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Companies should act now on climate change

By Huub Savelkouls, Vice President Social & Economic Affairs

Global leaders recently agreed on a rulebook for states to act against climate change. Will it be enough to achieve the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement Goals to keep global temperature rises within 2.0°C, and shouldn’t we aim for the more ambitious target of 1.5°C? In my view, corporations must lead the way. This is what our employees, our consumers and our shareholders expect from us. PMI supports the call for a price on carbon emissions and has adopted science-based targets for its own work on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Our efforts go beyond our factory gates. Most GHG emissions related to the tobacco supply chain come from the curing process for Virginia flue-cured tobacco, one of the main tobacco varieties that we buy. Our target is to lower the GHG emissions in the curing process by 70% by 2020 (vs. 2010). To achieve this, we work with farmers to improve curing barn efficiency (combustion efficiency, ventilation and controls), as well as eliminating the use of coal and non-sustainable wood. We are well on track to achieve our target.

Curing barns outside

Today, we’re proud to have been recognized by CDP – for the fifth year in a row – as a corporate leader against climate change with a position on their Climate Change A List. 

Climate Change Stamp Png

I hope that more and more companies will act to curb GHG emissions. As a collective, we should aim to reduce global GHG emissions by at least 30% by 2030 and limit global warming to the more ambitious target of 1.5°C. To do that, we need to report transparently on our progress and gaps, adopt science-based targets, and demonstrate commitment across the board, for instance by encouraging governments to introduce a minimum price on carbon in their emission trading systems. 

Reducing our environmental footprint is one of the pillars of our sustainability strategy. However, as a tobacco company, sustainability must start by developing and commercializing better alternatives for the large populations of existing adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking. Indeed, we are focusing our business on such products to replace cigarettes. Read about our business transformation and our sustainability strategy in our Sustainability Report.

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