750,000 die in UK corporate social responsibility scandal
|ASH news release: For Immediate Use 26th April 2007
|750,000 die in UK corporate social responsibility scandal|
|At the British American Tobacco AGM today young activists from round the world gathered to turn the tables on the tobacco giant to highlight its disgraced marketing tactics and mark the company’s contribution to the 5 million tobacco related deaths each year. In the words of one young protester,
“If they have 15% of the world market then they are responsible for 15% of the world’s tobacco deaths, three quarters of a million deaths every year.”
D-Myst and ATYC  two groups of teenagers from Liverpool sang a song they had specially composed for BAT “Ring a ring a roses, BAT supposes, nobody will notice when we all fall down” Embarrassed shareholders hurried into the meeting, unwilling to meet the eyes of the young people. 16 year old Jake from Liverpool sat outside the AGM posing as a beggar with a card saying “Smoking killed my parents”. They were joined by activists from the UK wearing “toxic waste” body suits.
Inside the meeting, Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH said to Jan du Plessis, Chairman of BAT,
“The ASH report You’ve got to be Kidding, shows that BAT is using marketing methods round the world which glamorise and romanticise smoking, which are known to be particularly attractive to young people and which you voluntarily gave up using in the UK 30 years ago. How can you do this, yet say you practice corporate social responsibility?”
“I can give you a specific example of an advertisement from Santiago in Chile which states, “When women say ‘no’ they mean ‘maybe’. When they say ‘maybe’, watch out.” How does that conform to your standards of corporate social responsibility?
Jan du Plessis responded by insisting that the company makes every possible efforts to conform to both the spirit and the letter of the law. ASH has sent a copy of the full report to BAT and is awaiting the company’s response to its allegations.
|Notes and links:
 The practice and the advertisement were both cited in, “You’ve got to be kidding: How BAT promotes its brands to young people around the world” published by ASH today. The report can be downloaded from www.ash.org.uk/html/conduct/pdfs/batreport2007.pdf
 D-Myst (Direct Movement by the Youth SmokeFree Team) is a project of Smokefree Liverpool www.d-myst.info. ATYC (Anti Tobacco Youth Campaign) is the youth project of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation www.roycastle.org
|Contact: Martin Dockrell 020 7739 5902 (w) 07949 089 636 (m) ISDN available
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