In the news this week we hear that the UK is to follow France’s lead in banning diesel and petrol cars due to the harm caused by air pollution.
Critics have pointed out that the 2040 date chosen is very far off in the future, and indeed it does look rather limp in comparison to the announcement by Volvo that it will stop making diesel cars (or petrol-only cars) in just two years’ time. Now that is the real deal. That is a concrete commitment to sit up and take notice of.
But why write about it on the Tobacco Unpacked blog?
Well, because it stands in stark contrast to the offerings from Philip Morris International, “the world’s leading cigarette company”.
Visitors to the PMI website cannot miss the dominant messaging: “Designing a smoke-free future” and “How long will the world’s leading cigarette company be in the cigarette business?”
That question is very pertinent. Because while the company is at pains to promote its commitment to “building PMI’s future on smoke-free products” and that “one day” lower risk products will replace cigarettes, one crucial thing is missing…..
Corporations talking big about reducing the damage caused by their products can easily be accused of greenwash. Volvo has addressed that head-on by committing to end their involvement in the problem, and putting a none-too-distant timescale on it.
PMI on the other hand continues to produce and sell billions of cigarettes every year, and to encourage their consumption by advertising them. Until PMI makes a public commitment to cease these activities – and gives a timescale – they remain wide open to the charge that they will sell their new “less harmful” products in addition to conventional cigarettes rather than instead of.
It’s time for PMI to do a Volvo.
(Header image from pexels.com)