously accused an  Imperial Tobacco executive of being a liar or a crook.  Both Gallaher, now part of Japan Tobacco International, and Imperial were found to be exporting massive quantities of UK brands to countries with no significant market for those brands, and which were subsequently shipped back to the UK on the black market.

Many pension funds seem to be taken in by the corporate social responsibility claims of these companies, and even go so far as to support constructive engagement with them on the basis that it is how responsible investors should behave.  Yet the UN Framework Convention on Tobacco Control makes it clear, in guidelines, that no government body, which includes public pension funds, should engage in such activities.  It does so on the basis that corporate social responsibility and tobacco manufacturing are mutually exclusive concepts.  You cannot kill half your customers in a responsible manner!



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