Universal Corporation

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Smoking may be hazardous to your health, but providing the tobacco has proven safe and profitable so far for Universal Corporation. The company selects, buys, processes, and ships leaf tobacco in the US and more than 30 other nations, including Brazil, Canada, and Zimbabwe. The leaf tobacco is then sold to cigarette makers. Universal also procures and processes dark tobacco used in cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless products. The firm’s Universal Leaf subsidiaries are active in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the US. Universal was founded in 1918.

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2.4

Overall Excellence Rating

Industry

Farming Ranching & Forestry

Category

Farm Support

ESG/Ethical Impact

We recognize that our actions trigger others, a chain reaction, if you will, and the impacts are far-reaching. We call that “the ripple effect”, and we work every day mindful of our responsibility to make a sustainable impact on the people and communities that we depend on as well as the planet that sustains us all. As industry leader, our first priority must be to focus attention and resources on factors affecting sustainability throughout the supply chain, including, reforestation, water conservation, reduced carbon emissions, child labor and environmentally sensitive agricultural practices. However, we also know that our actions have a powerful impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people on five continents—farmers, employees and families in rural communities. That’s why we’re committed to investing in infrastructure and social programs that improve living conditions, promote education and make communities stronger and healthier. One of our most successful public service initiatives to date is Project Water Guardian in Vera Cruz, the heart of Brazil’s tobacco-producing region. We partnered with the Altadis Foundation (a nonprofit organization owned by Imperial Tobacco) to improve the area’s water quality. The results turned out to be better than we expected. Not only did water quality drastically improve, but the program was so successful that the local government is taking over the project and will continue to fund it for the foreseeable future. Bamboo is the single most important non-timber forest product in the Philippines. This raw material is used for a range of goods and many industries, including agriculture, construction, fisheries, furniture, and handicrafts. Bamboo also has provides environmental value, as it offers vegetative cover for deforested areas; soil erosion control and riverbank stabilization; carbon sequestration; nutrient and hydrologic cycle; and biodiversity conservation. Bamboo is important to farmers in the Philippines as it used for framing materials in barn construction. At our leaf tobacco processing facility in Nashville, North Carolina, we recognized a unique opportunity. Instead of sending the factory’s by-products of dust, and unmarketable leaf-scrape and stem to the landfill, we could compost them in order to reduce our environmental impact. Our Brazilian subsidiary, Universal Leaf Tabacos Ltda, has a long history of tree planting activities to provide wood for tobacco curing, having started woodlot planting activities at the beginning of the 1980s.

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Awards Received

2023

Revenues

$2,100,000,000.00

Website Traffic

Employee Rating

4.2

Customer Rating

3.7

Company Size

10000+

ESG Risk Rating

2

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