BAT's share price has roughly halved in the past four years, from £55 to £27. The ability to tempt some of those ESG funds back into owning BAT shares might to do something to restore that flagging price.
It said more than a third of its UK revenues now come from vaping brands such as Vuse, Velo and glo.
It is hardly surprising that BAT wants to drape itself in the ESG flag. A recent piece of research by the accountancy firm PWC noted the rapid influx of shareholder money into ESG funds, ones that will only invest in companies with the right ethical credentials. It thinks that their combined value will be greater than all other types of funds within three years.
It said overall revenue from its combustibles division – cigarettes and heated tobacco products – fell 3% to £10.5bn.
'The balance has decisively shifted'
Cigarette volumes – BAT sold 316 billion cigarettes in the six-month period – actually grew slightly thanks to a recovery in demand in emerging markets.
Progress is being made. BAT's results for the six months to the end of June show that sales of "new category" products grew by half to £942m. That is still a fraction of its total £12bn in revenue.
"I think [CBD vaping] is part of the future, but the present challenge is reduced harm in tobacco and nicotine alternatives, encouraging people to switch."
Tobacco sales recover
Big tobacco companies have tried to ride two horses in their communications to investors over the past decade. They have drawn attention to their efforts to get away from nasty cigarettes, while at the same time pointing to the big dividend payments the sales of those cigarettes support.
Despite its commitment to healthier choices, BAT said sales of its cigarettes recovered in some developing nations following the end of coronavirus lockdowns when sales were banned in some countries.
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