BAT will be opening an innovation hub in Trieste, Italy. The company will invest €500 million ($582.2 million) over the next five years in the project.
Covering an area of 20,000 square meters, the hub will host a manufacturing site for BAT’s “new category” products, a digital boutique, an innovation lab and a center of excellence for digital transformation and digital marketing. It will be dedicated to research, development and production of reduced-risk product lines.
The building will be constructed to minimize its environmental impact with the objective of being carbon neutral, with a particular focus on energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources. The facility will also produce energy using a photovoltaic system that converts light into electricity using semiconducting materials.
BAT expects to develop multiple production lines at the facility for the export of reduced-risk products, including Vuse (vapor), Velo (modern oral) and Glo (tobacco-heating products).
“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,” said BAT Chief Marketing Officer Kingsley Wheaton in a statement. “Our goal is to create new products, backed by science, that provide adult smokers with enjoyable, less risky alternatives.”
“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,” said Roberta Palazzetti, president and CEO of BAT Italy and area director for southern Europe. “As a leading center for innovation, Trieste in Italy has been chosen as the home of the project, which demonstrates the capabilities of our country.”
Construction of the structure will begin in mid-November, with the first module scheduled to be completed and activated in May.