on 2002 Philip Morris
Meeting of Stockholders
On April 25, 24 GPTC participants attended the 2002 Philip
Morris shareholders meeting. Our goal was to represent the voices of people
around the world and to demand real change -- change that saves peoples'
lives, rather than meaningless cosmetic name changes. We wanted the company
to know that whatever its name, Philip Morris or Altria, we will be monitoring
its practices worldwide and holding it accountable.
Judging from CEO Geoffrey Bible's strong reactions to
our statements, the company is highly vulnerable to public exposure of
its misdeeds around the world. So keep your ears and eyes open and don't
let the company get away with anything!
STATEMENTS MADE BY GPTC PARTICIPANTS
in Richmond Times - Dispatch
We would like to take this opportunity to extend a BIG THANK YOU to Infact,
a veteran organizer of PM shareholder meeting demonstrations, for covering
housing, food, training, and proxies for GPTC folks. Infact is the regional
coordinator for the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals
(NATT). For more information about Infact and NATT, see http://www.infact.org
ANNUAL MEETING OF STOCKHOLDERS
Thursday, April 25, 2002
On the morning of Philip Morris' Annual Meeting of Stockholders,
the weather was appropriately cold, wet, and gloomy. This year marked
the company's 100th anniversary. In the last century, tobacco killed 100
million people worldwide, a deadly legacy that Philip Morris seems intent
on expanding exponentially.
For a full transcript of the remarks by Chairman and CEO
Geoffrey C. Bible and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Louis C. Camilleri at the meeting go to:
A NEW NAME FOR GLOBAL LEADERSHIP"
That's what a display on Philip Morris' proposed
new name proudly proclaimed. The text read:
"Altria is derived from the Latin "altus," meaning "high,"
and conveys our company's constant desire to reach even higher -- a philosophy
that has guided our decisions. The name Altria reflects our commitment
to strive for peak performance and to embrace innovation, growth, and
new [challenges]." Perhaps Altria IS a good name for a company committed
to spreading higher rates of lung cancer, emphysema, and death around
TOLL IS "ALMOST INCOMPREHENSIBLE" SAY PHILIP MORRIS CEO
What, a confession from the CEO of the world's largest "Merchant
of Death"?! Think again. A new addition to this year's pre-stockholder
meeting coffee hour was a large display on Philip Morris' response to
the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A wheelbarrow filled with
bricks and topped off with a hardhat stood before a black and white image
of the destruction of the World Trade Center. A television monitor replayed
scenes of PM employees helping out at Ground Zero and delivering free
water and Kraft food products; Geoffrey Bible announcing that the company
would donate $10 million to the relief efforts; and a Red Cross employee
praising PM's efforts. Also included on the display was the quote from
Bible's remarks to PM employees (9/18):
"This is a disaster of historic proportion. The toll in human
terms is almost incomprehensible. But even in the darkest times, the
selflessness of our employeers is truly inspirational...We will grieve
for those who are lost, we will weep with those who are left behind,
and we will never forget."
Of course, Bible failed to mention that by 2030 the tobacco industry
itself will be responsible for the deaths of 10 million people annually
-- the equivalent of 70 [Boeing 747] planes full of passengers crashing
each and every day. Apparently the company's selfless acts stop when the
"disasters of historic proportion" become profitable. For Bible's
full speech see: http://www.philipmorris.com/philanthropy/human_assist/GCBRemarks.asp
IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT"
...so a Philip Morris brochure for
PHILPAC, its political action committee, proclaims. "PHILPAC is our
vehicle to support the election of candidates who understand and support
our businesses. We are competing with more than 3,400 other federally
registered PACS representing thousands of companies, trade associations
and labor unions, all of whom are trying to get their candidates elected
as well." PHILPAC is "cost-effective," says the brochure,
because every dollar contributed "goes directly to the campaigns
of candidates who understand and support the Philip Morris companies."
Democracy, according to Philip Morris, means government "of, by,
and for corporations."
