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Kimberly-Clark Announces New Sustainability Policy

8/24/2009 12:00:00 AM

Tags: Kimberly-Clark, green companies

After a long battle, paper products giant Kimberly-Clark and Greenpeace have finally ended hostilities. Kimberly-Clark, the world’s largest manufacturer of tissue paper products, has agreed to a new policy of sustainable practices and sourcing, and Greenpeace will drop its five-year-old Kleercut campaign, which used print media, social networking, YouTube videos and a variety of less conventional tools and encouraged people to get active in their communities to “show Kimberly-Clark that people across the world aren't willing to stand by while a multinational company destroys their forests.”

Kimberly-Clark, whose main brands include Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle, has promised that the fiber in its tissue products will now come from environmentally responsible sources, including Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood and recycled post-consumer waste. Furthermore, Kimberly-Clark is committed to end its purchase of non-FSC fibers from Canada’s Boreal forest by 2011. 

toilet paper
The Canadian Boreal, North America’s largest old-growth forest, provides a habitat for threatened wildlife such as woodland caribou as well as sanctuary for more than 1 billion migratory birds. More importantly, it is the planet’s largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon, holding the equivalent of 27 years worth of greenhouse gas emissions. But 60 percent of the Boreal forest is already allocated to logging companies, and less than 10 percent is permanently protected. Greenpeace, working with Kimberly-Clark, hopes to change that. 

Kimberly-Clark’s new policy is among the world’s strongest. By the end of 2011, 40 percent of its North American tissue fiber will be either FSC-certified or recycled, up 70 percent from its 2007 levels. Every day about 1.3 billion people, almost a quarter of the world’s population, use Kimberly-Clark brands, meaning these changes will have a big impact. 

Greenpeace hopes that Kimberly-Clark’s efforts to change will influence Georgia Pacific and Proctor & Gamble, companies that it is still pressuring on sustainable sourcing.

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