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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tobacco Company Limited, following in the footsteps of its parent organization BAT Group, has taken measures to address issues of farmers, climate change and environmental management in Pakistan.

Sami Zaman, Head of External Affairs, while briefing the journalists about the company’s initiatives here on Friday, shared “the company has moved from an organization where sustainability was a part of our business to an organization where it is front and centre of everything that it does. In this connection, the company’s sustainability agenda has been refreshed to reflect the changing external environment.”

To address climate change, under its flagship initiative, afforestation, which is the largest private sector afforestation programme in the country, this year the company planted and distributed over 55 million saplings.

This was achieved through aerial seeding of seed balls in Barakahu Forest Reserve in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change, a first of its kind “throw and grow” initiative in the Margalla Hills Forest reserve in collaboration with Islamabad District Government, block afforestation in collaboration with National Rural Support Programme and issuance of free of cost saplings through its 6 plant nurseries across KPK & Punjab.

In its efforts to keep the manufacturing operations environment friendly and reducing the carbon emissions, PTC’s Jhelum & Akora Khattak factories recently installed 3.1 MW of renewable energy, which is the largest on-site solar in any BAT end market in the region. This will help PTC to improve further on its Green Energy landscape by generating 16,000 GJ and reducing 1,700 tons of CO2 annually from the Carbon footprint of both PTC factories.

He further informed media that the PTC has also expanded its solar energy footprint to its leaf depots, logistics warehouses and has initiated a partnership with its rural distributors to provide subsidized solar setup to ensure regular supply of electricity, while ensuring minimum impact on environment.

Cognizant of the growing water crisis, the company is recycling 92 million litres of water per annum to reduce its reliance on water withdrawn. Through its water stewardship strategy, the focus is on reducing its freshwater demand by recycling water and increasing the efficiency of its water infrastructure. Additionally, to reduce water usage at farm level, PTC has also deployed drip irrigation units on 215 hectares of land under its Farmer Support programme resulting in 231 million litres of water saving annually, he explained.

Sami told reporters, “We at PTC also actively work towards giving back to the communities that we operate in and for the very same reason, the company has built and continues to maintain 27 water filtration plants across nine districts providing millions of litres of safe and clean drinking water. Our aim is to combat the incidence of water borne diseases through the provision of clean drinking water to the less privileged sectors of society,” he added.

For the betterment of our valued business partners, our farmers, he said PTC had extended farmer support of Rs 2.7 billion in the last 5 years to support crop productivity enhancement. PTC also provides subsidies for loaning items like pesticides, hybrid seed, and barn flue pipes. In six years (2016-21), Rs102 million subsidy and free of cost items valuing Rs414 million were provided to PTC contracted farmers. PTC is currently providing end to end farmer facilitation for yield, quality improvement & mechanization services worth Rs30 million annually.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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