Smoking hot action on climate change wins accolades

A CIGARETTE – that is, a smoking – company has been recognised as a global leader in climate change.

No, seriously, Bottomline will repeat the accolade, as all great WTF news reports (Editor’s Note: does that stand for World Tobacco Federation? ) are wont to do:

A cigarette company – in fact, Philip Morris International Inc, creators of Marlboro, the number one global cigarette brand.— has won international accolades for the action it is taking on climate change. 

The announcement was made in one of the most serious, official and no-tongue-in-anybody’s cheek towns in the world: Lausanne, Switzerland. So it’s gotta be as sound as a Swiss timepiece and a yodel put together.

To put this into context, a company built on putting carbon dioxide, monoxide and particulate tobacco smoke into people’s lungs – and then inevitably into the atmosphere – has been acclaimed by ‘climate authorities’ for helping to reverse dangerous global warming and probably apocalyptic climate change.

The official statement read:

“For the third consecutive year, the company is on the CDP’s ‘Climate A List’ for taking comprehensive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change, and for its transparent disclosure process.”

CDP, by the way, was formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. Even as an acronym of its former self CDP is pretty confident in claiming it is “the leading international not-for-profit organisation assessing the work of companies worldwide in the area of climate change”.

What happens is, “Thousands of businesses submit annual climate disclosures to CDP for independent assessment against its scoring methodology.”

Now, here are the facts as we seem to know them from the CDP news release:

Philip Morris International’s ranking places the company among the top 9 percent of corporations, known as ‘A Listers’.

And, get this, CDP’s Climate Change benchmark report is produced at the request of 827 investors with assets of US$100 trillion. (Editor’s Note: What the hell does that mean – and who … what … how much money?)

By way of explanation, for our Bottomline Editor, as much as anyone else, Philip Morris International’s head of Environmental Sustainability (Editor’s Note: usually we would present his title as Environmental Sustainability head, but that just does not sound right …), Andy Harrop was delighted to say:

“We’re very pleased to be included on the CDP A List again, and remain dedicated to playing our part in limiting global warming. Building on the reduction of 200,000 tons of CO2 since 2010 across our operations, and our continued action to promote sustainable tobacco production and environmental improvements across our value chain, next year we will announce a suite of new targets based directly on climate science.”

And there is more good stuff from Mr Harrop. He exhaled::

“PMI (Editor’s Note: That’s Philip Morris International, right? Not the Project Management Institute or Private Mortgage Insurance or Private Medical Insurance?) encourages strong action on climate change and supported an ambitious outcome to COP21 in Paris last December. With the Paris Agreement now entering into force, we look forward to working with others in facing the challenges and opportunities of climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

Now, here’s how all this works: The Climate A List is released in CDP’s report, Out of the starting blocks: Tracking progress on corporate climate action. This, CDP says, “establishes the baseline for corporate climate action and recognises that global corporations have started the transition towards a low-carbon economy, with some already capitalising on the opportunities this affords”.

Makes sense.

Such a report is used to show companies’ progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and companies will be tracked against this baseline in future annual reports by CDP. Beaut.

And as CDP points out, the 1089 companies it is working with globally would, if they could kindly stick to their plans, take 1-gigatonne of carbon emissions out of our beloved atmosphere (which, CDP cleverly acquaints to the same emissions as 291 coal-fired power stations in one year).

So, the bottom line is that Bottomline is not critical of any of that, in fact Philip Morris’s actions are surely to be applauded.

We just think it would seem incredibly ironic that a tobacco company may be heroically saving the world from carbon-emission induced global warming.

Maybe it will make more sense when the Marlboro man’s trusty steed canters to the high snowy mountains of Switzerland, where the real flavour is, then rears up and our cowboy draws nothing but a broad smile upon his lips, punctuated by a hi-tech carbon-free reduced-risk e-cigarette.

Ahhhh … Marlboro Country …

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