Measuring what matters

17 May 2022
A letter from Jennifer Motles, PMI’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
Jennifer Motles, Chief Sustainability Officer, PMI

We dedicated much of 2021 to strengthening our governance and better integrating sustainability into our corporate strategy. Our new sustainability materiality assessment helped us identify, prioritize, calibrate, and define the ESG topics to focus on. The results allowed us to revamp our ESG framework, categorize topics according to their environmental, social, or governance nature, and introduce two pillars: Our products and our business operations.

Besides having a framework that clearly organizes ESG issues, we introduced a new format that helps us convey our approach to sustainability. More concretely, this new format showcases how these ESG topics are organized and become inputs to a strategy that aims to be impact-driven.

Addressing the impacts of our products remains at the core of our strategy. We, of course, start by focusing on their health impacts. Beyond that, we have established a clear distinction between the environmental and social impacts that derive from our products (what we produce) and the impacts that derive from our business operations (how we produce). In addition, we have made corporate governance an all-encompassing component of our strategy, recognizing its importance in embedding sustainability into corporate strategy.

Framing these different impacts and their origins in this way crystallizes both our inputs and desired outcomes, bringing clarity to our organization in terms of how best to allocate resources and integrate sustainability into our ways of working. We hope it will also help external stakeholders understand our approach to sustainability from an impact perspective. This approach is composed of eight impact-driven strategies and is intrinsically connected to our 2025 Roadmap, which communicates our ambitious vision through a set of 11 headline goals.


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PMI’s Statement of Purpose

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As sustainability matures and gains importance inside and outside our company, the question of how to measure ESG performance is something many continue to grapple with. We have long expressed our support for more rigor in sustainabilityrelated reporting and disclosures—and not just for companies, but also for ESG ratings and related products. There is a need for greater transparency, more robust methodologies, and better clarity on definitions and assumptions. We certainly welcome recent developments leading to more consistency in standards under strong governance frameworks.

Accordingly, 2021 was a year when we also focused on developing a clear and accepted process for establishing concrete definitions, documentation, and controls for sustainability with the aim of standardizing how we measure ESG performance. Taken together, these standards make up our ESG KPI Protocol, which brings structure to the process of defining success, concrete measurements of progress, and clear governance and accountability structures, and will be published later in 2022.

Reporting is, by nature, a backward-looking exercise. That said, we understand that the value of embedding sustainability into corporate strategy lies in thinking long term and being able to disclose forward-looking ambitions, transition plans, and progress. Coupling comparable, meaningful, and reliable data with clear goals, long-term plans, and forecasted impacts is central to stakeholders’ and investors’ ability to incorporate ESG into their decision-making.

PMI employees are the heart, soul, and primary driver of change within our company. They are the ones building a culture that embraces sustainability and a community conscious of its impacts.

Another topic of debate relates to the optimum way to maximize the alignment of incentives with sustainability-related results to meet the evolving expectations of investors and other stakeholders. We are proud to have answered this demand by introducing a Sustainability Index that lets us integrate ESG performance into long-term executive compensation in an easily understandable, strategic, coherent, comprehensive, and credible manner.

We believe that relying on a bespoke index, as opposed to relative external indices, will allow PMI to align its resource allocation and efforts more consistently and strategically with its most material ESG topics. PMI’s Sustainability Index consists of 19 KPIs, which measure progress toward the 11 goals in our 2025 Roadmap. We aim to continuously improve our performance and drive material and measurable progress—all communicated through open and clear reporting and disclosure.

Having an overarching global sustainability strategy is as important as ensuring it is cascaded down to our markets—PMI employees are the heart, soul, and primary driver of change within our company. They are the ones building a culture that embraces sustainability and a community conscious of its impacts.

Together we ensure that success is achieved while respecting environmental and social boundaries. We recognize the essential need to continue building legitimacy and trust with our stakeholders, who are fundamental to our company’s purpose and can accelerate the pace at which we achieve it. Our 2021 Integrated Report aims to address their demands for more transparent, comparable, and reliable information on our ESG risks and performance.

2021 was a year full of achievements, but challenges remain, including in areas related to ESG. As we continue to transform, learn, and discover better ways to develop solutions that have meaningful impact, we hope our transparency and willingness to engage will spark dialogue with those who can help accelerate the pace of change. I invite you to reach out and share your feedback, to question, to challenge, and above all, to engage with us as we remain focused on making our company better, focused on sustainability, and committed to our purpose.

This letter is an excerpt from PMI’s Integrated Report 2021

Integrated Report 2021

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This online content about our Integrated Report should be read in conjunction with PMI’s 2021 Integrated Report. The information and data presented here cover the 2021 calendar year or reflect status at December 31, 2021, worldwide, unless otherwise indicated. Where not specified, data come from PMI estimates. Please also refer to 'This report at a glance' on page 5 of the 2021 Integrated Report for more information. Aspirational targets and goals do not constitute financial projections, and achievement of future results is subject to risks, uncertainties and inaccurate assumptions, as outlined in our forward-looking and cautionary statements on page 252. In the 2021 Integrated Report and in related communications, the terms “materiality,” “material,” and similar terms, when used in the context of economic, environmental, and social topics, are defined in the referenced sustainability standards and are not meant to correspond to the concept of materiality under the U.S. securities laws and/or disclosures required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


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