• April 23, 2024

And the Winners Are…

 And the Winners Are…

Announcing the recipients of the 2023 Golden Leaf Awards

TR Staff Report

Tobacco Reporter is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Golden Leaf Awards. With a record number of high-quality entries, our judges had their work cut out this year. After careful deliberation, they selected six contestants, giving special consideration to entries that displayed commitment to innovation and/or sustainability.

Sponsored exclusively by BMJ, the Golden Leaf Awards will be officially presented in September at the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum in Seoul.

ANDS has won a Golden Leaf Award for its Slix single-use e-cigarette. Launched in 2023, Slix hits the market at an appropriate time. The growing popularity of single-use vapes, driven in part by regulatory restrictions on reusable products, has created concerns about waste. E-cigarettes are challenging for waste management because they contain not only electronics but also nicotine. The environmental fears have prompted calls in some quarters for banning the entire category—a move that would cause smokers to lose what many believe to be a convenient, accessible and compelling alternative to conventional cigarettes.

According to tests conducted in line with ISO 14021:2016 by Waste Experts, a U.K. waste management professional services company, Slix is 99.29 percent recyclable and recoverable. Its construction boasts an outer casing made of 100 percent recyclable high-grade cardboard with a biodegradable silicone mouthpiece and end piece. Featuring 36 percent fewer components than comparable products, Slix results in 70 percent less waste by weight, 38 percent less waste to landfill while requiring 57 percent less time to process for recycling.

Image: ANDS

Alliance One India Industries (AOII) has won a Golden Leaf Award for its project to empower women in India. Across the Vinukonda area, most of the company’s contracted farmers rely heavily on their farm-generated income. Given the unpredictable nature of farming, however, a secondary source of income is encouraged.

Unfortunately, positioning women to provide a supplemental income source for their families has not been a cultural priority. Historically, Indian women, particularly those in rural areas, have been vulnerable due to lack of economic and social empowerment.

To address both issues, AOII has committed to empowering women, providing them with training and resources to promote economic viability and professional growth.

In November 2020, AOII, together with one of its customers and the nongovernmental organization Assist, introduced the women empowerment project in two villages. A total of 221 women were grouped into 22 self-help groups and received training on micro-entrepreneurship projects. The groups each received funding to pursue microbusinesses, including dairy farming, sheep rearing and grocery retail. The participants were also educated on women’s legal rights, encouraging advocacy for themselves and the female population.  

To date, 186 women have benefitted from the program, including 171 contracted farm families. Female participants have shared that the program has “helped create a new standard of living” for their family and drawn awareness to their “right to control [their] life inside and outside the home.”

Photo: AOII

The Center for Agricultural Transformation (CAT) has received a Golden Leaf Award for its work to help Malawi diversify its economy. Depending on the season, tobacco accounts for between 40 percent and 70 percent of Malawi’s export earnings. In a good season, the golden leaf generates a relative level of wealth in the countryside and earns the nation much-needed foreign currency to import the products and services it cannot produce at home. In a bad season, there will be poverty in the villages.

While Malawi produces other crops, these value chains have historically lacked two factors that have allowed tobacco to succeed—infrastructure and a deliberate focus on productivity. The lack of a structured market prevents many nontobacco crops from earning hard currency on the world market. Due to suboptimal agricultural practices, nontobacco farmers in Malawi are producing at only 30 percent to 40 percent of their potential.

Supported by a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, the CAT boosts agricultural productivity through science, technology and innovation while helping innovators turn their ideas into sustainable agribusinesses to create new markets for the alternative commodities produced by smallholders. At a demonstration farm near Lilongwe, the organization offers a platform for private sector partners to showcase their technologies to help farmers optimize their operations.

Among other projects, the CAT has helped entrepreneurs boost production of bananas and button mushrooms, helping the country develop supplemental value chains and reduce its reliance on tobacco (also see “Broadening the Base,” Tobacco Reporter, June 2023).

Photo: Taco Tuinstra

Vaporesso, the open systems arm of the world’s largest atomization company, Smoore International, has won a Golden Leaf Award for its Vaporesso COSS technology. COSS stands for “Convenient Operating, Smart Supplying.” The system addresses persistent pain points of existing products and offers an intuitive design that caters to traditional smokers’ habits.

With a small form factor and long battery life, the COSS features an automatic liquid filling and charging feature. Its coil-oil separation system ensures a fresh taste while avoiding leakage with a pioneering vacuum seal system that prevents contact with air or other substances. The Vaporesso COSS’ mesh coil generates great flavor.

The Vaporesso COSS comprises a 1500 mAh HUB, a 250 mAh vape stick and a 7.5 mL vacuum capsule to provide long-lasting power and liquid while keeping the flavor fresh for a prolonged period of time.

Photo: Vaporesso

The ICCPP Group

The ICCPP Group has won a Golden Leaf Award for its commitment to delivering cutting-edge technology. Year after year, the company has consistently invested 10 percent of its earnings in electronic atomization research and development, leading to structural and technological advancements such as the Gene Tree Ceramic Core and the Gen Chip—innovations that have revolutionized the vaping experience.

ICCPP’s determination to address diverse markets and user requirements has resulted in a broad portfolio of successful vaping products, including Drag, Vinci and Cyclo.

While developing groundbreaking technology, ICCPP pays close attention to sustainability. The company’s most recent ESG report highlights the measures ICCPP has taken to minimize its environmental footprint, for example. Several of its products, including Cyclo, have received prestigious carbon footprint certifications.

In addition to pursuing technological and sustainable excellence, ICCPP actively engages with the industry, sharing its latest research and insights into tobacco harm reduction and next-generation products while advocating for industrywide openness and collaboration.

Image: ICCPP

Innokin has won a Golden Leaf Award for developing a ceramic material that eliminates metal from the vape coil. Essentially, e-cigarettes comprise three parts—a power source (the battery), a heating element (the coil) and the heated substance. The power source delivers energy to the heating element, which in turn vaporizes the desired substance. Almost all coils use metal to heat the substances. However, because metal does not heat evenly, it can create hotspots with needlessly high temperatures. What’s more, some alloys may release toxic heavy metal.

To address this problem, Innokin developed a new coil using conductive ceramic as the heating element. Normally conductive ceramic is made by adding metal, which can survive the high temperature while making the ceramic, to increase ceramic conductivity. However, the resistance of that type of conductive ceramic cannot be controlled. Innokin successfully combined a non-metal substance with ceramic to achieve outstanding conductivity, resistance consistency and lower power consumption.

The conductive ceramic coil is stable and resists erosion. It heats quickly and evenly to produce purer flavor.