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Tobacco Reporter announces 2014 Golden Leaf Awards

| October 6, 2014

Tobacco Reporter presented its 2014 Golden Leaf Awards on Oct. 2 during a festive ceremony at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, USA. The event was part of the Global Tobacco Networking Forum, which brought together hundreds of industry representatives and other stakeholders from around the world. Five companies were recognized for their achievements in areas such as innovation, corporate social responsibility and commitment to quality. The Golden Leaf Awards are sponsored exclusively by BMJ of Indonesia.

Alliance One International won a Golden Leaf Award in the Most outstanding service to the industry category for its Grower Management System (GMS), a standardized real-time global data capture system.

The industry faces rapidly expanding reporting requirements, driving mainly by manufacturers and anticipated regulation. The source of much of this data is at the primary producer level.

AOI contracts more than 250,000 growers. Using mobile devices, GMS allows the company to instantly gather information about location, scale of operation, cultural practices employed, crop inputs, curing management and reforestation, among other parameters. In doing so, GMS underpins the industry’s focus on Good Agriculutral Practices and Agricultural Labor Practices.

Having access to such information in real time reinforces sustainable and compliant tobacco production. Through back-office functions, GMS will link with grower accounting systems, product-integrity programs and support traceability in the packed product. A derived benefit has been improved allocation of management and field staff time.

GMS was developed in house. Microsoft certified the GMS app to be included in the Windows Phone Store in October 2012.

It is anticipated that GMS will also lend greater visibility to debt recovery, a critical parameter of the integrated production system, as a leaf supplier bears the principal risk with direct financing of growers.

GMS in current form is tobacco-centric, but readily lends itself to a much broader application in agriculture at large.

The Tobacco Board of India won a Golden Leaf Award in the Most impressive public service initiative category for its implementation of an electronic auction system, which has made the marketing of flue-cured tobacco in India more transparent and accountable.

With production of about 800 million kg, India is the world’s second-largest producer of tobacco, exporting leaf to more than 100 countries. The Tobacco Board is responsible, among other things, for ensuring fair prices to tobacco growers and establishing auction platforms for the sale of Virginia tobacco.

For more many years, tobacco was auctioned manually in India. Despite its obvious success, the auction system had certain shortcomings, including susceptibility to human errors, lack of traceability and scarcity of information for stakeholders.

The Tobacco Board realized these problems could be eliminated only through quality communication aids, electronic auctioning and effective information management.

The e-auction solution was developed on a high-performance and reliable platform to effectively manage the automation process. The system has not only simplified the administrative procedures but also removed any ambiguity by ensuring that, once recorded, the winning bid cannot be tampered with.

Not only farmers have benefited from the new systems. The large amounts of data generated allow buyers to make quicker and better-informed decisions.

Tomra Sorting Solutions won a Golden Leaf Award in the Most promising new product introduction category for its Opus Tobacco Sorter, which helps tobacco processors address a negative side effect of the increasingly popular mechanical harvesting.

Rather than relying on manual labor, tobacco growers are increasingly using machines to harvest tobacco. Among other things, this allows them to clear larger fields, thus increasing efficiency and productivity.

But mechanical harvesting also has a downside. Machines are less effective at removing leaf from its stalk than humans are. This can present a problem for tobacco processors and cigarette manufacturers. Because stalks are woody, they behave complete differently than tobacco stems when processed.

If not removed, stem stalks can turn to slivers during cutting, which in turn can pierce cigarette paper. The result is efficiency losses, drops in yield and possibly lower product quality.

Presented with this problem, Tomra capitalized on its experience in multiple industries, combining technology already used for tobacco applications with solutions it had developed for the food industry.

Taking advantage Tomra proprietary camera and laser technologies, the “tobacconized” Opus sorter detects and rejects both traditional NTRM and the woody stem stalks, allowing the customer to avoid production stoppages, reduce waste and minimize energy consumption.

Shishapresso was recognized with a Golden Leaf Award in the Most exciting newcomer to the industry category.

While the cigarette industry has witnessed many innovations over the years, including mechanized production, the introduction of filters and special papers, the shisha business has remained largely unchanged. Today’s shisha smokers consume their tobacco in essentially the same way they did centuries ago.

