Tobacco and sustainability – does that fit together? Talk and discussion during the sustainability week at the University of Rostock, Germany

Talk:
Laura Graen, free lance writer (Consultant for Unfairtobacco.org)

Date:
Monday, 30.05.2016, 7-9 p.m.
Uni Rostock, H323 – Ulmenstr. 69, 18057 Rostock
Entrance free

Event will be held in German only!

Organised by:
AStA of the Uni Rostock and Unfairtobacco.org

Background

The Week of sustainability of the University of Rostock is organised from 29th May to 5th June 2016. This year the events will cover themes from the area of flight from climate impact, transforming the university, water, fair trade and sustainable food production. The University offers workshops, city tours and talk with external experts.

One of these talks will be held by our consultant Laura Graen – just on the eve of World No Tobacco Day. Apart from general information on the conditions and consequences of tobacco growing in the Global South, there might be a discussion on fairtrade and tobacco. The event description invites to do so – we are looking forward to it!

Tobacco is grown in 120 countries worldwide using 4.3 million hectares of arable land. About one billion people are smoking worldwide, 80% of them in low and middle income countries. Tobacco differs from other cash crops like coffee or tea in three important aspects:

  1. Tobacco curing needs a huge amount of firewood attained by cutting down forests.
  2. The tobacco plant is poisonous and causes heavy nicotine poisonings in farmers and tobacco workers.
  3. Tobacco products are addictive and severely harmful to the consumers’ health.

Multinational tobacco companies exploit smallholder structures by using adhesion contracts to exercise control over production, seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, while leaving the risks like crop failures with the farmers alone. Many smallholder farmers cannot make a living from tobacco growing and, therefore, children often have to work on tobacco fields. Moreover, tobacco cultivation directly competes with food cultivation in countries such as Bangladesh.

Germany in particular is profiting enormously from tobacco business, because it is one of the most important locations of the tobacco industry. Every year 220,000 tons of tobacco leaf are imported to Germany and processed to cigarettes. Exporting approximately 160 billion cigarettes makes Germany the world’s largest cigarette exporter.

Supported by Engagement Global on behalf of   

With friendly support of LEZ Berlin