In addition to managing our operations in strict compliance with laws and regulations wherever we do business, we have developed global programs to reduce our water consumption and waste production while increasing our rates of reuse and recycling.
We are working toward the certification of all of our main manufacturing facilities to ISO14001, the international standard for environmental management. This certification requires taking a planned and prioritized approach to reducing our environmental impact in all areas, and integrating good environmental management as a fundamental part of how we do business. By 2015 we have increased the number of certified facilities to over 90%.
Our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint extend beyond water, waste, reuse and recycling and include reducing our energy use and CO2 emissions. You can read more about those efforts here.
Our business depends on agriculture for our key raw materials, making water a fundamental natural resource used in our external supply chain as well as in our own operations. We are committed to the responsible and sustainable management of our water use to help conserve this resource globally.
In 2010, we set the goal of reducing water consumption in our manufacturing facilities by 20% by 2015*. To help us do this we follow the 3R Concept – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – in our manufacturing operations around the world.
We have implemented the 3R’s by:
- Installing water control valves
- Reducing equipment washing time
- Centralizing washing processes
- Reusing manufacturing process water
- Engaging employees on water use efficiency
- Revising cleaning, maintenance and irrigation procedures
- Repairing water distribution systems
- Metering and building management systems
- Upgrading utilities
Through water metering we are also better understanding and addressing key water consumption drivers. Using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s water tool to assess which of our manufacturing facilities are based in water-stressed areas, we are also developing local water strategies to account for drought and flood management.
Our manufacturing centers around the world are the key to achieving our ultimate goal and we are working to support them in reaching their own local targets. And, working this way we have reduced our water consumption* in our manufacturing centers by more than 24% in 2015, beating our target.
In addition to these ongoing manufacturing activities, we have contributed more than USD 4 million to more than ten water-related environmental and social sustainability projects through our community engagement work around the world.
We also respond annually to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water Disclosure Program. CDP is an international, not-for-profit organization providing a key independent global system for companies to measure, disclose, manage and share vital environmental information.
We have established targets to reduce waste from our manufacturing facilities and to increase our recycling rate from 80% in 2010 to 85% in 2015. We have made positive changes by reducing waste, minimizing the amount of waste sent to landfills or for incineration without energy recovery, and increasing our recycling rate to 87%, beating our target. For example, in our Turkish operation, a series of measures have reduced waste per cigarette manufactured by 25% and increased the recycling rate to 97%.
Away from our own facilities, we also encourage recycling across our value chain where one element of our Good Agricultural Practices program includes working with tobacco farmers to improve recycling of plastics.
* per million units of product equivalent