We communicate expectations for our suppliers through Altria's Supplier Code of Conduct
, Tobacco Good Agricultural Practices Supplemental Guidelines and our contracts.
Our Supplier Code of Conduct addresses compliance with applicable laws, regulations and standards. The Code covers topics such as non-discrimination, child and forced labor, environmental compliance and workplace safety.
The Tobacco GAP Program Supplemental Guidelines
, communicated to our over 2,000 tobacco growers in 2018 through handouts and one-on-one conversations, highlight our expectations on topics like using registered farm labor contractors and respecting their worker's rights to join or not to join a union.
In our tobacco grower contracts, our requirements exceed the law for certain provisions. For example, the contracts:
- establish a minimum employment age of 16, with limited exceptions granted based on local, state and federal laws;
- require parental/legal guardian consent for those under 18 who want to work on the farm; and
- require growers to take Good Agricultural Practices training on a range of topics including:
- preventing Green Tobacco Sickness and heat stress;
- keeping compliant wage records; and
- preventing human trafficking.
Philip Morris USA launched a direct-contracting program, now known as the Tobacco Leaders Program.
PM USA formally launched its Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program.
PM USA created a grower scorecard to communicate grower performance on contractual requirements.
PM USA established a company grower representative team to build stronger relationships between the company and contracted growers.
Altria's tobacco companies worked with others to develop the U.S. Tobacco GAP Handbook.
PM USA supported the development of GAP Connections, which provides governance and oversight of the U.S. Tobacco GAP Handbook and related grower education programs.
Altria required GAP training for growers including the prevention of Green Tobacco Sickness
and heat stress. Also, Altria supported programs to provide this training to workers.
Altria distributed about 75,000 PPE gowns to all of our tobacco growers who use hired labor, to help prevent GTS. The selected garment had full-length sleeves for coverage and water-resistant material.
Altria gathered feedback from growers regarding the usability, effectiveness and durability of the 2017 PPE gowns. The manufacturer made modifications to the gowns based on this feedback and Altria distributed about 75,000 PPE gowns to all of our tobacco growers who use hired labor.
GAP Connections Board of Directors, of which Altria is a founding member, launched a voluntary Tobacco Grower Certification Program. Participating growers receive training and resources to implement labor management practices that protect the rights of their workers and promote a safe working environment, among other things.