All BVTE member companies are aware of the urgency of global environmental challenges. Climate change, loss of biodiversity or the ever-growing waste problem – BVTE members are taking consistent steps to address these challenges.
The international BVTE member companies see themselves as pioneers for the industry and have set themselves ambitious reduction targets to decrease the tobacco industry's environmental footprint. Thanks to their efforts, BAT, Imperial and JTI once again made it onto the A list of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in the area of climate in 2022 and were awarded the top grade A.
Furthermore, BAT, Imperial and JTI have been named Climate Leaders 2021 by the Financial Times in a first European ranking – out of a total of more than 4,000 companies assessed across Europe.
Targets and measures to reduce greenhouse gases
BVTE member companies are meeting the challenges of climate protection. The companies have committed themselves to reducing their energy consumption and absolute greenhouse gas emissions along the entire value chain. The companies regularly disclose their reduction targets and the current status of target achievement (Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)) and have their environmental data assessed by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
In order to achieve these reduction targets, numerous sustainability projects have been initiated along the entire production and value chain, also in Germany. These include improving energy efficiency of production facilities, increasing the use of renewable energies and on-site energy generation, switching to more environmentally friendly systems, ongoing emissions offsetting through reforestation projects and switching from air to sea freight.
Numerous awards from independent organisations underline the ambitious goals of BVTE member companies to play an active role in the global transformation to a more sustainable industry.
Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)
Four listed BVTE member companies are participating in the Science Based Targets. Their reduction targets reach from 2030 to 2050 and include greenhouse gas emissions within the company (Scope 1+2) and along the supply chain (Scope 3). Both the targets and the current status of target achievement are published and publicly accessible at SBTi.
Science Based Targets Initiative
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between the United Nations Global Compact (CDP), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The initiative defines practices and methods and provides guidance for setting targets. At the same time, it provides independent assessment and validation of the companies' targets. The already more than 100 participating companies commit to documenting their consumption annually, defining concrete targets for a specific time frame and publishing their results.
BAT has committed to operating in a climate-neutral manner within the company by 2030 and throughout the entire supply chain by 2050. The absolute greenhouse gas emissions along the supply chain are to be reduced by 16% by 2030, starting from the base year 2017. More information here.
Imperial has committed to reducing the absolute greenhouse gas emissions within the company by 25% by 2030 - starting from the base year 2017. The absolute greenhouse gas emissions along its supply chain are to be reduced by 20% by 2030 compared to the base year 2017. By 2023, over 50% of its suppliers are also to set scientifically based targets for reducing their emissions. At the beginning of 2021, the company also committed to achieving carbon neutrality across the entire group of companies and all areas of work by 2040. Find out more at here.
JTI has committed to reducing absolute greenhouse gas emissions within the company by 32% by 2030 and along its supply chain by 23% by 2030 compared to the base year 2015. Find out more here.
Swedish Match has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the company by 41% by 2030 - starting from the base year 2017. By 2050, a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is to be achieved across the entire supply chain (Scope 1, 2 and 3) – starting from the base year 2017. To achieve these targets by 2030 and 2050, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 5% each year. Find out more at here.
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
In 2022, BAT, Imperial and JTI are once again among the approximately 150 European companies that have been awarded the top rating A in the climate section of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and are therefore on the A list. The rating is recognised worldwide as the "gold standard" in the field of environmental transparency.
Carbon Disclosure Projekt (CDP)
The non-profit organisation CDP is one of the largest environmental organisations in the world and has the aim of ensuring that companies and local authorities publish their environmental data. The independent organisation rates the disclosure of impacts, risks, opportunities and measures relating to the environment, as well as the reduction strategies of participants, with grades ranging from A (very good) to D (sufficient). Only companies that perform particularly well in terms of transparency and climate protection measures in one of the three categories of climate change, forests and water security make it onto the A List ("A List 2022 Climate").
Three of the BVTE member companies (BAT, Imperial and JTI) have been named Climate Leader 2021 by the Financial Times in a first European ranking - making them one of the 300 best companies in Europe out of a total of more than 4,000 companies assessed. The most important criterion for the ranking was the highest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in relation to turnover between 2014 and 2019.