Shishapresso is determined to change that. The company has developed a solution that eliminates the mess and hassle involved with the preparation of a hookah. Involving only three easy steps and a hookah, Shishapresso’s capsule and specially designed shisha ceramic head ensure a consistent smoking experience.

The Shishapresso capsules are filled with the finest shisha tobacco molasses, made from quality European Virginia tobacco leaves that are infused with quality flavors. Each capsule contains exactly the right amount of tobacco, the right texture and a unique foil-hole pattern. Smokers can select from 20 different flavors.

Shishapresso capsules are available in the U.S. and will be launched globally.

White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes won a Golden Leaf Award in the BMJ Most committed to quality category. While most e-cigarette manufacturers rely on Chinese manufacturing, which is cheaper due to lower labor cost and less-stringent government regulations, White Cloud is committed to setting up fully automated, U.S.-based operations.

In a major step toward that goal, the company relocated production of its e-cigarette cartridges entirely to the United States in May. Prior to that, the company was already sourcing and manufacturing its White Cloud e-liquid in the U.S.

The move to automation was made possible by the development of the company’s new proprietary cartridge, Cleardraw 2, which allows for automated production rather than the traditional hand filling techniques typically used by companies in China. Automated filling in the end market promotes not only greater quality control and better regulatory compliance, it also ensures fresh ingredients.

White Cloud’s development in quality and innovation comes on the heels of the recent FDA proposal for more stringent regulations within the e-cigarette industry. While the proposal was largely focused on marketing and age-restriction, it signaled a shift toward increased FDA control over e-cig production and manufacturing standards, which White Cloud believes makes automated production in the end market more important moving forward.


And the winners are…

| November 8, 2013

golden leaf award winners 2013Tobacco Reporter hands out its 2013 Golden Leaf Awards.

TR Staff Report

Tobacco Reporter presented its 2013 Golden Leaf Awards on Nov. 7 during a festive ceremony in Simon’s Restaurant at the famous Groot Constantia Vineyard near Cape Town, South Africa. The event was part of the Global Tobacco Networking Forum, which brought together hundreds of industry representatives and other stakeholders from around the world. Six companies received trophies in five different categories—with British American Tobacco and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. tying in the Most exciting new product introduction category.

Cigarette paper manufacturer BMJ, the exclusive sponsor of the Golden Leaf Awards, took the opportunity to introduce its new CEO, Omar Rahmanadi, and officially launch its new corporate logo and slogan, Eureka Everyday. Wine flowed generously during the evening, and Fred Vandermarliere of J. Cortès Cigars lifted the spirits even higher with a humorous speech about the cigar trade. The ceremony concluded with a performance from Hot Water, a South African band that has become an international sensation with its exhilarating mixture of blues, kwela, maskandi, rock and sakkie sakkie music styles.

Following are the winners of the 2013 Golden Leaf Awards, by category:

Most impressive public service initiative

Alliance One Kenya won a Golden Leaf Award in this category for its work in reducing deforestation in Kenya. Kenya’s new constitution requires that forests should cover 10 percent of the country’s territory by 2030—the figure currently stands at 1.7 percent. Alliance One is playing its part by running an afforestation project with a target of 4 million trees per year. In addition, the company has been actively researching and developing alternatives to wood fuel for tobacco curing. Among other initiatives, it has invested in a briquetting plant.

Most promising new product introduction

British American Tobacco (BAT) and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. (RJR) tied in this category.

BAT won a Golden Leaf Award for its BAT Toxicants iPad application. The app, which describes the results of BAT’s first clinical study of reduced-toxicant prototype cigarettes, aims to raise awareness of tobacco science in general and the research carried out at BAT’s U.K. R&D center in particular. It fits in BAT’s objective to be transparent about its research. Given the detailed background in the app regarding how toxicants are formed in smoke, BAT believes the app could also serve as an educational tool.

R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. won a Golden Leaf Award for its Vuse digital vapor cigarette. Examining the e-cigarette category, RJR observed a high level of trial but a low rate of adoption, which the company attributed to poor product performance. RJR set out to develop an e-cigarette that would truly meet the needs and expectations of adult tobacco consumers. Equipped with a digital microprocessors and smart memory chip, the Vuse delivers the consistent and realistic smoking experience that has been lacking in other e-cigarettes, says RJR.

