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Kimberly Clark Making Good On Its Promise Of Sustainable Sourcing

June 29th, 2012 · No Comments

Kimberly Clark making good on its promise of sustainable sourcing. Kimberly Clark found itself at the center of a national media firestorm after people found out that the company was harvesting old boreal forest to make soft toilet paper.


A few years ago, Kimberly Clark found itself at the center of a national media firestorm after people found out that the company was harvesting old boreal forest to make soft toilet paper. The unrelenting coverage and the demanding that Kimberly Clark stop destroying old growth forests forced the company to promise that they will be manufacturing their paper products from recycled paper or with pulp from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council .

Fast-forward to today and the company has indeed made good on its promise to make sustainability a cornerstone for its business.

In presenting its 2015 goals focused on water stewardship, energy efficiency, waste diversion and supply chain compliance, the company also highlighted the following milestones it has achieved since 2007:

Certified suppliers: The company is on track to achieve 99.9 percent of its goal set in 2007 to produce paper products with materials from suppliers who harvest pulp from managed forests as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council .

Zero waste: The company’s Personal Care Division in Europe has achieved its 2015 zero waste targets ahead of schedule while its facilities in Brazil successfully diverted 30 metric tons of solid waste from to landfills in 2011.

Natural, environmentally-friendly products: New products like Huggies Pure and Natural diapers and cleansing wipes certified by FSC now account for 13 percent of the company’s overall net sales.

Diaper composting: The company’s diaper recycling and composting initiative is rapidly expanding with a partnership underway in New Zealand and the planned opening of more locations in several countries.

Kimberly clark is a $19 billion company whose business is firmly anchored on producing disposable paper (think Huggies, Kleenex and Kotex) for our convenience. My take on this is that while we should always be vigilant against egregious destruction of environmentally-critical sites like old forests, we also should accept part of the blame. The company has continued to produce paper using harvested trees (albeit from managed forests) because fibers from recycled paper are not ideal to make soft tissue. It’s all market economics at work. As long as Americans refuse to use less than soft toilet paper(!), trees will always be cut down for this purpose. That is just wrong on so many levels

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