Smoke-free products contribute to sustainable business at PMI
No conversation on our commitment to sustainable business practices would be complete without first reflecting on the societal harm caused by smoking.
Philip Morris International (PMI) is a tobacco company that manufactures and sells cigarettes, which are products that have serious health impacts on the people who use them. The best way to avoid the harms of smoking is to never start, or to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether. However, around 1 billion people currently smoke cigarettes and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Hence, the health impact of cigarette smoking is the most significant and pressing negative externality our strategy aims to address. Lessening this impact is the most valuable societal contribution we can make and is the cornerstone of PMI’s purpose and business strategy. Addressing this critical issue requires a three-pronged approach:
- Maximize the benefits of smoke-free products,
- Purposefully phase out cigarettes and
- Seek positive impact in healthcare and wellness.
In light of this strategy, one key ambition of PMI is to replace cigarettes with smoke-free products that are scientifically substantiated to be less harmful alternatives for adult smokers who do not quit. In fact, for the past 3 years, 99% of our R&D expenditure each year has been dedicated to our smoke-free products. Given the multifaceted and complex nature of sustainable development, trade-offs are inherent to decision-making. In some circumstances, we are compelled to make sacrifices in one sustainability area to obtain benefits in another, at least for a period.
Over the years, in response to stakeholder feedback and to increase transparency around our business transformation, we have significantly expanded the number of metrics on which we report. Transparency, when coupled with scientific integrity and rigor, brings relief to skepticism and helps address mistrust, fostering an environment where collaboration and partnership can blossom.