Philip Morris International
Published 4 years ago.
About a 6 minute read.
Image: A PMI employee taking part in a clean-up/awareness-raising initiative | Philip Morris International
/ This article is sponsored by
Philip Morris International.
With goals to achieve carbon-neutral factories by 2030, to reduce CO2 emissions in its supply chain, combat deforestation and step up its efforts to tackle littering, PMI is working to reduce its environmental impacts, end to end.
For Philip Morris
to speak credibly about sustainability, it had to start by addressing the
negative health impacts of its products, whilst playing its part in addressing
the global climate crisis. In 2016, the company set a new
by committing to replace cigarettes with smoke-free products as quickly as
Though PMI has been working for many years to make its business more
sustainable, the fundamental transformation of its business model has brought
with it new opportunities to address sustainability challenges across its value
chain and to add value to society. By laying the foundations for a smoke-free
future, PMI has been able to take a more comprehensive approach to
sustainability — both within its factory limits and beyond them.
The reduction of PMI’s environmental footprint is a core pillar of its
sustainability strategy, outlined in its 2018 Sustainability
developing and commercializing better alternatives to cigarettes while managing
its environmental and social impacts across its operations and value chain, PMI
has steadily been working to turn its vision, step by step, into reality.
Across PMI’s value chain, which spans the supply of tobacco and other materials,
and the production, packaging and end-of-life of its products, PMI achieved a 34
percent reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, against its target to
reduce its absolute CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2030 — earning it a place,
for the fifth consecutive year, on CDP’s Climate A
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Earlier this year, PMI also became the first company to be accepted
into Sustainable Brands’ new SB
which enables companies that have a publicly stated commitment to transform
the better to actively engage with SB Corporate Members in regular meetings and
Demonstrating its progress toward ensuring all of its factories are carbon
neutral by 2030, PMI’s factory in Klaipėda, Lithuania, has become the first
to be certified to be carbon neutral by the Swiss nonprofit environmental
At its Klaipeda factory, PMI has implemented multiple projects over the past 10
years to optimize its energy usage and reduce carbon emissions. This includes
upgrading utilities equipment, such as chillers and compressors; and
facilitating heat recovery to optimize fuel usage for heating purposes,
installing a biomass boiler, procuring certified renewable electricity and
offsetting natural gas carbon emissions with biogas certificates. To offset the
remaining carbon emissions, PMI invested in Gold Standard
from climate-protection initiatives that provide more than 9,000 families in
India with domestic biogas for cooking, in replacement of kerosene and firewood,
to reduce greenhouse gases and deforestation.
PMI plans to take similar measures to achieve carbon neutrality at all of its
factories, focusing on energy efficiency, eliminating losses and switching to
renewable energy. Acknowledging that the growth of PMI’s smoke-free
will make it increasingly challenging to reduce its global energy usage, it is
also globally accelerating its switch from high-carbon or unsustainable fuels
such as coal to sustainable wood sources and biomass products. It is also
working with suppliers and farmers to reduce emissions and implement initiatives
that focus on planting trees, setting up sustainably managed commercial wood
lots and improving fuel efficiency at the barns used to flue-cure tobacco.
As part of PMI’s commitment to reduce its environmental footprint, the tobacco
company is focused on several key areas across its value chain — including the
sustainable management of waste and litter.
Cigarette butts remain among the most frequently littered items, and many people
will continue smoking cigarettes in the near future. PMI’s view on this subject
is clear: Smokers should not litter and should dispose of their cigarette butts
The company is therefore taking a more systematic approach to the issue of
littering, including analyzing the causes of littering and the drivers of
behavior change. PMI has also been researching cigarette filters with higher
degradability, and encouraging consumers to dispose of their cigarette butts
through information campaigns and the distribution of portable ashtrays. In
September, PMI employees across over 30 countries took part in clean-up
activities in the streets and parks of their local communities to kick-start the
global campaign and raise awareness about the issue.
Used heated tobacco units are significantly less likely to be littered than
cigarette butts. They do not involve combustion, are not contaminated by smoke,
do not need to be stubbed-out after use and have much less odor than combustible
cigarette butts. As a result, consumers more readily keep used sticks for later
disposal in the absence of appropriate infrastructure. They are also a better
candidate for recycling and integration into a circular economy. PMI is
exploring how such recycling schemes could be implemented effectively, while
designing products and using materials with higher recyclability.
As part of its large-scale business transformation, PMI is driving action to
ensure that water is managed sustainably and that the amount of water used per
unit of cigarette or heated tobacco product is minimized. Its water strategy
accounts for the risks it faces from water stress and pollution, their impacts —
both in catchments relevant to operations and in supply chains — and drives
action toward responsible use of water as a shared resource, taking into
consideration the needs of local communities.
While water consumption in its manufacturing facilities only represents around 6
percent of the total water consumed across PMI’s value chain, the manufacture of
heated tobacco units requires four to five times more water per unit than that
of conventional cigarettes. As it increases its production capacity for
smoke-free products, PMI is evolving its water strategy, with clean technology
investments delivering water recycling.
PMI joined the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) in 2017. In 2018,
its Brazilian factory became the first manufacturing site in Latin America
certified to the AWS standard. Five other PMI factories were certified in 2019
and the company is making good progress toward its goal of certifying all
factories by 2025.
In 2018, PMI assessed global water risks in its tobacco supply chain and shared
learnings and improvement measures with suppliers and farmers. Collective action
to date has included watershed management and the development of
drought-tolerant and flood-tolerant seed varieties; as well as access to water,
sanitation and hygiene services for the farmers and their workers.
These actions, and many others, illustrate that PMI’s transformation is not just
about changing its products; it is about completely adapting the value chain.
PMI’s mission to unsmoke the world is core to its sustainability strategy.
Powering its transformation is the knowledge that the company cannot succeed in
the long term without making its business more sustainable, and sustainability
cannot be achieved without its transformation.
To learn more about PMI’s initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint across its
operations and supply chain from its sustainability experts and key partners,
register for the upcoming Sustainable Brands webinar, “Responding to the
Climate Crisis: How PMI Is Reducing Its Carbon
on Monday, December 16.
Published Dec 9, 2019 10am EST / 7am PST / 3pm GMT / 4pm CET
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.