Effecting Progress By Reducing Negative Impact
Emmett Harrison, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Sustainability at Swedish Match, shares how a tobacco manufacturer can drive positive change toward a better, cigarette-free world.
To stay competitive in today’s business world, companies must take corporate social responsibility to heart and integrate ethical policies into a sustainable operation. At Swedish Match—a global company that develops, manufactures, and sells quality snus, moist snuff and lights, among other products—much of their efforts are dedicated to driving positive change, whether it is affecting progress or reducing negative impact. To that end, Swedish Match removed cigarettes from their product portfolio two decades ago. The decision was a conscious choice “reflecting our dedication to offering better alternatives such as snus, as cigarette use is harmful to public health,” explains Emmett Harrison, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Sustainability at Swedish Match.
At its core, Swedish Match wishes to create a world without cigarettes. Granted, the tobacco company has a sizable selection of tobacco products. But unlike many of its competitors, Swedish Match refuses to take part in the cigarette manufacturing business, focusing instead on safer cigarette alternatives, like snus and ZYN—nicotine pouches without tobacco—to reduce negative impact and improve public health. In addition, the company is deeply involved in five other areas related to ethical business practices, equal opportunity, greenhouse gas, waste, and child labor in its sustainability strategy, which will be elaborated further on the next page.
At the end of the day, it is no coincidence that Sweden has a lower risk of tobacco-related deaths than other EU countries, as Sweden has among the lowest percentage of daily smokers in Europe. Instead, Sweden sees more people using snus. Moving forward, Swedish Match seeks to generate more awareness of snus in the U.S. market. As a relatively new product in the States, Harrison believes snus could become a viable alternative to cigarettes in the U.S. market.
Improve public health
To build a world without cigarettes, Swedish Match wishes to offer smokers a better alternative.
We must educate people that nicotine is generally safe to use, and that only when combined with the combustion of tobacco in cigarettes does nicotine become harmful. Our objective is to raise awareness about snus and nicotine pouches without tobacco, so to minimize tobacco-related deaths and improve public health.
Ensure ethical business practices
Swedish Match is committed to ethical business activities and relations with stakeholders—both within and outside our operations. Every professional relationship we have is built on honesty, integrity, guidance by the law and regulations, plus mutual respect and trust. To maintain our ethical standards, we perform annual risk assessments and verify that our partners and vendors are equally committed to this value.
Support equal opportunity
At Swedish Match, we regard equal opportunity as part of our work towards non-discrimination and diversity. Dedicated to creating an open and inclusive work environment—where all employees have equal opportunities to realize their full potential—we work diligently to maintain zero-tolerance for discrimination. As such, we take an active approach against structural discrimination and promote increased diversity within all levels of the company.
Reduce greenhouse gases
Recognizing the risks associated with climate change, Swedish Match is committed to setting science-based targets for our corporate value chain. Aside from assessing our operating risks (plus those of our suppliers and customers) on a regular basis, we seek to reduce emissions by 75 percent by 2050, since 2017. This would render absolute emission reductions of 4 percent per year until 2050.
To reduce waste from our production facilities, Swedish Match has set group-common targets to control the amount and treatment targets for any generated waste. One target is to keep total-waste volume constant even as production increases for the majority of our product categories. Another target is to remove waste from landfill, and find ways to recycle and repurpose anything that could otherwise become hazardous waste.
Eliminate child labor
Swedish Match does not condone child labor in the value chain. As a board member of the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation, the company constantly acquires updates on the subject and follows projects closely to tackle the issue on the ground. To uphold robust policy on child labor, Swedish Match has signed a sector-wide agreement called the Pledge of Commitment.
Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Sustainability
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