"Our world changes when each one of us changes for the better,” Papastratos believes. The fact that they were recently awarded as one of the world-changing companies, in the annual “Change The World” survey, certifies that these are not just words, but that they put into practice their commitment to a sustainable, cigarette-free world.
The most important tobacco industry in Greece, a subsidiary of Philip Morris International, the largest tobacco industry in the world, turns, during the last four years, into a science and technology company with the unconventional vision "to, one day, stop selling cigarettes."
"In Papastratos we don’t just do the best we can. We do what we cannot. We do what is difficult, bold, what can change everything. With this philosophy, after almost nine decades, we have definitively stopped producing cigarettes. With this belief, we support actions that say NO to cigarettes. With this decision, we set an ambitious goal that concerns us all: by the end of 2021, one million smokers to get rid of their cigarettes. One million people to quit smoking or turn to better, scientifically proven alternatives," said Mr Stavros Drakoularakos, General Manager of Communication.
With science as a timeless beacon
The cornerstone of the "One million fewer smokers at the end of 2021" initiative is science, the timeless value of which has resurfaced in the loudest way amid the pandemic. A pole of knowledge and a beacon that shapes developments and guides decisions, science is the only universally accepted component that can proβably provide sustainable solutions to the great challenges modern societies are facing. Cigarettes are one of these challenges. Keeping pace with science for 12 years and having invested over $ 7.2 billion to date, Philip Morris International (of which Papastratos is a subsidiary) is able to develop and offer scientifically proven, technologically advanced, better alternatives for cigarettes.
A milestone in this process is the licensing received for the IQOS, in July 2020, from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the first and only electronic product of "differentiated risk" in relation to cigarettes and therefore better for public health.
According to Mr Drakoularakos, "our principle is simple:" If you do not smoke, do not start. If you smoke, quit. If you do not quit, change it ". And we want to be clear on this: There is no safe cigarette. But there may be better, potentially less harmful nicotine products for those who cannot yet quit smoking or choose to continue smoking. And that is exactly what we are doing. Under strict scientific standards, we develop a series of technologically advanced solutions, needing no combustion. Because the problem, always according to the scientific data that emerged after years of research, originated in the burning of the tobacco. The main problem is not the nicotine that exists as a natural substance in tobacco leaves, but the burning of tobacco, which in a cigarette reaches temperatures up to 900 degrees, resulting in the production of thousands of harmful substances then being associated with diseases.
The open call
No sustainable development and no big issue can be dealt only by the individual efforts of a company.
That is why, as the President and CEO of Papastratos, Mr Christos Harpantidis, specifically stated during the presentation of the "One million fewer smokers at the end of 2021" initiative, "we set a big goal, a goal that could be national, and we recognize that we cannot do it by ourselves. We launch an open call to everyone. Synergies and collaboration are not only welcome, they are necessary. We need an open, meaningful dialogue on ending cigarettes. No one can be left behinγ in this dialogue. We need everybody's help. "
An ambitious initiative and an open call that confirms that this is a company constantly changing for the better, while keeping its earmark for almost 90 years unchanged – a multiplier value as an employer, as a responsible corporate citizen, as a society ally and as an active positive factor for the economy. For Papastratos, value creation is not determined by corporate performance, but focuses on producing a social surplus that reaches as many people as possible.
The #prostokalytero steps
A necessary condition for the next day and for the sustainable, inclusive future that we want is the adoption, by all of us (citizens, corporations, state) of the mentality of "togetherness." And the awareness of its advantages, at all levels. A restart, with entrepreneurship at the core of the country's development model, and cooperation as a guide and catalyst.
A next day in which large companies are invited to take their share of responsibility and provide great solutions. After all, as Mr Drakoularakos aptly points out, “the pandemic has, among many other things, largely redefined what we call "big company" and what we traditionally associate with it. Today, a large company, for us, is the one that encourages and utilizes new technologies, relies on and listens to science, contributes to supplying the labor market with stable, well-paid jobs, is there for society’s needs, has the will and the ability to become a pole of common development, of an overall prosperity that will leave no one behind. "