“The journey for a better world” was the motto chosen for the visit to the Tabaqueira factory, in Albarraque, Sintra, on June 20th, in which an AIP delegation, led by its president, José Eduardo Carvalho, was invited to see the high technology used in the different stages of cigarette production. “We are holding a road show for large companies in the manufacturing sector with two objectives: firstly, to recognize the management performances that these companies have presented and the role they have played in leveraging the growth of the Portuguese economy; and secondly, for AIP directors and technicians to have a vision of the best management practices and sophisticated management that is carried out in large companies”, this is how José Eduardo Carvalho explained the reasons for the visit to the host Marcelo Nico, general director of Tabaqueira , a company founded in 1927 by Alfredo da Silva.

By way of sharing common historical memory, José Eduardo Carvalho recalled that Alfredo da Silva was vice-president of the AIP shortly after the establishment of the Republic and assumed the presidency from 1921 to 1923. The leader of the AIP explained that the Association “has the main objective to lead the design and implementation of projects to increase the quality of company management and their competitiveness. We develop projects in continuous improvement in SMEs, in the energy transition, in the creation of renewable energy parks, in supporting the creation of biomethane and hydrogen units, among others”.

“Opened in 1962, this manufacturing unit produces 15 percent of all cigarettes consumed in Europe today. In addition to the factory, Philip Morris International (PMI) has three Centers of Excellence in Portugal that provide services to the global PMI: agronomy, engineering and finance”, informed Marcelo Nico, who highlighted the company's tax contribution: “Tabaqueira pays 1200 million euros in taxes to the Portuguese State, around three million per day”.

“PMI's objective is, in the medium term, to stop producing cigarettes, replacing them with other less harmful products, such as IQOS, a heated tobacco system that already exists in our market and is a successful product with more 20 percent market share and more than 600 thousand users. Or, in other words, PMI's objective is for people to be able to stop using conventional tobacco, which is the most harmful way of consuming nicotine, and bring less harmful alternatives to those who want to continue using nicotine”, explained the general director .

“We are concentrating more and more production volume in Portugal and increasing exports because other factories are already in the process of being transformed into new products. One day this factory will also be transformed”, explained Marcelo Nico.

Referring to the new smoke-free product alternatives and the company's new global vision, the general director of Tabaqueira stated that “in 2015, IQOS was launched in Portugal. We were the fourth market and in 2016 PMI decided on the policy of moving forward with the vision of a smoke-free world. IQOS already has more than 28 million users around the world, and we are talking about the transformation to a smoke-free world where alternatives will replace cigarettes with combustion-free products”.

Tabaqueira has 1500 direct employees of 37 different nationalities. In addition to these, there are another 1,500 people hired from different suppliers who work 100 percent for the company. There are 2500 SME national suppliers from whom Tabaqueira purchases more than 100 million euros per year.

In 2023, the year in which a new record was achieved, Tabaqueira exported goods worth 776 million euros, corresponding to 89 percent of production, which, plus 47 million related to services provided to the global PMI, reached a total of 823 million of euros, becoming part of the ranking of the 10 largest exporters. Spain, France and Italy are the biggest markets. When it was privatized in 1997, Tabaqueira only exported three percent of its production.

Since acquiring the company in 1997, PMI, a world leader in the tobacco industry, has invested 417 million euros in the factory, an average of 16 million euros per year in innovation, technology, automation and reducing the carbon footprint.

The current photovoltaic park produces energy to supply nine percent of the factory's needs. A new park is under construction which, by the end of the year, will increase self-sufficiency to 40 percent.

Since 2010, Tabaqueira has reduced carbon emissions by 75 percent, water consumption by 45 percent and energy consumption by 44 percent.

In terms of sustainability, Tabaqueira is the only Portuguese company to obtain the Alliance for Water Stewardship certification, and the third factory in the group to be certified for carbon neutrality.

PMI already has 25 markets, including Portugal, where net revenue from smoke-free products is greater than revenue from conventional cigarettes. Currently