LAUSANNE, Switzerland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 14, 2014--
Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE/Euronext Paris: PM)
welcomes today’s release of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, ‘Tobacco’s
Hidden Children,’ which sheds light on child labor and other labor
abuses on tobacco farms in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and
“This report uncovers serious child labor abuses that should not
occur on any farm, anywhere. Human Rights Watch acknowledges the work
PMI has done to address these issues through our Agricultural Labor
Practices (ALP) global
program to reach nearly half a million smallholder farmers.
However more work remains to be done to eliminate child and other labor
abuses in tobacco growing,” said Chief Executive Officer André
Calantzopoulos. “We are grateful to Human Rights Watch for bringing
these issues to light, recognizing the steps we have made to
constructively engaging with others to find real and lasting solutions.”
PMI has engaged in an ongoing dialogue with HRW about the company’s
efforts to address labor abuses in its supply chain and today’s report
includes the following description of PMI’s efforts in this area:
“Of the companies approached by Human Rights Watch, Philip Morris
International (PMI) has developed the most detailed and protective set
of policies and procedures, including training and policy guidance on
child labor and other labor issues which it is implementing in its
global supply chain. PMI has also developed specific lists of hazardous
tasks that children under 18 are prohibited from doing on tobacco farms,
which include most tasks in which children come into prolonged contact
with mature tobacco leaves, among other hazardous work.”
In addition, HRW notes that, “PMI provided extensive detail
about implementation of other aspects of the ALP in the US and globally.
PMI also shared with Human Rights Watch details about its monitoring of
growers’ adherence to the ALP in the US and globally, including plans to
systematically monitor 100 percent of its farms in the US by 2015.”
In addition to identifying a number of labor abuses found in the United
States, HRW’s report also includes recommendations to the U.S.
government and others on how to address these abuses. This includes
recommendations to the industry which are broadly in line with PMI’s
program and practices, developed with the guidance and support of
internationally-renowned and leading NGO in the field of social
Verité’s CEO, Dan Viederman said, “Human Rights Watch’s detailed
report confirms that child labor and other labor abuses persist – and
indeed are common -- in the production of agricultural goods in the
United States. These risks are born most directly by farmworkers and
their families, including children whose labor is in no one’s interest.
HRW’s comparison of the efforts by the range of corporate buyers of
US-grown tobacco demonstrates that most companies have a long way to go
even to admit they have responsibility for working conditions in US
farms. In contrast, PMI, with which Verité has worked over
several years, has stepped up to its responsibility and has developed
and implemented a comprehensive program. While that program
hasn’t yet solved the deep challenges of fair and safe work in tobacco,
it is systematically applied, rigorously evaluated and substantially
PMI’s commitment in this area includes continued support and active
participation in a multi-lateral initiative (the Farm Labor Practices
Group - FLPG), an effort that involves the U.S. Government, NGOs, farmer
and worker representatives as well as tobacco buyers. PMI invited HRW to
present the preliminary findings of their report to the FLPG earlier
this year and as a result, a dedicated working group on child labor has
been created to discuss HRW’s recommendations and explore opportunities
for a common approach.
Written correspondence between PMI and HRW about the issues raised in
today’s report can be found under ‘Related downloads’ on our website here.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR:
PMI developed a comprehensive global program (our Agricultural
Labor Practices Program) through a strategic partnership with an
internationally-renowned leading NGO in the field of social
With this program, we have set strict standards, trained nearly 4,000
PMI and supplier staff to move forward with its implementation and today
are reaching close to half a million farmers worldwide. We are training,
monitoring and, most importantly, supporting farmers to adopt better and
safer practices on tobacco farms. In 2013 alone, we have invested nearly
30 million USD to improve labor conditions in our supply chain and
improve the livelihoods of tobacco growing communities.
PMI is fully transparent about the rollout of its global ALP program and
detailed information about our progress worldwide can be found here.
Philip Morris International Inc.
Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is the leading international
tobacco company, with seven of the world’s top 15 international brands,
including Marlboro, the number one cigarette brand worldwide.
PMI’s products are sold in more than 180 markets. In 2013, the company
held an estimated 15.7% share of the total international cigarette
market outside of the U.S., or 28.2% excluding the People’s Republic of
China and the U.S. For more information, see www.pmi.com.
Source: Philip Morris International
Philip Morris International media office
+41 (0)58 242 4500