Tobacco leaf sourcing is a key part of our supply chain, and a critical component of
future business growth. We have been working closely with our directly contracted tobacco leaf growers and
merchants to build security of supply and enhance leaf provenance. This gives us greater flexibility when
responding to changing market requirements.
In 2018, we contracted 46,500 tobacco leaf growers directly in Brazil, Ethiopia, Japan,
Malawi, Serbia, Tanzania, Turkey, the U.S., and Zambia. The number of growers we work with will increase by
approximately 65% in 2019, as a result of our acquisition of United Dhaka Tobacco Company Limited in Bangladesh
in 2018. Contracting leaf growers directly allows us to monitor cultivation and labor practices more
effectively. We currently employ 373 Leaf Production Technicians in our international tobacco
each supports on average 89 directly contracted growers. They visit every farm between seven and nine times
during the course of the cropping cycle to ensure the growers understand how to implement best practices. We
encourage open dialogue, which allows continuous improvement on the farms. In our Japanese operations, our 126
Leaf Production Technicians are each assigned an average of 40 directly contracted growers to observe through
site visits and questionnaire surveys.
*1Percentage rates are based on planned volume.
*2This number excludes Bangladesh as it was recently acquired and Ethiopia as it operates
on a different model
We will implement our Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) program in all sourcing countries by 2025.
Our Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) are based on the International Labor Organization’s conventions and
recommendations. The program consists of three pillars: tackling child labor, respect for the rights of workers,
and ensuring workplace health and safety.
Whether we source tobacco directly or through tobacco leaf merchants, all of our suppliers have a contractual
obligation to implement our Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP). ALP drives a continual cycle of improvement and
dialogue, a concept deeply rooted in our business. By speaking to growers about their experiences and the issues
they face, we can constantly make improvements on the ground and anticipate future challenges. Read more on ALP
in our booklet published on jti.com.
We previously made a commitment to implement ALP in all sourcing countries by 2019. We are pleased to share that
in 2018, we observed 96% of our directly contracted growers and 96% of our tobacco leaf merchants reported
We were able to achieve almost 100% coverage in a relatively short period of time due to a successful pilot
program in our international tobacco business that ran between 2013 and 2016. Our learning shaped our current
approach and enabled effective implementation with both our directly contracted growers and tobacco leaf
We have now broadened the target to include new acquisitions in countries such as Bangladesh and Ethiopia.
ALP Implementation in JAPAN
We have a long-standing relationship with growers in Japan. Following a 2017 pilot study, the ALP program was
fully implemented in 2018. We carried out farm visits and questionnaire surveys to address labor issues on
tobacco farms. Based on our findings and observations, we will continue to make improvements.
Our progress against the target
Of our directly contracted growers were observed against ALP
Of our leaf merchants reported against ALP
Engagement in 2018
Working in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders has been key to the progress and success of the ALP
program. Our relationships with directly contracted growers have continued to produce tangible results due to
face-to-face training and regular farm visits. Through a series of global and local meetings in 2018, we spoke to
merchants about the strategic direction of the program.
This helped to identify additional areas of interest, such as special training on the ground, and a need for innovative
mechanisms to manage labor risks. We also engaged with government agencies in the countries where we operate, in order
to address fair and safe labor conditions at a local level.
Our international tobacco business is an active member of the Sustainable Tobacco Program (STP). This industry-wide
platform enables businesses to share best practices on labor standards, safe workplaces, and sustainable tobacco
agriculture. Throughout 2018, we exchanged ideas with other STP members to further develop and improve the program.
In 2018, we became part of the Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains pilot project. This initiative is run
by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations. By participating in this project, we have been able to share our own experiences, broaden our
understanding, and benchmark against others.
Grower Clubs in Zambia
In Zambia, we have an established network of approximately 465 Grower Clubs. Each Club is formed of 10
to 20 growers and led by a Chairman. The aim of the Clubs is to bring growers closer together and create
more effective dialogue. The Clubs allow continuous communication and engagement on a variety of topics
such as Farmer Finance, Agricultural Labor Practices, Minimum Agronomic Standards, and other best
practices. In 2018, we trained over 452 Chairmen, in partnership with the government and the banking
sector. As a result, all of our contracted growers in Zambia, for instance, now have bank accounts.
