Clearing a way forward: PMI employees help clean up their communities

29 Sep 2019 · 5 min read
For World Cleanup Day, groups of PMI employees worked to improve their environment, removing litter – and especially cigarette butt litter
Nothing shines a light on community spirit like a joint effort to tackle an issue that effects everyone. And littering is an issue that effects not just the people living in a community, but also the environment at large. That is why Philip Morris International (PMI) employees took to the streets and parks of their local communities with a purpose: to tackle littering. PMI is committed to reduce cigarette butt littering worldwide and our country affiliates are kick-starting the global campaign by raising awareness about the issue.

Building a smoke-free future is a key focus for PMI. But there are other important societal and environmental issues where the company can also play its part. PMI is taking a more systematic approach to the issue of cigarette butt littering, which involves analyzing and taking action on the causes of littering, looking at the drivers of behavior change, promoting equipment for proper disposal, and raising awareness. Stretching across 30 nations – from Australia to the Ukraine – groups of employees un-littered their environment by organizing cleanups to remove all types of litter, including bags, bottles, and cigarette butts.

“Our goal is to contribute to impactful solutions to the problem of cigarette butt littering,” said Huub Savelkouls, PMI’s Chief Sustainability Officer. * “Awareness-raising initiatives such as the World Cleanup Day play an important role in uniting individuals around the world to promote litter-free communities.”

On this occasion, more than 82 tons of litter was picked up across 46 cities, which equates to 2.5 million m2. And in places such as the Philippines, the day proved truly successful, with 1,000 employees engaging with their communities to collect 45 tons of litter.†

While not a permanent solution, these cleanups help to raise awareness of the issue of littering – and cigarette-butt littering particularly – in local communities. It will take a joint effort from many stakeholders to properly address the global issue, but these local activities show what is possible when everyone comes together.

Coming together to take action against littering

Over 3,000 employees, volunteers, local community members, and government officials collected 782,360 cigarette butts.†

Czech Republic

















Costa Rica





South Africa

La Reunion

* Jennifer Motles succeeded Huub Savelkouls as Chief Sustainability Officer on November 1, 2020, following Mr. Savelkouls’ retirement from PMI.

** Baltics (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia)

*** Nordics (Finland, Norway, Denmark)

† These figures are not final

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