Investing in people

Our approach

Our sustainability journey is dependent on the skills and spirit of our people working together with the communities in which we operate. We are pleased to be an employer of choice, and our positive workplace culture and environment help us to attract and retain talented individuals. We will continue developing the skills and capabilities of our talented employees and take further steps to create a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone can feel comfortable and be themselves. We provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees as we believe our people have the right to a secure workplace. To make societies cohesive and inclusive, we invest in the communities in which we operate, and in the people who live there. Through our community investment programs, we create positive impacts and give our employees the chance to volunteer in their local communities and enhance their skills. In order to assess how effective our management approach is in our tobacco business, we have set targets for ‘Talent Development’, ‘Workplace Safety’, and ‘Community Investment’, and we will be setting a target for ‘Diversity and Inclusion’.

As the global authority on recognizing excellence in people practices, we are delighted to support your ambition to continuously improve the HR policies that affect more than 45,000 employees worldwide. Over the years, we have seen great progress with regards to best-in-class Talent practices throughout the organization. This is proven by the consistent presence of JTI in the top regional ratings, and the Company’s certification as a Global Top Employer since 2015.

David Plink,
CEO – Top Employers Institute

Applying our policies around the world

As part of our drive to expand the business geographically, we have made acquisitions in new markets. In 2017, we acquired tobacco manufacturers in Indonesia and the Philippines, and in 2018 we acquired additional tobacco companies in Russia and Bangladesh. These acquisitions considerably increased the size of our workforce. We endeavor to introduce our HR and Health and Safety policies to our new employees as soon as we can, and make sure that these are endorsed across the Group.

Please refer to the GRI index at the back of FY2018 Interactive Sustainability Report for detailed information about our workforce composition.

Our commitment

We will be the employer of choice by investing in people.

Our targets


We will be a certified employer of choice every year in at least 60 locations by focusing on talent management, rewards, and empowerment.


We will be setting a target.


In line with our vision of zero workplace injuries, we will reduce injury rates by 25% by 2023 and 50% by 2030. (Baseline year: 2015).


Between 2015 and 2030 we will invest 600 million U.S. dollars to help make communities inclusive and resilient, with our employees contributing 300,000 volunteering hours.

*This is a Group-wide target.

Talent development

A fast-changing world continues to bring new challenges to our Talent Management team. The skills our company will need in the future could be very different to those we have within our business today. Employees are fundamental to generating returns and securing the long-term success of our business. We aim to ensure that we attract the best candidates to work for our business, retain our top talent, and offer current and future employees professional and personal development opportunities in the best possible working environment. With this in mind, in 2018 we rolled out a new global learning platform featuring various face-to-face and digital courses, including leadership and language learning. These courses are available to 20,000 employees who can choose programs according to their interests. We explain our initiatives as a Group in "Our people".

Case study

Spreading the word

The tobacco industry is undergoing a major transformation, and we want to make people aware of the new opportunities that our company offers. In recognition of our need for a stronger employer brand, we launched the ‘Join the Idea’ HR campaign in 2018 with the aim of making our company more visible and attracting the right internal and external talent. Our ‘Join the Idea’ campaign was hugely successful, and after its launch, the JTI Facebook page gained five times more followers than before. Thanks to this campaign, we have significantly raised the profile of our brand, which is already rated as a first-class employer in 53 markets. Our intention is that by focusing on talent management, rewards, and empowerment, we will be recognized as a certified employer of choice every year, in at least 60 locations.

Diversity and inclusion

We strongly believe that diversity in the workplace leads to competitive advantage. Greater diversity of thought and experience leads to enhanced innovation and creativity. In addition, we are convinced that our people prosper in a workplace where differences are valued. In some respects, we are already highly diverse – our workforce includes over 100 nationalities in more than 120 countries. However, in order to further strengthen our organization, we wish to increase diversity in other areas and within senior management across our Group.

At this stage, we are still developing targets for global diversity and inclusion programs. In our international tobacco business we have engaged external advisors and spoken to employees across the business to assess the strengths and weaknesses within our organization.
The 17 members of the Executive Committee of our international tobacco business are fully committed to making the organization more diverse and inclusive, and they each have a personal mentor to help improve their understanding and engagement. We have also created a diversity and inclusion framework to drive change and appointed a thought leader in Diversity and Inclusion to lead our efforts in this area.
Read more about our HR philosophy and initiatives across the Group in "Our people".

The fair treatment of all employees is a key element of our focus on diversity and inclusion. I am delighted to announce that we obtained Gender Pay Equity certification in our Geneva office, led by the EQUAL SALARY Foundation. We still have more to do in our focus areas, but we are determined to harness the richness of our talent, ideas, backgrounds, perspectives and skills, to create business value.

Howard Parks,
Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Chief Compliance Officer, JT International

Workplace safety

We strive to achieve zero injuries and make safety a priority so that all of our employees return home unharmed by their work activities. In our tobacco business, the highest safety risk relates to driving vehicles and riding motorcycles.
We proactively identify the risk profile of our fleets in the countries in which we operate. This allows us to target and tailor our training programs to local conditions and to ensure our drivers and motorcycle riders adopt best practices.

Case study

Reducing incidents by 50% through our Motorcycle Safety program

Driving is a critically important area of safety for us, as it can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities. In countries where safety standards and awareness are lower, and ingrained driver behavior is less risk-averse, the danger from driving is higher. To address this issue, in 2016 we launched a motorcycle risk management program in countries where employees drive motorcycles daily, such as Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. We are now planning to implement this program in our newly acquired operations in markets such as Indonesia and Ethiopia.
The motorcycle program is designed to reduce risks by teaching the technique of ‘defensive driving’ to reduce accidents, and focusing on the proper maintenance and inspection of vehicles. It emphasizes the need to wear proper protective equipment, such as helmets, gloves, and high-visibility jackets. Moreover, thanks to the Train-the-Trainer sessions, we now have 38 specialized motorcycle trainers who can provide training in their countries.
The program has had a significant impact on safety performance. In 2018, the number of motorcycle-related injuries in the countries where we implemented the programs was reduced by 50% compared to 2016 and 2017.

Making a positive contribution to societies

As a responsible business, we wish to create a positive social impact in our local communities. Our local programs are designed to make our communities more inclusive and resilient, while also providing volunteering opportunities for our employees to engage with local communities and develop a variety of soft skills. We will continue to make efforts to meet our target to help make communities more inclusive and resilient. We explain our initiatives as a Group in "Community investment".

Case study

Bringing water and hope to rural Egypt

In Egypt, more than 35% of the population lives below the poverty line, and in rural areas, many people do not have regular access to clean water. This situation contributes to a cycle of poverty, as ill- health and the need to access water diverts residents’ time and resources away from work and business. Recognizing that water poverty is part of a wider problem, we partnered with Resala, one of the country’s largest NGOs. With the help and supervision of Egyptian municipalities and the Egyptian Water Company, we built the infrastructure required to deliver piped clean water to eight villages. Local employees participated in the project as volunteers, and approximately 300 houses have now received clean piped water, benefitting around 1,800 people.
Our staff were involved in the project selection, decision- making, and overseeing the legal aspects of the work. Volunteering created a sense of belonging in what is a relatively new market for the Company. For the inhabitants of the villages, the project brought not only clean water but also hope. Until we reached out to them with water, most people there felt neglected by society.
The success of the project is not only seen in the clean water flowing through the new pipes, but also in the improved health and productivity in the communities we reached.