PMI IMPACT is enabling the fight against illicit trade

12 Aug 2021 · 3 min read
Through its third round of funding, the global initiative PMI IMPACT continues to support projects that combat illegal trade in its many forms.

Since 2016, PMI IMPACT has been fostering an ecosystem of public, private, and non-governmental organizations to counter illicit trade through its global grant program.

The multiple aspects of illegal trade—from tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical products to wildlife trafficking—don’t just cost the global economy billions of dollars a year. They also fund transnational organized crime, which is a significant and growing threat to national and international security.

“Fighting illicit trade is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive solution,” says Alvise Giustiniani, Philip Morris International’s Vice President of Illicit Trade Prevention. “There is no silver bullet. Public-private partnership is clearly one of the best avenues to combat this problem, simply because organized crime operates as a network. And, so, we need a network to fight this criminal system.”

PMI IMPACT: We need a network to fight a network


Two men driving through fields

VIDEO: We need a network to fight a network

In June 2021, PMI announced the third funding round of PMI IMPACT, calling for projects that aim to reduce or prevent illegal trade and counter its negative consequences for individuals, their families, and communities. Public, private, or non-profit organizations, including governmental organizations, international organizations, associations, academic institutions, and private companies, are encouraged to submit their project proposals.

PMI IMPACT’s previous funding rounds

Throughout the first and second funding rounds, PMI IMPACT has supported projects covering a range of activities making a lasting impact on illegal trade. The initiative funded research programs to enhance knowledge on illegal trade, educational initiatives to improve public awareness of the issue, and supported the development of technological solutions to facilitate efforts to confront illicit trade. PMI had pledged USD 100 million to fund the first three rounds of grants; to date, PMI IMPACT has allocated a combined USD 48 million for the implementation of 60 projects in 30 countries as part of the initiative.

PMI IMPACT: Fighting illegal trade in all forms


Nicotine tobacco leaf

VIDEO: Fighting illegal trade in all forms


Philip Morris International (PMI) launched the PMI IMPACT initiative to address multiple aspects of illegal trade.

PMI IMPACT’s mission statement acknowledges the importance of fostering an inclusive approach for public and private sectors and civil society to build innovative programs against illegal trade in its many forms.

Although PMI has committed USD 100 million to support public, private, and nongovernmental organizations in developing solutions to fight against illegal trade, it remains a persistent and complex global problem. Its various forms are infinitely interlinked, with criminals exploiting large-scale smuggling routes and corrupt networks.

Often operated by organized crime groups, illegal trade deprives governments and taxpayers of much-needed revenues, takes business away from legitimate operators, deceives consumers with products of uncertain quality, and undermines society’s welfare and security.

To tackle the illicit tobacco trade, PMI is calling for cross-sector, public-private collaboration worldwide in order to help identify and shut down counterfeiting and smuggling operations.

In its efforts to combat illicit trade, PMI also continues to invest significantly in supply chain controls through preventive and protective measures. It is also implementing state-of-the-art track-and-trace technology, and strict due-diligence protocols for all customers and suppliers.

The availability of cheap, fake, and unregulated cigarettes on the black market undermines efforts to reduce smoking prevalence and prevent youth from smoking. To succeed in PMI’s mission to deliver a smoke-free future, it is imperative that illicit trade is eradicated wherever it exists.