November 8, 2023

SWM’s chief scientist discusses the importance of an evidence-based approach to sustainability

At the end of September, SWM’s chief scientist and director of regulatory affairs, Diane Raverdy-Lambert, attended the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF) in Seoul, South Korea. She joined a panel of peers from tobacco plant to consumers health to discuss ‘Pathways to sustainability’. Diane highlighted the importance of taking a scientific, data-driven and evidence-based approach to sustainability and emphasized the need for responsible scientific cooperation and transparency to make sure all stakeholders measure ESG impacts in a consistent manner.

Following on from GTNF, Diane also joined the CORESTA Smoke Science & Product Technology (SSPT) 2023 Conference in October to present SWM’s Science and Product Stewardship team research into the biodegradation and toxicity of cigarette butts. With the European Union’s Single Use Plastic (SUP) directive adding many obligations for producers of acetate-based cigarette filters, many are now looking to sustainable, biodegradable options, such as SWM’s Evolute™ paper-based product.

Diane’s presented SWM’s research on cigarette butts which are the most common litter found around the world, looking at biodegradation and the presence of selected harmful smoke compounds when left in water, as part of an evidence-based approach to sustainability. Experiments showed that paper butts reached nearly 90% biodegradation within ten weeks, with lower toxicity than equivalent acetate-based filters.

“Through science-based findings, we are proving the value of our products, not only for our customers, but also for the sustainability of our planet, “Diane explained, “It is absolutely critical that we keep on standardizing our sampling and testing across the supply chain to allow all stakeholders to deliver representative and reproducible results.”

Science-based facts compliment creative innovation

The day-to-day work of Diane and our broader scientific team complements and supports SWM’s creative innovation. Their wealth of knowledge and understanding from the fields of chemistry and botany to physics, environmental science and toxicology allows SWM to clearly and factually demonstrate the value and positive impact that their products deliver.

They are also instrumental in finding solutions to our customers’ biggest challenges, cutting down on wasted time and costs before new products reach the market. Partnering collaboratively with customers, they are able recommend improvements using scientific data to develop the best possible product and reduce their negative impact on people and planet through environmental testing.

If you are interested in finding out more about SWM’s team research into the biodegradation and toxicity of cigarette butts or working with our Science and Product Stewardship team on any other projects, please contact us.