Alliance One International (AOI) claims to operate one of the largest networks of tobacco growers, buyers, processing facilities and distribution operations in the world. It reportedly purchases tobacco from about 45 countries and supplies to cigarette manufacturers in about 90 countries. It handles about 400 million kilos of tobacco a year. Its annual revenue is more than $2 billion.
In the ASEAN region, AOI purchases tobacco from Thailand (4 offices), Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Its head office for the region is located in Singapore.
AOI claims to use a sophisticated product integrity programme that provides “top-down and bottom up traceability” meaning it “can track the tobacco from the farm to the finished product.” Hence it should be able to fix the basic problems plaguing tobacco growing – such as child labour, pest problem, pesticide poisoning, green tobacco sickness and poor leaf prices.
In Indonesia, AOI purchases over 90 percent of tobacco through direct contracts through its wholly-owned subsidiary PT AOI. While AOI claims to have implemented its Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) program, however it does not have adequate human rights due diligence procedures in its supply chain. In other words while it condemns child labor, it continues to buy leaves produced with child labor, takes no responsibility for farmers suffering from pesticide and nicotine poisoning, and no consequences on the company for wrong doing.
Universal Corporation claims to be a leading global leaf supplier. It is an American company that purchases, processes and sells a variety of tobacco leaves, and operates in more than 30 countries.
In the ASEAN region, Universal has offices in Indonesia (2 office), Philippines and Singapore. In Indonesia, Universal boasts of providing storage capacity with “international approved condition, labelling with barcoding, quality assurance department which meet international standard.” All of this means little to the tobacco farmers battling low prices and harmful effects of growing tobacco.