Nearly seven years ago, when our company announced its smoke-free vision and related intention to stop selling cigarettes, some responded with skepticism, arguing that if we were serious about it, we would stop selling cigarettes immediately.
Over the years, we have tried to explain the complexity of our endeavor. First, we estimate that approximately 130 million adults smoke our cigarette brands. Considering that there are over a billion smokers worldwide, if we were to stop selling cigarettes overnight and those brands suddenly became unavailable, other manufacturers and vendors (both legal and illicit) would quickly step in to meet the demand. Consequently, just as many people as before would smoke, and we would have accomplished nothing from a public health perspective.
Second, and perhaps most important, our intention is not only to make our company smoke-free—we want to make cigarettes obsolete. This requires system-level change. This requires that we work with multiple stakeholders to address root causes, build
collective responses, and craft permanent solutions that involve a change not just in attitudes and behaviors but also in laws and policies. Only in this way can we create a paradigm shift to a new system in which cigarettes no longer exist. A clear
roadmap agreed upon by political, regulatory, and public health stakeholders, and supported by both civil society and business, offers the best prospect for further accelerating the end of smoking.
A clear roadmap agreed upon by political, regulatory, and public health stakeholders, and supported by both civil society and business, offers the best prospect for further accelerating the end of smoking.
As I reflect on the magnitude of the challenge, I see parallels with many facets of our sustainability efforts. Tackling climate change, promoting biodiversity and protecting natural ecosystems, minimizing post-consumer waste, reducing all forms of inequality, and advancing human rights demand the same kind of systemic approach—and are among the many issues we are working to address within our value chain, both upstream and downstream.
The pace of our progress on all fronts is influenced by factors beyond our immediate control. We operate on a global scale in a fast-paced world. Global trends intersect with our strategies and initiatives and inform how we interact with the external environment. Safeguarding our long-term success requires that we monitor, anticipate, and respond to the challenges and opportunities shaping our reality today and in the future, ever mindful that the change we seek cannot be achieved in silos.
Recent and current events—from the pandemic to the ongoing war in Ukraine—have deeply impacted the everyday life of people across the globe, economic systems, and business operations. They have exacerbated various environmental, economic,
political, and social trends, providing even more evidence of the urgent need to build resilience by pivoting and adapting together. Sustainability is a cornerstone of our corporate strategy, and we work hard to address ESG issues that are material
to PMI. We acknowledge, however, that there is a limit to how much we can do or influence on our own. To create long-standing, impactful, and sustainable solutions, we must partner and work with other parts of society—just as we do in our work
to achieve a smoke-free future.
PMI’s Statement of Purposeread more
Companies that claim to be transforming seem to be everywhere. Yet when one examines more closely whether organizations are truly redefining what they are and what they do, one finds that cases of successful change are exceptionally rare. Transformation is never easy because change takes time. At present, our company is in mid-stride: with one foot in our past, operating in a fiercely competitive legacy cigarette business, and one foot in our bold future, building an entirely novel and improved category of products. While our commitment to transformation is unwavering, we cannot complete the journey alone. The kind of systemic change PMI is driving can only be achieved through a collaborative multistakeholder approach, a fact that we recognize in our Statement of Purpose.
PMI’s reputation is based on the perceptions of its various stakeholders. Our ability to build and maintain trust and legitimacy relies on consistency and coherence—on ensuring that our words match our actions.
We are committed to transforming, for good. Delivering a smoke-free future is our priority and primary focus. Success requires that we reposition our core business while actively investing in new areas of growth, keeping the longer-term horizon in sight, and working relentlessly to earn the trust and confidence of our stakeholders. We recognize the magnitude of the challenge and remain committed to continuing to lead, tracking and reporting on our progress transparently to ensure cigarettes become obsolete as soon as possible.
Transformation is never easy because change takes time. At present, our company is in mid-stride: with one foot in our past, operating in a fiercely competitive legacy cigarette business, and one foot in our bold future, building an entirely novel and improved category of products.
This letter is an excerpt from PMI’s Integrated Report 2022
Integrated Report 2022
This online content about our Integrated Report should be read in conjunction with PMI’s Integrated Report 2022. Unless otherwise indicated, the data contained herein cover our operations worldwide for the full calendar year 2022 or reflect the status as of December 31, 2022. Where not specified, data comes from PMI financials, non-financials, or estimates. Unless explicitly stated, the data, information, and aspirations referenced do not incorporate PMI’s Vectura Fertin Pharma business (consolidating the 2021 acquisitions of wellness and healthcare companies Fertin Pharma A/S, Vectura Group plc., and OtiTopic, Inc.), nor the late 2022 acquisition of Swedish Match AB. Please also refer to 'This report at a glance' on page 2 of the Integrated Report 2022 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 214. In the Integrated Report 2022 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.