BAT inches closer to gender parity in its workforce

BAT chairperson Rita Kavashe (left) and Managing Director Crispin Achola during the launch of its 2022 Sustainability Report launch in Nairobi on Friday, 27, 2023. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya is inching closer to achieving a 50:50 gender balance in its workforce.

According to the cigarette manufacturer's 2022 Sustainability Report, its current female workforce stands at 44 per cent against 56 per cent for men.

“Most senior-level employees are actually female, who are paid more than male employees,” said BAT Kenya Managing Director Crispin Achola at the report's launch in Nairobi on Friday.

In September 2020, BAT appointed Isuzu East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe as its chairperson. Isuzu East Africa is the largest vehicle assembler in the region.

Ms Kavashe became the first-ever woman to hold the position in BAT’s history.

In 2022, the BAT East and Southern Africa unit was crowned the best on the continent in the Accenture Gender Mainstreaming Awards.

Ms Kavashe’s appointment saw BAT Kenya achieve 40 per cent female representation on the board.

Mr Achola said the push for gender parity within the firm is part of its sustainability drive, which also includes reducing the health impact of its business. 

“At BAT Kenya, we are accelerating the transformation of our business, with sustainability embedded in our strategy. Our sustainability agenda is backed by clear and measurable targets upon which we have made sustained progress,” said Mr Achola.

Ms Kavashe said the business has taken deliberate steps to reduce its carbon footprint. “We reduced our scope one and two carbon emissions by 33 per cent, invested about Sh145 million in solar energy and issued 15 tonnes of certified maize seeds to our contracted farmers to drive crop diversification and food security," she said.

"Furthermore, representation of women in the organisation was at 44 per cent, and we achieved 100 per cent attestation to the BAT Group Standards of Business Conduct by our people.”

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