Home » Water and Sanitation » Making Water Stewardship a Corporate Imperative

Access to clean, safe water sources across the globe is reaching a crisis point. It’s up to every global citizen — private or corporate — to do their part.

Water is a vital resource to both business and communities. At Philip Morris International (PMI), our commitment to water stewardship spans the entire supply chain: in the fields where most tobacco is rain-fed without irrigation, in the manufacturing of raw materials such as filters, paper and packaging materials and during production of the finished products.

Sustainable use of water

PMI is protecting water resources at all its facilities, ensuring access to safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services, respecting the value of water in the wider community and seeking partnerships to improve water management practices.

“Our sustainability focus is to replace cigarettes with innovative, smoke-free technologies, while minimizing our environmental impacts, also in the area of water stewardship,” says Jens Rupp, environmental sustainability lead at PMI. “We have initiatives around the world to address water use, tailored to the unique local needs of the region.”

For instance, more than 30 percent of the rural population in Malawi lacks access to basic WASH services. PMI’s project improves WASH services for smallholder farmers and identifies opportunities for further roll-out of a WASH intervention. In engaging with local stakeholders to leverage local expertise and networks, we are already seeing strong interest to be involved and contribute to the socio-economic development of Malawi.

Speaking about the difference the local borehole has made to her life and that of her community, local villager, Msadalila Geresomo, from the Dowa district, Mtsilo village, Malawi, said:

“There was a big problem to get water in our area before the borehole. This is the only reliable source of water in our village. We used to wake up in the early hours of the morning to go to draw water from a well but we struggled to get sufficient water, and ended up returning home late to the farm. Now, we come here at any time of the day to draw water.”

Water sustainability alliance

In 2017, PMI joined the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), a multi-stakeholder initiative that promotes the responsible use of freshwater that is socially and economically beneficial and environmentally sustainable. We certified our first factory in Brazil in March 2018 and committed to certify all of our factories to the AWS Standard by 2030.

Our hard work is paying off. Through optimized water usage, we have reduced PMI’s total water usage by 17 percent since 2010 and our water performance and disclosure efforts have been recognized — PMI achieved A-list status for CDP Water in 2017. We continue to push forward on additional water conservation projects around the world.

Read more in PMI’s 2017 Sustainability Report

*Philip Morris International (PMI) is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products outside the United States. We’re building our future on smoke-free products. We aim to ensure that our smoke-free products are scientifically substantiated and meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. Our vision is that these products ultimately replace cigarettes.

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