We are firmly committed to a policy of social responsibility in co-operation with our affiliated and subsidiary companies in all areas in which we operate. During 2002 CNT joined the SRTP (Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production) – program for all our tobacco operations and this is regularly successfully reviewed and audited.
Tobacco Processing: Occupational Health & Safety policy
A green leaf threshing plant, where tobacco is processed after curing, is, like any processing plant, a potentially hazardous workplace, as well as the primary processing, where the tobacco is flavoured and cut.
CNT shall comply with all applicable national and international laws and regulations regarding Occupational Health & Safety policy affecting our business activities. We have established procedures for assessing and reviewing the occupational health and safety impacts of its present and future activities on a regular basis. We shall seek continually to identify and implement all pro-active measures required to safeguard the health and safety of our employees on company premises.
The SRTP policy is an active policy on which we strive for continuous improvements. This policy all covers areas of the working environment, e.g. noise, light, dust and thermal comforts levels, as well as ergonomics and housekeeping. In addition to supplying our employees with personal protection equipment and appropriate training on the use of them, we provide regular medical check-ups. Furthermore the program covers the impact of the plant on the community and environment, e.g. recycling, waste and sewage management, noise, dust and of course energy usage/conservation.
Our concept of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) aims to ensure sustainable, economically viable production of usable tobacco. We are implementing GAPs throughout our leaf operations and aim to introduce best agricultural practices to produce a quality crop while protecting, sustaining or enhancing the environment with regard to soil, water, air, wild and plant life. We aim to train our contracted farmers to ensure that they are able to fully implement these guidelines.
The GAP program has seven main components:
- Farm productivity, farm worker safety and labour policies preventing child labour and forced labour
- Farmers training through our field extension officers
- Variety management and integrity – ensure that tobacco is GMO free
- Crop management – using best practices in farming
- Integrated pest management – alternative methods of protecting plants
- Sustainability – including the conservation of soil and bush land, reforestation/afforestation, biodiversity and the protection of water resources
- Product integrity – ensuring constant quality of tobacco.
The term “CPA” (Crop Protection Agent) refers to any chemical that might be used on or around growing tobacco, stored tobacco and tobacco products and in or around tobacco product manufacturing facilities. Tobacco, like any crop, is prone to attack from pests and disease. CPAs include any chemical that is used to control a crop disease or pest. To limit damage affecting yield or quality, any integrated pest management program (IPM) may require judicious use of CPAs. CPA management shall ensure that appropriate CPAs are only used when needed and in accord with their labelled instructions, by trained personnel using appropriate personal protective equipment. CPA management shall document correct CPA use and a plan for reduced usage. To ensure compliance with a changing regulatory environment, continuous education and testing programs are conducted to emphasize safety and stress that non-approved CPAs are not to be used.
CPA Residues shall be monitored regularly, not limited to Coresta GRLs. Only approved CPAs for tobacco will be used. Farmers are trained to ensure only approved levels of CPAs are applied and used in a technically correct way. Alternative methods of crop protection shall be supported through our IPM concept and the preferred methods will be implemented. The prime objective for CNT is using the lowest level of CPAs possible in obtaining the best yield ratio. To ensure a reduction in the CPA usage we introduced a scouting model to our farmers in which they have to monitor the diseases prior to using CPAs. Furthermore we are continuously working on alternative methods of controlling pests and diseases.
CNT is an active member of the Coresta Sub-Group “Pest and Sanitation Management in Stored Tobacco”. The Group is dealing with all aspects of combating the different infections of stored tobacco.
Green Tobacco Sickness
Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS) is well known as Nicotine intoxication caused by dermal absorption of Nicotine. It often occurs during harvesting, when workers and farmers come in contact with wet tobacco leaves containing Nicotine on their surface. The humidity allows Nicotine to enter the bloodstream and causes poisoning. CNT established operating procedures in the locally applied GAP instructions to avoid GTS. Workers shall make sure that skin is adequately covered by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes that completely cover the feet to prevent the direct contact with the Nicotine.
Soil and water conservation
Soil conservation cannot be based on a standard solution. Every growing area faces its own composition of climate, soil condition and ecology. We believe in soil protection through good agricultural practices such as crop rotation, soil mulching, erosion control through contouring, buffer zones around rivers/ lakes and monitoring of biological indicators.
The problem of NTRMs (Non Tobacco Related Materials) is well understood by CNT, as we are producers of semi-finished products ourselves. We follow a strict NTRM policy. NTRMs should be eliminated to avoid them entering the products at every stage of production, from the farm through to processing. CNT shall provide training and increased awareness on NTRM issues and the importance of clean tobacco throughout the supply chain.
Post Harvest Management
CNT is fully aware that saving energy provides more profits to farmers and helps the environment in a global perspective. We are actively supporting the design and building of new curing barns with enhanced efficiency and better curing results.
The role of deforestation in tobacco production is a serious concern to governments and the other stake holders in the tobacco industry. Our reforestation programs are designed to raise and plant sufficient trees to overcome the growing challenges faced by successful tobacco growers. The reforestation program is focused on planting a combination of indigenous and naturalized trees which will include fruit trees.
Central targets of CNTs reforestation programs are:
- To provide sustainable fuel wood and other tree products to meet the increased demand for tobacco curing and other uses
- To restore degraded land by planting indigenous and appropriate naturalized trees
- To provide additional food using fruit trees and nitrogen-neutralising trees
- To conserve the existing areas of forests and bush land
- To promote regeneration of natural forests where possible
The price paid to farmers will always be influenced by supply and demand, but through SRTP our aim is to ensure that farmers’ standards of living are maintained or increased through the introduction of good agricultural practices and consequently higher yields and quality of tobacco.
We are also committed to provide equal opportunity to each employee, without discrimination when making decisions on hiring or promotion on the employees’ race, colour, gender, age, social class, religion, sexual orientation or politics.
Where possible, vacancies should be filled internally which includes expanding each individual staff member’s potential through formal training and development programs. Recruitment strategy is based on retaining and attracting the most suitable people at all levels of the business and this is reflected in an objective approach to recruitment and selection.