THE MARLBORO MAN CONTINUES TO "LASSO" NEW SMOKERS...
...Philip Morris is expanding its
bogus "Youth Smoking Prevention" programs around the world.
This year's display featured examples from: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain,
Belarus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan,
Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Pan-Europe,
Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey.
A Russian PM employee, who worked
in PM's corporate affairs office in Russia for 7 years stood by to answer
questions. We grilled him on the double standard between what PM says
and does. He denied that the company gives out free cigarettes. He said
that the company requires employees to sign documents saying that they
will not engage in practices like this, and fires any that do. He added
that PM has a worldwide company policy on the matter. All companies with
which it does business must abide by the policy or risk paying fines of
up to $20,000, as written into their contracts. He claimed that the company
checks ID's at every concert and promotional event.
Furthermore, he said, the company
no longer advertises on radio, television, and print media with a readership
of less that 70% adults, and that it no longer produces any branded items,
other than smoking-related paraphanelia, e.g. ashtrays, lighters. Anything
else, he said, is "old" or "fake." We handed him a
copy of last year's New
York Time's article on PM's targeting of kids worldwide that clearly
reports to the contrary.
GIVES THE BUSINESS REPORT
Louis Camilleri, who will replace
Geoffrey Bible as CEO later this year, boasted of the company's continued
global expansion. He cited, in particular, the geographic expansion of
Virginia Slims (cigarette brand marketed to woman). Sales of the brand
have doubled in Russia. Female emancipation through cigarette smoking?
And in the last year, sales of the company's L & M brand grew 18%
worldwide. Through acquisition, joint ventures, and new licensing agreements
the the company's global cigarette business is strong, said Camilleri.
He also mentioned the company's growing "health and wealthness"
line of nutritional, sugarfree, reduced fat products, e.g. Boca Burgers
and Balance Bars. Of course we all know what Philip Morris should do if
it really wants to promote "health and wealthness"!
THE MARLBORO MAN WOULD BE "NAIVE"
During the Question & Answer
period, Eva Kralikova, well known for her role in exposing Philip Morris'
infamous "Czech" report last year, highlighted the company's
double standard between its practices in the U.S. and abroad. She called
on the company to change more than just its name. In particular, she challenged
Philip Morris to get rid of the Marlboro Man. Bible called Kralikova "naive"
to think that the Marlboro Man is to blame for youth lighting up around
the world. It's all parents' fault, he said. They need to stop leaving
their cigarettes where kids can find them. As always, the company that
claims to be "responsible," refuses to take any responsibility.
OUT FREE CIGARETTES TO MINORS? NOT US!
In Niger, Inoussa Saouna SOS Tabagisme
has done an admirable job of monitoring the tobacco industry's misdeeds,
at considerable personal risk. He tipped off a New York Times reporter
re: how PM targets tens of thousands of young people in his country through
concerts and free cigarette distribution. As a result, he was fired from
his job at a radio station (which PM paid to promote the concert). Most
recently, he has taken the five tobacco companies in his country to court
for violating Niger's tobacco advertising ban. One of them, SODENI, markets
and sells Philip Morris brands in Niger. SOS-Tabagisme's single lawyer
is up against 12 industry lawyers! Inoussa reports that he has received
menacing telephone calls and members of his organization have been offered
bribes to oust him from the organization (they smartly declined!). Laurent
Huber of Action on Smoking and Health spoke on SOS Tabagisme's behalf
and demanded that Philip Morris abide by laws abroad and stop free cigarette
distribution. Predictably, Geoffrey Bible called Laurent's statement "inaccurate"
and "absurd." He claimed that the company only gives out samples
in "adult areas" where age is checked. Hmmm, so how does he
explain that kids as young as 10 were offered Bond Street cigarettes in
WOMAN" EXAMPLE DRAWS SHARP REBUKE FROM BIBLE
In comments to Bible and shareholders,
GPTC Coordinator Anna White read three statements from around the world
regarding Philip Morris' name change. The third, sent in by Lisa Houston
(a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Ukraine) read: "Philip Morris recently
made headlines in the Ukraine after releasing a billboard featuring a
pregnant woman. Philip Morris is probably hoping that by hiding behind
a new name it can gloss over such crass advertising tactics." Bible
immediately interrupted and tried to cut off the rest of the statement.
