British American Tobacco hasset their goals to be the leading company in the industry, knowing that, theyhave to be able to select and apply the best business strategies.
But being oneof the leading tobacco firms in the UK, British American Tobacco is known topurchase tobacco from Indonesia, where they can not guarantee that the tobaccois not made from child labor. Although that every tobacco firms in the worldhave the responsibility to monitor and investigate on how their tobacco isharvested in their farms, they still can not control on the actual processapplied in the farming. According to independent.co.uk, Human Rights Watch have conducted research in2014 and 2015 ini tobacco farming in Indonesia where they interviewed more than100 children under 18 who work there. These children are risking their healthand wellness working harvesting tobacco by hand, said the Human Rights Watch.Many of these children have in fact suffered from nausea and vomitting due tobeing around tobacco so much.
Children are known to work through long hours inthese farms, without even wearing any protective garments while handling thesetobacco. These surely sound terrible, especially when it is the company’sresponsibilities to make sure that no child under the age of 18 work in directwith tobacco. British American Tobacco is one of the multinational companiesthat have committed to the International Labour Organisations (ILO) rightconventions. These companies in the conventions have agreed that the minimumage for children to work is 15 years old, whereas the minimum age for thehazardous work is 18 years old.
Yet they still can not guarantee, because theyclaim to cannot be “everywhere at once”. British American Tobacco mentionedthat their subsidiary, Bentoel, takes the child labour issue very seriously.”We do not employ children in any of our operations worldwide and make it clearto all of our contracted farmers and suppliers that exploitative child labourwill not be tolerated. In Indonesia, however, children often participate inagriculture to help their families, and to learn farming methods and skillsfrom their elders,” BAT said.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) alsoknows that working while the children are in school can be a normal part ofgrowing up in poor communities, because of the rural environment they are in.British American Tobacco is said to be working with the Eliminating ChildLabour in Tobacco growing foundation (ECLT) to tackle extreme child labour inthese areas in Indonesia. Not only in Indonesia, British American Tobacco hasalso vowed back in 2016 to investigate some of its farms located in Bangladeshafter Swedwatch, a Swedish campaign group uncovered the truth that the farmsuse could workers to grow and process tobacco, carrying loads, cutting thestems, and cure the tobacco. These children are reportedly being pulled out ofschool to work in the farm for as long as 16 hours a day. These workingactivities surely grows out the risk of health for these children, because theyare very much exposed to tobacco plants, the dust, and the smoke.
Group Head ofCorporate Affairs at British American Tobacco, Simon Cleverly has told that thecompany has in fact investigated the report’s findings but found no evidence ofchildren rights and human rights violations. He also claimed the BritishAmerican Tobacco were consistent with the findings of these studies held bythemselves to look into tobacco growing and farming process and found that thecompany has a positive impact on the socio-economic area in Bangladesh. Upuntil now, British American Tobacco is still very much sure that they have notdone anything wrong in the process of harvesting their tobacco in thesecountries, and that they believe that they have mutual benefits with thecountries they have been working with for years.