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Tobacco industry seeks fair treatment in vaccination drive
In a recent The Economist Sustainability Week forum, it was found that the tobacco industry was not only excluded from the COVID-19 vaccination program of some governments but was also barred from collaborating with government agencies, NGOs and even agencies of the United Nations.
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Tobacco industry seeks fair treatment in vaccination drive

(The Philippine Star) - April 10, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The tobacco industry is lamenting the perceived bias against it in several countries’ COVID-19 vaccination program, pointing out that this endangers the lives of over 100 million people from the tobacco industry alone, including 40 million farmers.

In a recent The Economist Sustainability Week forum, it was found that the tobacco industry was not only excluded from the COVID-19 vaccination program of some governments but was also barred from collaborating with government agencies, NGOs and even agencies of the United Nations (UN).

”The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals call for increased partnerships, yet in contrast to this, some UN agencies and organizations call to exclude certain industries from such partnerships,” said Suzanne Wise, senior vice president for corporate affairs and communications of Japan Tobacco Inc. (JTI).

“The best way to protect human rights is to follow the United Nation’s Guiding Principles (UNGPs) framework which applies to both states and businesses,” she said.

It was unanimously acknowledged during The Economist virtual summit that regulation and policy must reflect the benefits of collaboration, and that to bring about positive change, all views should be included, discriminative policies eradicated, and unrelated personal agendas set-aside.

In spite of this exclusion, JTI has successfully placed 60,000 children in education through its ARISE program and conducted over 345,000 routine on-the-ground observation visits to farmers in 2020 alone, which all contribute to the company’s continual effort to achieve the highest standards of human rights across its global operations.

“The number of people at risk of human rights violations grew alongside them. To tackle this problem head on, the need for governments and corporations, including the tobacco industry, to collaborate, has never been stronger,” said Wise.

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