Most exciting newcomer to the industry

White Cloud Electronic Cigarettes won the Golden Leaf Award in the Most exciting newcomer to the industry category. Disappointed with the quality of existing e-cigarettes, the founders of White Cloud set out to develop a product using better design and technology, with quality control as the focal point. Since then, there have been five generations of batteries and four generations of cartridges. The company takes great pride in the quality of its products. Rather than focusing only on the initial sale, White Cloud seeks to build a strong, enduring relationship with its customers.

Most outstanding service to the industry

Andromeda Forwarding and Logistics won a Golden Leaf Award in the Most outstanding service to the industry category. Established in 1998 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the company has evolved from a traditional international freight forwarder to a global provider of integrated supply-chain solutions for a comprehensive range of industries. Andromeda’s solutions combine air freight, ocean freight and trucking operations worldwide. The company specializes in warehousing, handling, sampling, storage and fumigation requirements in Antwerp. Andromeda Forwarding also offers customs clearance and brokerage, warehousing and distribution, insurance, rail transportation and barge transportation services.

BMJ most committed to quality

Seke took home the BMJ Most committed to quality category for its efforts to reduce the cost of oriental tobacco production in Greece. In 2010, the company pioneered sand seedbeds, which require little irrigation and no cultivation. Taking advantage of existing curing structures, this approach reduced the cost of production by 30 percent. Seke also invested in mechanization, introducing modified machines for the efficient hoeing of tobacco. Mechanization reduced labor costs associated with hoeing by 90 percent. It also decreased the quantity of fertilizer used.

Golden Leaf Awards

| March 30, 2012

Tobacco Reporter, in association with our exclusive sponsor, BMJ, has presented the industry’s only annual awards for excellence since 2006, recognizing companies, products or individuals for performance in the following categories:

Most impressive public service initiative

Most promising new product introduction

Most exciting newcomer to the industry

Most outstanding service to the industry

BMJ Most committed to quality

Complete the latest Golden Leaf Awards entry form here

Trophies have been presented and winners recognized at an awards banquet, hosted by BMJ, each year. Our 2012 winners will be unveiled at Tobacco Reporter’s 2012 GTNF in June in Antwerp, Belgium.

Enter your company, products or co-workers in our next Golden Leaf Awards by submitting the appropriate forms, found here.

2012 Golden Leaf Award winners, recognized in Antwerp, Belgium

Alliance One International                        Most impressive public service initiative

Heinen Koehl                                                    Most promising new product introduction

Perten Instruments AB                                 Most exciting newcomer to the industry

Mane                                                                     Most outstanding service to the industry

Mane                                                                     BMJ Most committed to quality



Previous winners include

2011 Golden Leaf Award winners, recognized in Prague, Czech Republic

Alliance One International                          Most impressive public service initiative

Reconex                                                              Most promising new product introduction

ECO2                                                                     Most exciting newcomer to the industry

NDC Infrared Engineering                            Most outstanding service to the industry

Vrijdag Premuim Printing                            BMJ Most committed to quality


2010 Golden Leaf Award winners, recognized in Balgalore, India

Universal Leaf Africa                                       Most impressive public service initiative

Iggesund Paperboard                                      Most promising new product introduction

Manifattura Italiana Tabacco                       Most exciting newcomer to the industry

Godioli e Bellanti                                               Most outstanding service to the industry

EDAPS Consortium                                           BMJ Most committed to quality


2009 Golden Leaf Award winners, recognized in Bangkok, Thailand

Sopariwala Exports                                          Most impressive public service initiative

Filligent Ltd.                                                        Most promising new product introduction

Arabian Nights                                                  Most exciting newcomer to the industry

U.S. Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers            Most outstanding service to the industry

Bimo Italia SpA                                                  BMJ Most committed to quality


2008 Golden Leaf Award winners, recognized in Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Universal Leaf Tobacco Co.                          Most impressive public service initiative

U.S. Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers            Most promising new product introduction                                          Most exciting newcomer to the industry