Our activities in Japan
In order to share effective tobacco cultivation practices with growers, in 2018 we established the ‘JT
Farm’ in Japan. The farm functions as a development center, where we try out new techniques and methods
before introducing them to growers.
ENHANCED CURING AND BALING
We are implementing a new curing process for burley tobacco, which can reduce working hours by 15%. This
method also helps to prevent the contamination of non-tobacco related materials during green leaf baling.
ARISE – Achieving Reduction of Child Labor in Support of Education
We work collaboratively with growers,
communities, business leaders, and
governments to create solutions that
address the root causes of child labor
whilst always keeping the child’s right to
quality education at the heart of what we
do. Year on year, we help more children
into formal education and create new
opportunities for them and their families.
Social Programs Director, JT International
Our flagship program, ARISE – Achieving Reduction of Child Labor in Support of Education – has been
committed to tackling child labor in our tobacco growing communities since 2011.
In 2018, ARISE placed 7,123 children into formal education, building on the impact of previous years. The
program is forging real sustainable change by implementing robust solutions to prevent child labor. For more
details on the program, see ariseprogram.org.
In preparation for the next phase of the program starting in 2019, the ARISE team carried out a Social
Return on Investment assessment of the program in 2018. The aim was to better understand the value of our
investments, from the perspective of our beneficiaries. The findings helped us to complete a comprehensive
review of all the program’s activities, showing their impact on both the beneficiaries and our business.
The review identified a number of activities that are particularly valuable in creating a positive impact. These
include, for instance, income generating activities at a household level.
The assessment has affirmed the great value ARISE has brought to the communities where we operate over the last eight
years. The findings will also enable ARISE to become a more scalable and leaner program in future.
Although the ARISE program is formally monitored and evaluated, it currently lacks a system to monitor the progression
of children withdrawn from child labor over time. The program has incorporated this learning into the design of the next
phase, by digitizing our approach to child labor monitoring.
This year has also seen a reshaping of the ARISE program and the contractual framework supporting it. From 2019 onwards,
we will continue to work with our contractual partner Winrock International (a US based internationally renowned NGO) to
deliver the program. Although the International Labour Organization (ILO) will no longer be a contractual partner, we
welcome the ILO’s commitment to continue engaging with the program on the ground.
In the next phase of ARISE, we are committed to scaling up the ARISE program together with Winrock, and during 2019, we
will embark on new and innovative partnerships that will allow us to digitize our approach to child labor monitoring in
our directly contracted sourcing origins, where ARISE is currently active.
In 2018, we focused on raising awareness about child labor in the communities where we operate, through radio
and local events. Therefore, our numbers of community members educated in child labor elimination have increased
significantly in Zambia and Tanzania, in particular. An educated community will also enable us to increase the
children taken off farms and into schools in the coming years.
We will replace all wood from natural forests used in the tobacco curing process of our directly
contracted growers with renewable fuel sources by 2030.
Responsibly managing the use of natural resources within our operations supports the long-term viability of our
business, and helps protect the environment. That’s why we have embedded forestry considerations into internal
management processes and strategic decision-making throughout the organization.
We have been working closely with our growers to improve tobacco yield and quality. Reducing intensity in use of soil,
water, and wood generates increased returns for growers and a reduction in environmental impact – all of which makes our
business more sustainable.
In countries where tobacco production depends on wood for the curing process, we believe it is our responsibility to
ensure this resource is managed and used efficiently while also contributing to environmental conservation.
Agronomy development and extension training
For me, as a researcher, JTI’s
commitment to the real quest for
sustainability has been very motivating.
Our partnership forms a sound
foundation for developing energy
sustainability strategies for small-scale
tobacco growers. This in turn helps to
generate income, reduce GHG emissions,
and increase the productivity of planted
forests, securing a sustainable supply of
wood for tobacco production.
Professor Dr. Jorge A. Farias,
Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil
We have model tobacco farms in Brazil and Zambia, also known as Agronomy Development and Extension Training
(ADET) centers. This is where we carry out applied agricultural and environment related research and
development related to soil management, mechanization, production cost efficiencies, and cultural practices.
These innovative centers enable us to study, test, innovate, and calibrate our ideas, before taking them to
growers as recommended best practices. The ultimate goal is to ensure tobacco farming remains viable and
profitable for our tobacco growers, while respecting and complying with the relevant environmental
requirements and regulations.