The microphone was pulled away from Anna, as the video screen switched
back to Bible. Anna followed the microphone and contested the time limit.
After finishing her question, Bible categorically denied that the company
used a pregnant woman in a tobacco advertisement in the Ukraine. Furthermore,
he insinuated that Anna made up the example and was a liar. As Konstantin
Krasovsky responds: "Certainly we can not prove that the model on
the L&M ad was really pregnant. However everyone who looked at the
ad had that strong impression, stressed by the model's pose and the position
of partner's hand on her belly. And if the model is not pregnant why was
the ad so quickly removed? And why did Philip Morris office in Ukraine
refuse to comment on the removal to all journalists who tried to get the
CLAIMS THAT SMOKING = DEMOCRACY
Mark Breaux of Smoke Free Maryland
spoke on behalf of Cornel Radu of Aer Pur (Romania). At the close of his
remarks, he cited the problems that Romania and other Eastern European
countries have faced since the "fall of the Berlin Wall" and
asked how Philip Morris plans to reduce the burden of tobacco-related
disease in the region. Geoffrey Bible responded by saying that in a democratic
society, adults are free to decide to smoke. But as Cornel points out,
he has found in no dictionary the definition of "democracy"
being "promotion of tobacco addiction purely for profit." Romanians,
he notes, smoked before and after the end of communism -- the only thing
that has changed is the aggressive marketing of cigarettes by tobacco
multinationals. PM sales in the region were up 14.3% last year, and in
early September 2001, Philip Morris opened up a new plant in Romania.
Democracy or corporate greed, you be the judge!
STANDING OVATION FOR THE LEADER OF THE WORLD'S DEADLIEST COMPANY
Louis Camilleri praised Geoffrey
Bible for being the "finest CEO in the world" and lauded his
"legacy, tenacity, and will to succeed in the unwavering pursuit"
of the company's longterm financial goals -- noting that under Bible's
leadership, the company's revenues went up 50%. Bible's "outstanding
initiative and charisma motivates us all" said Camilleri, adding
that Bible is "inspired with brain and heart." The standing
ovation that followed literally continued for several minutes. Apparently
overseeing the massacre of millions can boost your popularity, that is,
if you're the CEO of a profitable multinational corporation.
NEW NAME WON'T MAKE ANTI-TOBACCO FOLKS GO AWAY
Perhaps one of the most damaging statements came
from an actual stockholder who said that
Philip Morris is first and foremost a tobacco company, and that he is
proud to have helped build the company to where it is today. For what
reason would Philip Morris want to change its name? "Changing the
company's name to "Altria" won't make the anti-tobacco folks
go away," he said, and furthermore, "the name "Altria"
doesn't mean anything."