Not only the international corporations, but also the medium-sized BVTE member companies assume their ecological and social responsibility – even if this is not reflected in the international rankings of assessment organisations. They are actively committed to climate protection and are increasingly focussing on renewable energy sources. In Lübeck, the company Von Eicken has its own solar plant that supplies the production facility and administrative buildings at the site with solar energy. A modern 10,200 sqm photovoltaic system in Fridhaff, Luxembourg, produces solar energy at Landewyck –1,672,000 kWh per year – enough for the production of 2 billion cigarettes per year.
General goals and measures to prevent waste through product solutions
By avoiding waste and developing innovative product and waste solutions, BVTE member companies want contribute to a functioning circular economy. As part of their sustainability strategies, they document the quantities of waste generated in their production facilities and are committed to minimising the waste associated with their products, packaging and production processes. They have set themselves ambitious reduction targets for the next years in order to use less plastic and achieve more reusability, recyclability and a higher proportion of recycled material in their packaging.
Goals of selected member companies
Imperial has set itself the goal of reducing the amount of waste in the production process by 20% by 2030. By 2025, all packaging is to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
JTI has set itself the goal of generating 20% less waste in the entire production process by 2030. JTI is also aiming for about 85% of packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2025 and 100% by 2030. In addition, at least 20% recycled material is to be used for tobacco packaging by 2025.
BAT has set itself the goal of increasing the average proportion of recycled plastic packaging to 30% by 2025. By 2025, all plastic packaging should also be either reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Solutions by Product Category
Cigarette packaging consists of several components: the cardboard folding carton, the inner liner (the protective paper in the carton) and a film that surrounds the carton. If separated and disposed of correctly (folding boxboard and inner liner in the recovered paper, the plastic film in the yellow bin), the existing recycling potential of cigarette packaging is over 90%. The remaining, non-recyclable part of the packaging material is mainly made up of three component groups: Inks and adhesives on the plastic film and inks, varnishes and adhesives on the folding carton.
E-cigarettes and tobacco heaters [MORE]
E-cigarettes are battery-operated electrical devices that must be disposed of correctly at the end of their service life. Under no circumstances should they be disposed of with household waste, in the yellow bag or in public waste bins but should be disposed of free of charge as electronic waste at a recycling centre or retailer.
Electrical appliances can always contain substances that are harmful to the environment. They also contain valuable raw material that can be recycled. For the conservation of natural resources, e-cigarettes should be used for as long as possible and rechargeable e-cigarettes are the more environmentally friendly alternative to disposable e-cigarettes.
Some member companies that offer e-cigarettes or tobacco heaters are very successfully testing take-back schemes for pods (e.g. "Drop the Pod" of BAT) in several markets, e.g. Germany and France. Other measures and innovations lead to a further reduction in packaging and waste: e.g. pods without silicone caps, packaging without outer plastic film or the omission of plastic trays on the shelf. BAT's "Cut the Wrap" campaign, for example, has already saved 100 tonnes of plastic in 2020.
Nicotin pouches [MORE]
By the latest products of the member companies – the nicotine pouches – the packaging, which in this case is a a can is made from just one material (PP polypropylene) and no longer from a combination of plastics. This increases recyclability.
In addition, a large proportion of the cans for nicotine pouches of our member companies is made of white plastic, which, unlike black plastic, is very easy to recycle. This makes the packaging completely recyclable.
The bag itself should also become completely biodegradable. BVTE member companies are working on a replacement for the binder and the polyester content in the bag.
In addition, the first BVTE member companies, such as Swedish Match, are testing the creation of an infrastructure for recycling bags in order to raise consumer awareness for waste avoidance.
The problem of littering
Cigarette waste should not end up in the environment. The BVTE offers information about cigarette filters and cigarette waste, interesting studies and useful tips on environmental protection on its own environmental campaign website. We want to create more awareness among smokers for the importance of disposing of their cigarette waste properly and help to solve the problem of carelessly discarded cigarette waste sustainably.