Tobacco: ESG

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January 2024

Slovakia is pioneering a new way to recycle cigarette butts by transforming filters into asphalt for roads1. The Slovakian capital, Bratislava’s waste management company announced a new initiative to collect and transform cigarette filters into special fibers to be utilized as an admixture in the preparation of asphalt. There is already a road in central Slovakia made from discarded cigarettes, reportedly the first of its kind in the world, and Slovakia aims to increase cigarette recycling in 2024 with this new scheme.

Cigarette litter releases toxic substances which can contaminate water, soil and environmental ecosystems and only an estimated one third of the butts from 18Bn cigarettes smoked worldwide every day end up in a rubbish or recycling bin.

December 2023

Ferrari and Philip Morris International (PMI) forms a partnership to explore sustainable energy related technology solutions2. Ferrari E-Lab will bring together the two companies’ technological capabilities to scout and explore new energy-related technologies that could support the decarbonization of the companies’ production facilities in the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy). The partnership aims to assess key solutions contributing to industrial electrification in the generation, storage, and transformation of renewable energy. The first study will explore the viability of long-duration energy storage technologies and should be completed by Q3 2024.

Ferrari and PMI are strategic partners since 1973. Ferrari aims to become carbon neutral by 2030.

December 2023

S&P Global adds Philip Morris International (PMI) to its benchmark ESG Index, Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World)3, following the annual re-balancing & reconstitution review.

The DJSI is a family of market cap weighted indices that measure the performance of companies selected based on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria. Launched in 1999, the (DJSI) index family is comprised of global, regional and country benchmarks.

Tencent and ServiceNow are the other two companies added to the world index. Novartis, AstraZeneca and Amgen are deleted from the world index. All changes are effective from December 18, 2023.

October 2023

The Australian government is forced to revoke the Climate Active (carbon-neutral) certification given to BAT4 after the endorsement was found to be in breach of a WHO treaty to which Australia is a signatory. Climate Active is a government-backed carbon-neutral certification scheme and offers certifications to organisations that make efforts to achieve carbon neutrality.

Critics claim that carbon-neutrality is a “greenwashing” tactic used by the tobacco industry globally. Greenwashing is described as harmful or controversial industries marketing themselves as environmentally friendly in a bid to divert public attention from their environmentally damaging practices.

September 2023

Philip Morris International (PMI) becomes one of the few companies – so far – to receive Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) validation for its Forest, Land, and Agriculture (FLAG) emissions reductions targets5. Ahead of the validation, PMI was also included in Forbes’ first-ever Net Zero Leaders ranking6 (as #7) which lists the 100 US public companies that are best positioned to transition to a low-carbon economy – i.e. to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions and to ultimately offset them by 2050. Tesla ranks #71.

Meanwhile, more ESG funds are closed in the US in 2023 than in three prior years7. BlackRock, StateStreet and others spent years rolling out sustainable funds, seeking to capitalize on surging interest in ESG investing. Now they’re abandoning an increasing number of those products in the US amid political backlash and investor scrutiny.

June 2023

“[This is] why ESG is the devil…”, tweeted Elon Musk, referring to the fact that tobacco companies (PMI and BAT) are crushing Tesla in the ESG ratings.

References:

  1. https://www.euronews.com/green/2024/01/07/cigarette-recycling-slovakia-is-transforming-filters-into-asphalt-for-roads ↩︎
  2. https://www.ferrari.com/en-US/corporate/articles/ferrari-e-lab-in-collaboration-with-philip-morris-international-the-start-of-a-cross-industry-project ↩︎
  3. https://portal.s1.spglobal.com/survey/documents/DJSI2023_press_release_results.pdf ↩︎
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/oct/20/australia-breaches-who-treaty-with-carbon-neutral-certification-of-big-tobacco-company ↩︎
  5. https://www.pmi.com/media-center/press-releases/press-details/?newsId=26741 ↩︎
  6. https://www.forbes.com/lists/net-zero-leaders ↩︎
  7. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-09-21/blackrock-state-street-among-money-managers-closing-esg-funds ↩︎

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