Tobacco related CSR activities in ASEAN countries

According to the Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index,[1] the updated information regarding TI-CSR activities in ASEAN countries accumulated as follows;

Cambodia

Tobacco industry sponsored CSR activities are not banned and remain a problem in Cambodia. They are mostly conducted by transnational tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

Indonesia

Government agencies continue to accept or endorse tobacco industry CSR. Two big tobacco companies Sampoerna and Djarum actively continue CSR activities in Indonesia. In 2018, Sampoerna expanded their “Sampoerna Retail Community” (SRC) program to cover more provinces in Indonesia; it is a combined promotion and sponsorship for small- and medium-scale retailers in the form of retail incentive program that could be perceived as in line with the government interest in economic development of micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises. The launching of SRC was mostly attended by the Governors. Apart from the Governor of South Sumatra, the Governor of West Lombok expressed appreciation for the SRC program in extending support to post-disaster economic reconstructions. Djarum Foundation on the other hand, continued its tree plantation program in East Java.

Lao PDR

There has been no government receipt or endorsement of TIrelated CSR activities. The Prime Minister Decree on Tobacco Product Promotional Consumption Ban 2010 bans all forms contributions from the tobacco industry, including CSR.

Malaysia

PMI continued to sponsor Yayasan Salam Malaysia’s activity on ‘Back-to-School’ programme which was officiated by the political secretary of the Prime Minister and endorsed by the government and the Chief Minister of Kedah.

Myanmar

A local Cigarette Company, called Myanmar Kokang Company Ltd. (MMK Cigarette Factory), at Muse, Northern Shan State, provided sponsorship through its distributor, Hexa Power Company Ltd., for the mini marathon and public walking event in Mandalay which were held in 2018 December and 2019 January, respectively. Although tobacco industry-related CSR and tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorship are prohibited by the Control of Smoking and Consumption of Tobacco Product Law, BAT was awarded an AMCHAM CSR (ACE) Award. The Department of Rural Development endorsed BAT’s CSR activities in 2016 by cooperating to provide a list of villages for its activities. This project is still ongoing. JTI’s project to provide drinking water to Kayin State for refugees is also still ongoing.

Philippines

The Department of Health – Civil Service Commission Joint Memorandum Circular (DOH-CSC JMC) on the Protection of the Bureaucracy Against Tobacco Industry interference is in effect since 2010 and has banned direct partnerships between the government and the tobacco industry. However, tobacco companies continue to conduct socalled CSR activities by coursing these through foundations and other groups such as Wong Chu King Foundation and the American Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC), through its CSR arm “Embrace”, is a partner of Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation and has conducted at least 26 of these so-called CSR activities in 2018.

Thailand

In July 2017, Tobacco Products Control Act 2017 came into force. This new law bans all tobacco industry-related CSR activities, as required under FCTC Article 13 and Article 5.3 Guidelines (Recommendation 6). Previously, the ban applied only to Thai Tobacco Monopoly (TTM), but the other transnational tobacco companies could conduct CSR activities. Some of the CSR activities captured in 2017 were carried out before May 2017. The TTM is seen as a government agency and conducted some CSR activities attended by several officials.

TTM continued to conduct tobacco related CSR activities targeting youth and local communities although the Cabinet agreed on 17 April 2012, to a resolution[2] to prohibit the government sectors/ office from participating in tobacco related corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Cabinet resolutions apply to all government sectors, including the State-owned Thai Tobacco Monopoly.[3] On TTM’s official website, its CSR activities are categorized under its public relation section focusing on TAOT’s staff visiting governmental agencies for celebration and/or handing out donations. Through these CSR activities, TTM engages with policymakers, high-level politicians and government officials at national land provincial level, and government institutions such as public hospitals. Section 35 of Tobacco Product Control Act 2017 prohibits the publicity of tobacco-related CSR activities[4] but still providing TTM the opportunity to either directly or indirectly involve government officials among intra-industry trade groups to participate in its so-called CSR activities.

Vietnam

Although there is a ban on certain types of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, this makes no difference to the extent by which the tobacco industry conducts these activities. Vinataba and other tobacco companies support a variety of programs for disadvantaged students, educational facilities improvement, social enterprise, and subsidies for war veterans, among others. These CSR activities bring the tobacco industry in contact with high-profile government officials including the Prime Minister.

[1] Mary Assunta. Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2019. Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC). Bangkok, Thailand. Sept 2019. https://globaltobaccoindex.org/
[2] National Health Assembly, National strategic plan for tobacco control B.E. 2555-2557 (A.D. 2012-2014) Retrieved from https:// www.samatcha.org/node/103 (accessed on 14 June 2018).
[3] National Health Assembly, National strategic plan for tobacco control B.E. 2555-2557 (A.D. 2012-2014)
[4] Department of Disease Control Bureau of Tobacco Control. Tobacco Products Control Act B.E. 2560 (2017) https://seatca. org/dmdocuments/Tobacco%20Products%20Control%20 Act%20B.E.%202560%20%282017%29.pdf