Lausanne, Switzerland — Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE /Euronext Paris: PM) announced today a major new initiative — "PMI IMPACT" — to help confront smuggling and related crimes.
The centerpiece of PMI IMPACT is a prestigious council of external independent experts whose seven members have impeccable credentials in the fields of law, anti-corruption and law enforcement. The experts will oversee grants to enable innovation in three key areas in the fight against smuggling and related crimes – research, education and awareness, and action.
PMI IMPACT will issue a request for funding proposals later this year. Proposals can come from private, public, or non-governmental organizations. PMI has pledged USD 100 million to fund the first three rounds of grants.
"Progress against illegal trade requires ideas, resources, and actions — and that's why we're excited to launch PMI IMPACT. We're especially grateful that distinguished experts have agreed to guide this effort and look forward to broad response to the upcoming request for proposals. In parallel, PMI is continuing to control its own supply chain and to support international protocols against illicit trade," stated AndréCalantzopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of PMI.
Illegal trade is an entrenched phenomenon that depends on and sustains extensive criminal activity. Estimates put the total retail value of illegally traded goods at USD 650 billion, with active black markets for countless products, ranging from pharmaceuticals, food, and tobacco to weapons and wildlife. The most atrocious of all illegal trade, human trafficking, is beyond any financial estimate.
Commenting on PMI IMPACT, expert council member and former Senior Prosecutor for the US Department of Justice, Suzanne Hayden stated: "Illegal trade thrives today, in part, because of a loose alliance of criminal networks that operate with impunity and take advantage of open borders, corrupt officials, disparate legal systems and under-resourced enforcement. We on the Council look forward to reviewing proposals for innovative and creative solutions from public and private alliances to tackle the problems created by global illegal trade."
Despite much progress, there is still significant illegal trade in many types of tobacco products. For criminals, there is often more profit and less risk in smuggling tobacco than, for example, illegal drugs.
According to PMI IMPACT council member Luis Moreno Ocampo, who was the first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: "Tobacco is controlled by state regulations; stopping smuggling is the way to enforce the regulations."
PMI IMPACT is one of several major programs that the company supports to promote sustainable business practices and address complex social problems. The company is also a signatory of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
More information on PMI IMPACT is available online at http://www.pmi-impact.com/.
About Philip Morris International Inc. ("PMI")
PMI is the world's leading international tobacco company, with six of the world's top 15 international brands and products sold in more than 180 markets. In addition to the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, including Marlboro, the number one global cigarette brand, and other tobacco products, PMI is engaged in the development and commercialization of Reduced-Risk Products ("RRPs"). RRPs is the term PMI uses to refer to products with the potential to reduce individual risk and population harm in comparison to smoking cigarettes. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities, and industry-leading scientific substantiation, PMI aims to provide an RRP portfolio that meets a broad spectrum of adult smoker preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. For more information, see www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.