In our ADET centers, we focus on forestry research to improve wood production and efficiency in tobacco
curing, as well as on forest conservation and rehabilitation. We identify the forestry challenges along with
applicable solutions to minimize our impact on the environment at small-scale farm level.
Since 2013, we have been organizing ADETs days, to which growers from around the country are invited to participate.
Last year, more than 1,100 growers attended the day, the theme being “Preparing the soil for a new future”. The growers
learnt about technological innovation in tobacco production, as well as in soil and environment conservation.
Another fundamental part of these model farms is capacity building. There is a robust and continuous cycle of training
and engagement of our Leaf Production Technicians, who pass on their knowledge of best agricultural practices and
innovation to the growers.
Our minimum forestry standards
Through our ADET centers, we have developed our Minimum Forestry Standards – a set of forestry specifications and
guidelines that our growers must follow. We have established these standards in all the countries where our
growers use wood for tobacco curing, either as a source of curing fuel or for live barn structures: Brazil (2012)
and Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia (2014). As a result, growers in those countries are able to establish and manage
better quality woodlots. This approach brings us closer to achieving sustainability in wood supply. It also
reduces our environmental impact by helping to avoid deforestation and improve the conservation prospects for
An innovative development of the ADET centers are Matope (mud) barns, a more fuel-efficient type of curing
Using Matope barns can lower wood consumption by 75% and reduce carbon emissions by 12%. At the same time,
cured leaf yields are 17% higher, while the quality of leaf also improves and grower returns rise by
approximately 400 U.S. dollars per hectare. Growers in Zambia installed over 1,300 Matope barn units in 2018.
This is an important development, as the emissions associated with curing tobacco leaf represent the largest
single source of Scope 3 emissions for our business.
As well as securing the long-term supply of quality tobacco leaf for our business, we also want to create shared value.
We do this by providing services that increase grower productivity, while at the same time always trying to improve our
social and environmental impact. This results in higher yields and better quality, which in turn drives greater
Grower return is based on more than price alone. By enabling growers to become more productive and efficient in the way
they grow, harvest, and cure tobacco leaf, we ultimately help them to use resources wisely and responsibly, and increase
profits. For example, we help to cut costs by using fertilizers and agrochemicals more efficiently. This can lead to
cost reductions of up to 20%.
All of our leaf suppliers are expected to follow Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) as set out by the Cooperation Centre
for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco (CORESTA). The concept of GAP is to produce a quality crop while protecting,
sustaining, or enhancing the environment with regard to soil, water, air, animal, and plant life (see www.coresta.org).
In addition to GAP, the majority of our directly contracted growers are also required to comply with our Minimum
Agronomic Standards (MAS). These growers are contracted to grow tobacco under our stewardship. In return, they receive
both credit for prescribed crop inputs as well as dedicated extension service provision from one of our Leaf Production
Technicians. This support includes advice and recommendations throughout the entire crop cycle.
Contracted large-scale commercial growers – notably in the U.S. – don’t require dedicated extensive service provision
from us. This is why not all of our directly contracted growers are required to comply with MAS.
These farming practices are not limited to tobacco. We encourage growers to use seasonal crop rotation i.e. growing
other crops such as groundnuts or maize on the same land in alternate seasons. This provides extra income, improved food
security, and soil conservation.
We are always looking to improve our understanding of tobacco farming. Our investment in research and development
involves partnering with leading international academic institutions in the development of innovative new ways of
Contributing to forest rehabilitation in Brazil
JTI has partnered with the Wildlife Research and Environmental Education Society to restore over 300
hectares of permanent protection areas in Brazil with funding from the National Bank for Socio-Economic
Development. These areas include land owned by tobacco growers and part of the Irati National Forest.
The restoration work started in 2018. In Irati National Forest, 35 hectares of pine trees were replaced by
native species to help restore the natural landscape. The project also involved the training of 33 local
college students in ecological restoration.
We defined priority areas in strategic river basins, based on factors such as soil, rain, and proximity to
other projects, to create green corridors (strips of land with sufficient habitat to support wildlife)
connecting different regions. One of the first sites we selected was the Taquaral river basin in Parana
State. We introduced the project through a series of mobilization meetings, attended by 200 local growers.
The partnership provides growers with technical assistance and support, before and after the restoration
work begins. We are committed to protecting and restoring natural forests, and supporting local communities.