Environmental Management

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Most of our companies’ products are agricultural products. We understand the effect that nature, including changes to our climate, may have on our companies and their products.
We recognize other global concerns, such as water availability and quality, and stakeholders’ interest in knowing how we are managing our impact. In addition, thinking about how to reduce our environmental impact is another way to innovate and be more efficient.  So we think it’s important that our companies play an active role in protecting our natural resources and reducing our impact on the environment.
Altria's President & Chief Operating Officer is the executive sponsor of our environmental sustainability goals. We review progress against goals with our sponsor and operating company presidents semi-annually.
Each of our operating companies adopted an environmental policy that guides how our employees approach their work. This policy addresses air emissions, environmental assessment, hazardous materials, waste and wastewater/storm water management.
 
Altria's Environmental Goals
Altria has five-year goals to reduce our businesses’ environmental impact by 2016. Each of our companies contributes to this effort. Here are our goals, and our progress so far.​
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Environmental Management Framework
Our Environmental Management Framework helps set direction, guide decision making and promote continuous improvement. The framework includes management structure, policies, programs and measurement. Learn more
 
Here are a few examples of our companies' programs:
​Reducing Greenhouse Gases in our Facilities
​To meet our goal to reduce absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions, we need to be innovative. In 2014, Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, which are home to our two largest production facilities, switched from coal-fired boilers to natural gas boilers. This change has helped reduce their Scope 1 emissions. In addition, our operating companies are implementing programs to reduce energy use in their facilities. These efforts will help reduce costs and the emissions associated with energy use.
Preventing Cigarette Litter​
​PM USA uses cigarette packs and its corporate and consumer websites to remind smokers that cigarette butts are litter and should be disposed of properly. The company also works with others who care about this issue. Since 2002, PM USA has collaborated with Keep America Beautiful​ to provide funds to research, develop and launch the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program​ (CLPP). This program increases consumer awareness that cigarette butts are litter, installs ash receptacles at places where smokers must extinguish their cigarettes, encourages the use of portable litter devices and encourages enforcement of existing litter laws.​
Preserving the Waterways that Helped Build America
​One of PM USA’s facilities uses up to 1.8 million gallons of water per day before returning it to the James River. The company is using innovative techniques to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the facility’s wastewater. These efforts include 48 acres of engineered wetlands that use plants to absorb the nutrients in the wastewater and create a new habitat for wildlife. Learn More​
 
This same facility is also home to 8,000 solar panels – the largest solar installation in Virginia. PM USA leases space to Dominion Virginia Power for the project, which can generate enough electricity to power 500 homes.​
Working with Farmers to Reduce Environmental Impact
​Each year our companies buy millions of pounds of tobacco and grapes from farmers. Through our domestic direct contracting program, known as the Tobacco Leaders Program, we encourage consistent high-quality tobacco, innovation, efficiency and open communications with our growers. We’ve established specific Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to encourage the growth of quality tobacco under conditions that help to reduce environmental impact. We share these practices with growers, train them and then assess implementation. To learn more, visit our Sustainable Agriculture​ page.
 
Ste. Michelle also shares its best practices in sustainable viticulture and winemaking with other growers and wine producers. Ste. Michelle is a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and lends its expertise to the association’s Vinewise​ tool. This tool provides growers information and tools to help evaluate business practices and implement sustainable management strategies. Ste. Michelle initiated a collaborative effort to update Vinewise to reflect current GAP practices. It’s also integrating Vinewise into its relationships with contract growers. These contracts, along with annual assessments and routine on-site visits, enable Ste. Michelle to constantly review and improve grower practices.​
Protecting Watersheds and Reducing Water Use​

Runoff from farmland into streams or rivers can hurt water quality. We work with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation​ (NFWF) to understand how agriculture, including tobacco farming, affects watersheds so we can help reduce this impact. NFWF identified the Green River and the Chesapeake Bay as two watersheds where water quality was an issue and needed focus. We’re funding work with tobacco growers in Kentucky and Pennsylvania to pilot farming methods that don’t include tilling the soil prior to planting. This technique reduces runoff into nearby waterways and helps preserve nutrients in the soil. Working with our partners, we’re learning from this pilot program so we can educate other growers on best practices.
 
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’​ wineries in Washington, Oregon and California employ drip irrigation on all of its vineyards. Nearly all of the company’s contract growers also use this technique. It minimizes water loss by delivering water to the plant’s roots, as compared to overhead systems that water the entire vineyard. Weather stations and soil moisture-measuring probes monitor water use and eliminate wasted water. These practices have helped Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Cold Creek and Canoe Ridge Estate vineyards and Northstar vineyards earn the third party sustainable certification for LIVE and Salmon Safe since 2009.​
Sustainable Tobacco Curing​

​After harvesting tobacco, growers “cure” it using air, sun, heat and/or fire. Curing tobacco enhances the leaf’s natural flavor and reduces its moisture content, allowing it to be stored for extended periods. Around the world, growers use a variety of energy sources to cure tobacco. In the U.S., most indirect heating systems use propane or natural gas. In some countries, such as Brazil, growers use wood for curing.​
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​Our tobacco companies are supporting efforts to replenish trees used in the tobacco curing process. Although wood is used in only a small portion of the tobacco purchased by our companies, we invest in programs to re-populate the trees used. For example, in Brazil, Universal Leaf​, a PM USA tobacco supplier, reported that over the past 12 years, it supplied its contracted growers with millions of eucalyptus seedlings, which equate to about 64,000 acres of plantings for woodlots. Growers need wood for curing tobacco and building barns. These woodlots allow them to be self-sufficient for these purposes.
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