Universal Leaf Tobacco Co.                          Most outstanding service to the industry

ITC Printing & Packaging                                BMJ Most committed to quality


2007 Golden Leaf Award winners, recognized in Paris, France

ILTD (ITC)                                                            Most impressive public service initiative

GCH                                                                         Most promising new product introduction

Uncommitted Tobacco Auction                 Most exciting newcomer to the industry

Colin Mear Engineering                                  Most outstanding service to the industry

ILTD (ITC)                                                             BMJ Most committed to quality


2006 Golden Leaf Award winners, recognized in Bali, Indonesia

Lakson Tobacco Company                            Most impressive public service initiative

Titan Adhesives                                                 Most promising new product introduction

TobaccoPeople                                                  Most exciting newcomer to the industry

Celenese Acetate                                               Most outstanding service to the industry

WinterBell                                                            BMJ Most committed to quality

Committed to quality

| February 1, 2011

The EDAPS Consortium continues to live up to its Golden Leaf Award in the BMJ most committed to quality category.

By Brandy Brinson

After the Ukraine-based EDAPS Consortium won its Golden Leaf Award last year (See “And the winners are…,” Tobacco Reporter, December 2010), the company said it was ready to prove the quality of its products and solutions on new international markets, and that the award would encourage it to continue raising the bar for excellence in both the quality and security of its solutions for the tobacco industry. And indeed, since last November, EDAPS has been busy innovating to secure the collection of excise duties on tobacco products and protect against counterfeiting.

Formed in 2004, the EDAPS Consortium is a global group of high-tech companies that possesses its own world-level scientific base and a highly technological production and service network. It says it is the only group in the world with in-house capabilities to produce and implement the most highly secure identification documents and corresponding electronic systems.

Having implemented more than 300 major projects, EDAPS combines unrivalled expertise in securing documents and products by using unique proprietary technologies in the fields of lasers, polycarbonate, biometrics, demetallized holograms, electronic systems and contact and contactless chips, says Nataliia Kochubey, vice president of the EDAPS Consortium.

EDAPS has 3,245 staff members, including 110 engaged in research and development. More than $250 million has been invested to create the EDAPS production and R&D infrastructure.

The company is led by Alexander Vassiliev, who serves as chairman of the board. Iryna Obydenko serves as president of EDAPS. She is also deputy chairman of the board of the Commercial Industrial Bank.


EDAPS became involved in the tobacco industry through developing a comprehensive solution that uses forgery-proof tax and control stamps with holographic security elements (HSE), combined with a track-and-trace information system to secure the collection of excise duties as well as to curb tax stamp counterfeiting.

In the production of the HSEs, EDAPS’ member company, Specialized Enterprise Holography, uses state-of-the-art technologies, including electronic lithography and advanced demetallization technology. EDAPS solutions have enabled government agencies to more than double excise tax collections from cigarettes and tobacco products. EDAPS can help the tobacco industry restore revenues being lost through illicit trade.

EDAPS says its tax stamp solution offers:

  • superior security—a robust combination of a comprehensive electronic system, encrypted information, Public Key Infrastructure, on-paper advanced security features and enhanced holograms, which makes any forgery immediately and easily recognizable;
  • a comprehensive approach—includes proven enforcement methodology that addresses human psychology, regulatory framework ensuring issuance, circulation and verification of tax stamps on tobacco products;
  • ease of use—EDAPS tax stamps are printed or applied with no waste using universally available equipment that generally forms an integral part of packaging lines, making tax stamp authenticity easily verifiable and traceable (naked eye, via the Internet and SMS).

Kochubey says the hologram is key for developing secure tax stamps. “The secure hologram is a major overt security element that cannot be reproduced using printing techniques. The employment of secure holograms considerably undermines counterfeit risk. Moreover, visual authentication of such holograms does not require any special skills, making holograms a reliable and convenient tool for prompt product authentication by both experts and ordinary customers, which similar holograms widely implemented in Euro banknotes testify to.”

Tax stamps include:

  • Highly enhanced and holography-based security elements
  • Advanced security printing features
  • Unique number
  • Secure barcode technology
  • Options of low/no cost—sizable economic benefit.