MORRIS STOCKHOLDERS VOTE FOR "ALTRIA" & AGAINST PUBLIC HEALTH
The vast majority of stockholders
voted according to the company's recommendations:
* Change company's name to Altria Group, Inc - 95.1% VOTED FOR
* Stockholder Proposal 1 - Inserts Disclosing Personal and Social Effects
Related to Using our Company's Tobacco Products - 94.8% VOTED AGAINST
* Stockholder Proposal 2 - Environmental Tobacco Smoke (compel company
to warn people of the dangers of secondhand smoke) - 94.8% VOTED AGAINST
* Stockholder Proposal 3 - Philip Morris Companies Inc./Global Human Rights
Standards (compel the company to abide by International Labor Organization
standards re: child labor, sweatshops, denial of labor organizations)
- 94.6% VOTED AGAINST
For the full text of the stockholder proposals go to:
(scroll down to end)
STOCKHOLDERS GREETED BY GPTC & INFACT DEMONSTRATORS
Representatives of three statewide
youth empowerment programs [Target Market (MN), Fighting Against Corporate
Tobacco (WI), and (WV)] joined Infact demonstrators in "greeting"
shareholders as they arrived at the meeting. GPTC groups carried signs
with examples of PM's misdeeds around the world. Target Market teens also
carried hardhitting posters, e.g. a photo of serial killer Charles Manson
with a nametag "Hello my name is Wally Sunshine" and the message:
"Sorry, Philip Morris, but changing your company's name to Altria
won't help change your image either." Stockholders were not at all
pleased to be reminded that their increased wealth comes at the expense
of millions of lives around the world! See:
of some of our signs , A
list of chants used
For copies of video footage contact:
Corey Spoden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
THE BELLY OF THE CORPORATE BEAST
Eva Kralikova (Czech Republic) had
these comments about the meeting: "It was not a meeting. It was a
performance of power. It reminded me of the communist era. At the entrance
there was so much security and restrictions. You could not bring in a
camera or any luggage. They looked into my papers and confiscated all
extra copies. Everything was perfectly timed and controlled, even the
microphone, which I was not allowed to hold. It was a pure demonstration
OF PM "LUNCHBOXES" GIVEN TO SHAREHOLDERS
Chips Ahoy cookes, Oreos, Milka
bar, Planters roasted cashews, Balance Bar, Toblerone, Oscar Meyer bacon
bits, Terry's Chocolate raspberry, Miller beer bottle opener, Altoids
mints, Kraft Caesar Italian dressing, Lifesaver candies, Kraft Crystal
Lite, Gevalia Tea, Maxwell House coffee, Gevalia Kaffe.
OF BROCHURES THAT WE PICKED UP:
- 2001 Annual Report - includes summary of PM's worldwide
cigarette sales and some not-so-real-life photos, e.g. a Russian man
smiling as he lights up an L & M and a Japanese woman beaming at
her boyfriend as he pulls a packet of Larks out of his suit pocket.
- PM's Humanitarian Aid - includes 9/11
- The Parent Connection: Helping Parents Help Their Kids
- Start talking to your kids about not smoking. They'll
- Creating a comfortable environment for non-smokers
and smokers - "a best practices guide for restaurants and bars.
Provided by Options"
- Philip Morris List of Products
- The Philip Morris Campaign Against Domestic Violence
- La Campana de Philip Morris Contra la Violencia Domestica
- Diversity in Our Workforce
- Shared Issues: Exploring Issues Facing the Farm-To-Consumer
- Philip Morris Agricultural Initiative: Shared Solutions
- Closer Links: Communications Analysis of the Pork Value
- Hablemos claro...Una guia familiar para tomar decisiones
reponsables - Miller Brewing Company
- 2002 Driver License Booklet for the U.S. and Canada
- Miller Brewing Company - "Buying beer is no minor thing."
if you would like a photocopy of any of these.
TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED!
- Action on Smoking and Health (DC): Laurent Huber
- Charles University of Prague (Czech Republic): Eva
- Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (DC): Judy Wilkenfeld
- Essential Action (DC): Anna White
- FACT (Fighting Against Corporate Tobacco) (WI): Debbie
Vorass, Beth McHone, Rick Shumaker, Brianna Stuessey, Chelsey Tubbs,
Chad Snyder, Phil Castillo, Stephanie Thornton
- Smoke Free Maryland (MD): Mark Breaux
- Target Market (MN): Corey Spoden, Jeannette Cleland,
Hannah Severtson, Rachael Moeding, Nate Glynn
- West Virginia Youth Empowerment Program: Sheila Ridler,
Christine Kile-Eye, 3 teens
- Arlyn Elizee (DC) - independent consultant, formerly
with the Latino
Council on Alcohol and Tobacco
on last year's meeting
Global Partnerships for Tobacco Control
P.O. Box 19405 ~ Washington,
Tel: +1 202-387-8030 ~ Fax: +1 202-234-5176