Tobacco is as bad for the wallet as it is the planet

by Adrienne Lawler
June 24, 2019

The momentum continues to build. 2019 has seen a dramatic increase in awareness of tobacco-free finance and implementation of new investment frameworks that consistently see tobacco excluded from portfolios. These decisions are better for human health and better for the planet. Pressure on tobacco companies continues to rise. New anti-tobacco regulations are being implemented across the globe (including plain packaging, new tax increases, increased age of purchase to 21 years, enhanced restrictions on advertising). Litigation is increasing (notably in Canada and Brazil).

There is intensified scrutiny on supply chains (see here for the recent Guardian article on tobacco farming in Italy). Global attention is escalating regarding the ocean plastic crisis and many are surprised to learn that the number one plastic in our oceans is cigarette filters. Regarding reputation – the call for reputable organisations and individuals to distance themselves from tobacco companies is only getting stronger. The combined impact of these external forces has contributed to the recent shaky financial performance of the tobacco sector. For those who are still invested in tobacco – there has never been a better time to review your position. For the Tobacco Free Portfolios team, we have been working intensively – all across the globe – to discuss and debate tobaccofree finance.

We’ve met with investors from all across Europe, the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India and Singapore. From one-on-one meetings to private roundtables to board sessions to conference presentations, we are always ready to contribute the latest information and share global experience to help investors make fully informed decisions. The Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge is our flagship initiative – we encourage investors to become Signatories (Sign up here) and join the growing number of financial institutions who are committed to rethinking tobacco.

Sincere thanks to The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia and Mrs Lucy Turnbull AO, who very generously hosted a fundraising event for Tobacco Free Portfolios at their beautiful home in Sydney (on a magnificently sunny evening in March!). We are truly grateful for all of the support for our work – from individuals, organisations large and small and philanthropic foundations.

Bronwyn Dr. Bronwyn King AO, MBBS, FRANZCR

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