Philip Morris has just committed to donate 80 million dollars per year for 12 years to the FSFW (Foundation for a Smoke-Free World). The announcement was made by Derek Yach, the company’s new Senior Vice President. It took place during the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum in New-York.
Acording to the press release, the foundation has been specifically created by Philip Morris in order to offer « an urgent response with significant, sustained resources, fresh ideas and collaborative action. The Foundation will provide all that and more as we work to help the world’s one billion smokers quit smoking ».
How can we explain this gesture?
Large companies that have tremendous influence do not need to make such donations. And investing such a large amount seems incredible. However, let’s look at the global picture. 80 million dollars per year represents 0.1% of Philip Morris’ 75 billion dollar turnover (2016 figures). And 0.47% of the benefits (17 billion dollars). Philip Morris is not on the verge of bankruptcy, even though the market is slowing down.
The possibility that Philip Morris will take over the FSFW is also quite unlikely. «Importantly, as established in the Foundation’s bylaws, PMI and the tobacco industry are precluded from having any influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities».
Launch of the Foundation – Trailer
And what is Philip Morris just cared?
All the companies are, after all, made up of human beings. And the world is changing. Philip Morris is far from stopping to manufacture cigarettes, but this can be a first step.
« our efforts are focused on the development of heat-not-burn to replace traditional cigarettes. our aim is to offer a safer alternative to the millions of people who continue to smoke », André Calantzopoulos, the CEO of Philip Morris explained.
But we remain wary, especially given their recent attempts to influence the fight against tobacco.