The informal, seasonal, and transactional nature of agriculture work, makes farm workers vulnerable to occupational and environmental risks. We’re working to address the core problems these farm workers face by understanding who the farm workers are, how they are hired, their working conditions, and how they are paid. We set up the Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) program in 2011 to improve labor practices and progressively eliminate child labor on all farms from which we purchase tobacco. We have communicated our standards and expectations to all farmers, and put in place the resources needed to monitor conditions on farms and bring sensible solutions to problematic practices. PMI partners with the leading NGO in supply chain sustainability, Verité, to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate the effectiveness of the ALP program.
The ALP program consists of four key components:
According to the International Labor Organization, 59 percent of children in child labor can be found in agriculture, with a significant number of these performing hazardous work. In many cases, child labor is often the result of complex challenges stemming from socioeconomic realities and cultural practices. Addressing these challenges is not something that can be done overnight, or by a single company. That’s why we, together with Verité, have developed a comprehensive approach to addressing child labor wherever we source tobacco:
Around the world, we’re tackling complex labor issues in our tobacco-growing supply chain. Meaningful results require the long-term commitment of all stakeholders. We believe that disclosing our progress and challenges is an important step in addressing the issues of child labor and other labor-related abuses. With this in mind, PMI worked with Verité to commission Control Union Certifications to do third-party assessments of our ALP program. The assessments evaluate the current status of farm-labor practices and risk areas, and include comprehensive plans to improve conditions on farms in light of the findings.
We’re also working with Verité to better understand the impact of our ALP program on the lives, behaviors, and views of farmers and farm workers. Together, we have recently undertaken a pilot initiative entitled Most Significant Change (MSC), to collect first person narratives and experiences from the people most affected by the program. Read more about the results of this initiative conducted in a small community in Malawi here.
What steps are we taking to reduce the environmental footprint of tobacco farming around the world?