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PMI recognized for addressing climate change issues

| November 17, 2015

Philip Morris International has been recognized for addressing climate change and reducing its carbon footprint.

In a note posted on its website, the company said it had been named yesterday as the only consumer staples company in the S&P 500 on both the CDP Climate ‘A’ List for top performers and the Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI) for quality and transparency of reporting. The 100 percent score for carbon disclosure is the highest ever recognition PMI has received in the annual CDP ratings.

CDP, formerly known as the ‘Carbon Disclosure Project’ was described as the leading international not-for-profit organization assessing the work of thousands of companies worldwide in the area of climate change.

‘PMI is recognized on the CDP Climate “A” List in their Global Climate Performance Leader Report, released on November 4, for top performance in measuring, verifying, managing and reducing our carbon footprint,’ PMI reported. ‘The company also earned its leading place on the CDLI by disclosing high quality carbon emissions and energy data for 2014 through CDP’s climate change program. The CDP assessment is compiled at the request of 822 investors who represent US$95 trillion in assets – more than a third of the world’s invested capital. ‘

“We are delighted to make the CDP Climate Disclosure Leadership Index for the S&P 500 and to be recognized as a top performer on CDP’s Climate ‘A’ list,” said Andrew Harrop, head of Environmental Sustainability at PMI. “This demonstrates the hard work and commitment across PMI, setting tough targets and doing what it takes to achieve and exceed them. As we prepare to join government leaders in Paris later this month at COP21, the UN Climate Change conference, the CDP results demonstrate that businesses like PMI are playing their part to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

Meanwhile, Paul Dickinson, executive chairman and co-founder of CDP said that as the world looked beyond the Paris climate change negotiations and prepared for a low carbon future, reliable information about how companies were responding to the transition would be ever more valuable. “For this reason we congratulate those businesses that have achieved a position on CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index,” he said.

US adult smoking rate at 16.8 percent last year

| November 16, 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) reported on Friday that the adult smoking rate in the US fell to a record low of 16.8 percent last year, down from 17.8 percent in 2013, according to a statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) issued through PRNewswire.

The smoking rate has declined by nearly 20 percent since 2005, when 20.9 percent of the population smoked, and by 60 percent since 1965, when 42.4 percent smoked.

But the CDC reported also large disparities in smoking, with higher rates among people who live below the poverty level; those with less education; American Indians and Alaska Natives; residents of the Midwest; and lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Adults who are uninsured or on Medicaid smoke at more than double the rates of those with private health insurance or Medicare.

‘It is good news for our nation’s health that smoking continues to decline, but there is much work to do to finish the job and protect all Americans from the number one cause of preventable death’ said Matthew L. Myers, CTFK’s president. ‘It is not acceptable that tobacco use still kills nearly half a million Americans and costs us about $170 billion in health care expenses each year.

‘It is also unacceptable that we have become a nation of haves and have-nots in combating tobacco use, with some populations and communities lagging behind and suffering higher burdens of tobacco-related death and disease as a result.

‘Our tremendous progress shows that we know how to win the fight against tobacco. Proven solutions must be fully implemented across the nation, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs that include mass media campaigns, and comprehensive, barrier-free health insurance coverage for smoking cessation treatments.’

Latvia’s smoking incidence at 36 percent in 2014

| November 16, 2015

About 36 percent of Latvians aged 15 to 64 are daily smokers, according to a Baltic Daily story citing 2014 data presented to members of the parliamentary subcommittee on public health by the Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDPC).

About 52 percent of men and 21 percent of women aged 15-64 were said to smoke on a daily basis.

The incidence of smoking among women increased by three percentage points between 2011 and 2014.

But the incidence of smoking among teenagers has declined. While in 2011 smokers made up 29 percent of boys and 34 percent of girls in the 13-15 years age group, by 2014 only 17 percent of teenagers were smoking on a regular basis.

The CDPC said that 47 percent of daily smokers wanted to quit the habit.

International Tax Stamp Association formed

| November 13, 2015

Ten companies have formed the International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA) in order ‘to respond to the need for better understanding of the benefits of excise tax stamps and tax stamp technologies, as well as to promote high professional standards in this sector,’ according to an ITSA press note.

