Environmental Management

Responsible Water Consumption
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates vineyards use drip irrigation and soil moisture-measuring probes to monitor water use and eliminate wasted water in the vineyards.
Responsible Water Consumption
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates vineyards use drip irrigation and soil moisture-measuring probes to monitor water use and eliminate wasted water in the vineyards.
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​Our companies play an active role in protecting our natural resources and reducing our environmental impact.
​We understand the effect that nature, including changes to our climate and water quality and availability, may have on our companies and their products.  That’s why we set long term environmental goals and regularly share progress.​
Altria's Environmental Goals
In 2016, Altria established new long-term goals to reduce our environmental impact by the end of 2025. We considered best practices and resources from the Science Based Targets initiative for carbon emissions in developing these goals. Our previous progress can be found here.
Some of our operating companies established additional goals. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is focusing on biodiversity by increasing the number of vineyards and wineries certified by a third party. Ste. Michelle is also focusing on increasing the percent of recycled materials used in its wine bottles. Nu Mark is focusing on increasing consumer awareness of battery recycling.
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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.

​Here are some of our programs that support our environmental framework and goals:​
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Working with Farmers
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Working with Farmers to Reduce Environmental Impact
Each year our companies buy millions of pounds of tobacco and grapes from farmers. We encourage consistent high-quality tobacco, innovation, efficiency and open communications with our growers through the Tobacco Leaders Program (TLP), our domestic direct contracting program. As our relationships with fa​rmers grew through the TLP, we heard there were inconsistent Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards. So we worked with farmers to create guidance to promote sustainable agricultural practices. In 2012, PM USA, USSTC and Middleton endorsed the U.S. Tobacco GAP han​dbook, developed with grower association representatives, other tobacco manufacturers, leaf merchants, land-grant universities and tobacco stakeholders. The handbook promotes agricultural practices that produce quality crops while protecting the environment and supporting farm laborer rights. 

Ste. Michelle shares its sustainable viticulture and winemaking best practices with partner 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. VineWise gives growers tools to evaluate business practices and implement sustainable management strategies. Ste. Michelle started a collaborative effort to update VineWise to reflect current GAP practices. These contracts, along with annual assessments and routine on-site visits, allow Ste. Michelle to constantly review and improve grower practices.
Reducing Greenhouse Gases in our Facilities
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Reducing Greenhouse Gases in our Facilities
​We need to innovate to meet our Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions' goals.​

  • In 2014, Philip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, which are home to our largest production facilities, switched from coal-fired boilers to natural gas boilers. This change reduced their Scope 1 emissions.​

Our operating companies also implement programs to reduce their facilities’ energy use.​

  • PM USA is replacing HID and fluorescent T-12 lighting with more energy-efficient LED lighting that includes motion sensing, dimming and energy management controls. The project will take several years to complete but has already resulted in reducing 3.5 million kwhr annually and saving millions of dollars.
Preventing Cigarette Litter
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Preventing Cigarette Litter
PM USA reminds adult smokers on cigarette packs and its consumer websites that cigarette butts are litter and should be disposed properly. Since 2002, PM USA has supported Keep America Beautiful to research, develop and launch the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. This program drives consumer awareness that cigarette butts are litter, installs receptacles at places where smokers must extinguish their cigarettes, encourages the use of portable ashtrays and supports enforcement of litter laws.
Protecting the James River
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Protecting the James River
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 wildlife habitat. 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.​
Protecting Watersheds and Reducing Water Use
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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, like tobacco farming, affects watersheds. NFWF identified the Green River and the Chesapeake Bay as two watersheds where water quality needed focus. We’re funding work with Kentucky and Pennsylvania tobacco growers to pilot farming methods that don’t include tilling the soil before planting. This technique reduces runoff and helps keep nutrients in the soil. We’ll share our learnings from this pilot program with other growers.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates'​ wineries in Washington, Oregon and California use drip irrigation on its vineyards. Most 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 achieve third party sustainable certification for LIVE and Salmon Safe​ since 2009.​
Sustainable Tobacco Curing
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Sustainable Tobacco Curing
​After harvesting tobacco, growers "cure" it using air, sun, heat and/or fire. Curing tobacco increases the leaf’s natural flavor and reduces its moisture, allowing it to be stored longer. Around the world, growers use different kinds of energy to cure tobacco. For example:

  • In the U.S., propane or natural gas is often used. 
  • In some countries, like Brazil, growers use wood.​

Our tobacco companies support replenishing trees used in the tobacco curing process. Although wood curing is used in only a small amount of the tobacco our companies purchase, we invest in programs to re-populate the trees. 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 is equal to about 88,000 acres of woodlot plantings. These woodlots allow growers to be self-sufficient when they use wood for curing tobacco and building barns.​