Along with HSEs, the EDAPS tax stamp embraces a wide range of security printing technologies: antiscanner background grids, pseudo-embossed images, micrographics, microtext, elements printed with visible and invisible UV inks, thermochromic ink and other security features. In addition, the tax stamp number is printed in special ink that changes its color when it is permeated through the entire layer of the stamp and is clearly visible on both sides.

New products

EDAPS recently developed a track-and-trace system that facilitates the monitoring of excise duty revenues, stems illicit trade and promotes legitimate trade of excisable products.

A distinctive and efficient security feature of a tax stamp is its individual serial number that is a combination of a regional and a unique multidigit code. This unique integrated code-facilitating track and trace of tax stamps throughout the supply chain is generated by the sophisticated database system.

The track and trace system offers:

  • Tracking of the amount and origin of excisable products throughout the supply chain (from the production line to the point of sale, including options for aggregation assessment).
  • On-line and real-time reporting and accounting that reflects data on excisable products/tax stamps/tax revenues.
  • State-of-the-art and highly reliable data exchange technologies
  • Time and cost-effective solution.


The track-and-trace system’s specificities of authentication include:

  • Naked eye: overt secure features not requiring the application of a special tool, skill or knowledge
  • Digital: serial number or barcode verification via the Internet, phone or SMS
  • Expert: extremely user-friendly detectors for performing forensic authentication

Competitive edge

Compared with its competitors, EDAPS says it is the only enterprise in the world that has in-house facilities and production lines for the issuance of tax stamps with HSEs. It also has a state-of-the-art database and verification technology as well as profound experience in addressing administrative and enforcement issues.

EDAPS has acknowledged experience in rendering expertise and production capacity to automate the revenue tax collection system enhanced with high-security elements. A vital aspect that EDAPS has introduced into the revenue tax collection system is the possibility to deliver tax stamps, accompanying systems and services to ensure technically competent expertise, and software programming and project management, as well as to provide production machinery and tools, if required, and to offer training courses, which in fact represents a true turn-key solution.

The EDAPS technology has a sound track record: One designed and implemented system promptly doubled excise tax collections. For three years from the project implementation date additional tax collections have reached almost $5 billion, which exceeds the amount annually collected through the traditionally applied tax stamp system.

“Recovering billions of dollars in lost tobacco taxes has become possible only owing to a radically innovative approach of EDAPS—a comprehensive solution which integrates forgery-proof tax stamps incorporating various high-security elements into the robust automated tax control system,” says Kochubey.

EDAPS has successfully implemented nationwide projects in Ukraine, with a population of 45 million, and in Kenya, with 39 million citizens. Since 2002, the EDAPS’ member-enterprise SE Holography has rendered technical support for the tobacco tax stamp control system supplied to the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance. Its efficiency was proven by 50 billion collections from tax duties. This system includes the issuance of tax stamps, the creation and administration of the system database, further maintenance and elaboration of enforcement methodology and technology. Consequently, Ukraine has decreased the spread of counterfeit tobacco products and raised the amount of excise revenues. As compared with 2008, the excise collections in 2009 grew by $400 million—an increase of 80 percent.

The quality of the products and the experience of EDAPS on highly secure ID documents and IT systems have been recognized by organizations such as the ICAO, OSCE and Interpol as some of the best in the world. The EDAPS-produced De Beers Diamond Passport provides for the first time a forgery-proof certification of De Beers diamonds and jewelry items.

Future devices

There are many challenges to overcome moving ahead with security. Andriy Tymoshenko, director of production of SE Holograpy, says the global spread of holographic technologies seriously diminished faith in their reliability. “Massive production of counterfeited holographic security features in the Far East and Asia creates numerous problems in brand protection and document security. Thus it is necessary to look for other optical phenomena to create distinctive and easily recognizable features.” Looking ahead, she says the latest achievements in nanotechnology and materials science offer enough ideas to move forward.

There is now a global trend to use more and more complex technological solutions in the development of security devices. Tymoshenko says, “This has to be not a simple aggregation of different proven solutions but creation of new products where components of different physical natures interact with each other. The most promising approach is the combination of RFID tags and diffractive optical elements. In this case the RFID antenna may be an integral part of the optical security feature.”