BAT (British American Tobacco) has announced the launch of an innovation hub in Trieste, Italy that will focus on research, development and production of reduced-risk products as part of its building 'A Better Tomorrow' strategy.
The hub will host a new manufacturing site for BAT's new category products, a digital boutique, innovation lab and centre of excellence for digital transformation and digital marketing.
Kingsley Wheaton, chief marketing officer of BAT, said, "The innovation hub in Trieste will play a key role in our 'A Better Tomorrow' transformation as we strive to reduce the health impact of our business.
"Our goal is to create new products, backed by science, that provide adult smokers with enjoyable, less risky alternatives."
Trieste, in north east Italy, was named the 'European City of Science 2020' and was chosen as the location for the hub based on its global recognition as a centre of excellence in research and science, BAT noted.
The construction of the hub will commence in mid-November, with the first module scheduled to be completed and operational in May 2022.
The tobacco giant plans to install multiple production lines in the 20,000 square-metre hub, for European and global export of BAT's reduced-risk products, such as Vuse (vapour), Velo (modern oral) and glo (tobacco heating products).
Roberta Palazzetti, president and CEO of BAT Italy and area director for Southern Europe, stated, "We are proud to announce the opening of our A Better Tomorrow Innovation Hub, a fundamental part of our transformation goals to reduce the health impact of our business.
"As a leading centre for innovation, Trieste in Italy has been chosen as the home of the project, which demonstrates the capabilities of our country."
BAT will invest up to €500 million over the next five years in the project.
Minimum Environmental Impact
The building will be constructed to minimise its environmental impact and achieve carbon neutrality. It will focus on energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources.
The facility will also produce energy using a photovoltaic system, which converts light into electricity using semiconducting materials.
Wheaton added, "As consumer preferences and technology evolve rapidly, we rely heavily on our growing global network of advanced manufacturing hubs, innovation super centres and world-class R&D facilities.
"[This] is another step in an exciting journey that will see us become an even more positive and differentiating force in Italy."
In July, the company reported better-than-expected revenue for the first half of its financial year, with the tobacco firm seeing increased customers for its e-cigarette products.