The founder companies, which are said to be leaders in document and product authentication and traceability, are: Advanced Track and Trace, Ashton Potter Security Printers, Chanwanich Security Printing, Holoflex, Hologram Industries, Holostik India, Manipal Technologies, OpSec Security, SICPA and Thomas Greg & Sons de Colombia.

‘The main purpose of ITSA is to provide a collective voice for the industry, advocating the benefits of tax stamps, educating customs and revenue agencies on how they can better secure excise revenues (from, mainly, tobacco and alcohol), sharing best practice, and contributing to the development of the new ISO standard [ISO 19998 standard for tax stamps],’ the press note said in part.

‘Following the formal signing of the articles creating the association, the founder members elected a five-member board of directors. They are Michel Mariton of Hologram Industries, Zbiegnew of Advanced Track & Trace, Manoj Kochar of Holoflex, Christine Macqueen of SICPA and Juan Yanzez of Thomas Greg & Sons de Colombia, who was elected chairman…

‘Reconnaissance International has been formally appointed as the Secretariat. Nicola Sudan of Reconnaissance will be the Secretary General.

‘Membership of ITSA is open to legally incorporated companies and businesses that supply tax stamp components and features, as well as finished tax stamps, equipment for stamp design, manufacture, application and authentication, and systems for coding and marking stamps.’

JT’s domestic cigarette sales down in October

| November 13, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc.’s domestic cigarette sales volume during October, at 9.4 billion, was down by 1.9 percent on that of October 2014, 9.6 billion, according to preliminary figures issued by the company today. The October 2014 figure was down by 5.5 percent on that of October 2013.

Volume during January-October, at 90.7 billion, was down by 3.0 percent on that of January-October 2014, 93.5 billion, which was down by 3.2 percent on that of January-October 2013.

JT’s market share stood at 59.7 percent during October, at 59.9 percent during January-October, and at 60.4 percent during January-December 2014.

JT’s domestic cigarette revenue during October, at ¥53.4 billion, was down by 1.9 percent from its October 2014 level, ¥54.4 billion, which was down by 2.4 percent on its revenue of October 2013.

Revenue during January-October, at ¥514.0 billion, was down by 2.0 percent on that of January-October 2014, ¥524.3 billion, which was down by 1.2 percent on its revenue of January-October 2013.

ISDS reforms ‘lipstick on a particularly unpopular pig’

| November 13, 2015

The EU Commission’s reform of a dispute-settlement provision of a proposed trade-agreement has been described as “little more than putting lipstick on a particularly unpopular pig,” according to a story by William Louch for The Parliament Magazine.

The Commission yesterday presented its proposed reforms on the investment protection and dispute resolution provision of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The ‘investment court system’ (ICS) is said by its supporters to be ‘more transparent’ than the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism that it is replacing. It aims to safeguard the rights of governments to regulate but, at the same time, create a system through which investor companies can challenge regulations. Disputes would be channelled through a ‘court-like’ system with an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, and with qualified judges and transparent proceedings.

“Today [Thursday] marks the end of a long internal process in the EU to develop a modern approach on investment protection and dispute resolution for TTIP and beyond,” said European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström in announcing the new dispute process.

The Commission’s announcement has come in for criticism from some MEPs and anti-TTIP campaigners. They say that the reforms are superficial, with the ICS retaining many of the features of the old ISDS system.

“We must of course wait to see full details of the proposals, but if the ICS is merely ISDS-lite, it is clearly not something we will be happy with,” said

Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on the TTIP and CETA (Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement).

Ska Keller, of the Greens/EFA grouping, argued that changes to the mechanism were superficial. She told Parliament Magazine that “a new name does not change anything,” adding, “as long as there is a system in place for investors to litigate against states, as the compromise calls for, it is ISDS.”

Global Justice Now, a vocal critic of TTIP, said the Commission was clearly feeling the intense pressure of public feeling against the TTIP and ISDS. But its proposal amounted to little more than putting lipstick on a particularly unpopular pig, it added.

Campaigners have waged war against the ISDS provisions because they are seen as allowing multinational firms, including tobacco companies, to sue European governments in secretive tribunals ruled upon by corporate lawyers.

The full story is at:

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