Greenpeace Background Information

Page - August 5, 2009

How long has Greenpeace been running its Kleercut campaign and why?

Greenpeace launched its international Kleercut campaign on November 18, 2004 to convince Kimberly-Clark to reduce its impact on ancient forest and increase its use of fiber harvested through environmentally responsible practices. An archive of the campaign can be viewed at www.kleercut.net/en

The campaign launch followed the release of the Canadian Shopper's Guide to Forest Friendly Tissue Products in April 2004. At the time of the launch of the Kleercut campaign, more than 22 per cent of Kimberly-Clark's global fiber supply was from Canada's Boreal Forest. The company was also using pulp originating from the coastal temperate rainforests of BC and the US Pacific Northwest.

Kimberly-Clark had been purchasing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of pulp from logging operations that were clearcutting and fragmenting forests, degrading wildlife habitat and generally practising unsustainable forestry. The company was using very little Forest Stewardship Council certified fibre and small amounts of recycled fibre.

What is the Canadian Boreal Forest?

Canada's Boreal Forest is North America's largest ancient forest. The forest provides habitat to threatened species such as woodland caribou, bald and golden eagles, wolverine and more than one billion birds, many of them migratory.

More than 60 per cent has been allocated to forestry companies for development. Less than 10 per cent of the Boreal Forest is formally protected. In provinces such as Ontario and Quebec, much of the commercial forest has already been fragmented and degraded by clearcuts and logging roads.

Canada's Boreal Forest is the world's largest storehouse of terrestrial carbon. It stores an estimated 186 billion tonnes of carbon, or more than 27 years worth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting and managing the forest responsibly is essential for fighting climate change. Recent scientific reports have revealed that older and intact forests store more carbon than young, recently cut forests. Intact forests, particularly ones extending over thousands of square kilometres, better mitigate the impacts of climate change.

What provinces of Canada was Kimberly-Clark purchasing from?

At the launch of Greenpeace's campaign, Kimberly-Clark was purchasing pulp from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia. It owned pulp mills in Terrace Bay, Ontario and Pictou Nova Scotia and managed forests such as the Kenogami Forest in Ontario, where it operated for more than 75 years.

What have been some elements of this campaign?

There were a number of elements to the Kleercut campaign: consumer education and mobilization, corporate boycott pressure, scientific and solutions reports, institutional shareholder engagement and peaceful civil disobedience.

Greenpeace worked to educate the general public about the threats to the Boreal Forest and to other ancient forests. Forest campaigners also initiated discussions with major customers of Kimberly-Clark to convince them to help put pressure on the company. These customers included college and university campuses, movie theatre chains, grocery stores, hotels and alpine resorts. Greenpeace worked with shareholders, including socially responsible investment companies, to engage stockholders in requesting changes of Kimberly-Clark. Finally, the organization used peaceful civil disobedience to alert the company officials to its impact on the ancient forests.

Does this mean the campaign is over?

Yes, the campaign is over. The company has released a new environmental fiber policy that governs how it will conserve forests and support sustainable forestry and the use of recycled fibre. As we have moved into a new collaborative relationship with Kimberly-Clark, there is no more need for a public campaign. Greenpeace very much welcomes the opportunity to work with Kimberly-Clark in the future.

Why did Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark reach agreement?

Kimberly-Clark recognized that it could do better and wished to show leadership on this important environmental issue. We reached agreement on what steps needed to be taken and agree that working collaboratively is more fruitful than being in conflict.

What impacts will this policy have on the forests of Canada?

Kimberly-Clark's size as pulp purchaser (its uses more than three million tonnes of virgin fiber and 1.5 million tonnes of recycled fibre annually) means its policy will have a very large impact on forests globally. It will mean more hectares of forest protected on the ground and better forest management.

Kimberly-Clark's new approach to forest conservation and responsible management is already having an impact on forests in Canada and this will be expanded into the future. For example, the company no longer uses any pulp from the three million hectare (7.4 million acre) Kenogami and Ogoki Forests in northern Ontario. Kimberly-Clark had been using pulp from these forests for over 75 years and, up until 2005, had owned the pulp mill located in Terrace Bay for decades. Today, Kimberly-Clark has stopped purchasing pulp from this area, because the current forest manager and mill owner was unwilling to protect endangered forest areas and unwilling to responsibly manage the forest by achieving Forest Stewardship Council certification.

In the future, the policy will mean that the most ecologically important areas of the forests from which Kimberly-Clark purchases pulp will be protected from development. The policy and its implementation will lead to the increased use of recycled fiber and a decrease in pressure on natural forests, which has many benefits for wildlife and for the climate. The policy will increase the responsible management of forests and we will see more forests certified to the strict standards of the Forest Stewardship Council as a result. By setting increasing targets for environmentally responsible fiber, the policy will also give a boost to recycling rates in North America and elsewhere by increasing demand for recycled fibre.

What does this mean for the global climate?

The impact of this policy and announcement is significant for fighting climate change. The policy protects the most valuable areas of forests from logging and degradation - these areas would include large intact forests which are proven to store more carbon and are best able to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The policy also promotes the use of recycled fiber which has been shown to use less energy and thus produce less greenhouse gases. Most importantly, the policy is a challenge to other paper producers to step up and show leadership on the issue of forest conservation and climate change.

What are the highlights of the new policy and fiber sourcing targets?

Kimberly-Clark will

  • Not use any fiber from Endangered Forests or High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) areas mapped as no-harvest zones
  • Give purchasing preference to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified fiber over any other virgin wood fiber. This will mean that KC will continue to increase its use of environmentally preferred FSC fibre.
  • Phase out its use of non-FSC certified fiber from Canada's Boreal Forest by the end of 2011 decreasing from over 400,000 tonnes in 2007 to 0 tonnes in 2012.
  • Increase its use of FSC and recycled fiber drastically over the next two years so that at least 40 per cent of the total fiber used in North American products comes from one of these sources - an increase from 29.7 per cent at the end of 2008. This represents 600,000 tonnes of fibre. It will continue to increase the use of this fibre into the future.
  • Give preference to post-consumer recycled fiber over pre-consumer recycled fiber
  • Ban the use of conflict wood and wood coming from operations that have broken national and international laws
  • Support programs to identify and map Endangered Forests and HCVF areas and increase recycling rates
  • Avoid suppliers who do not respect human rights.
  • Put in place strong annual reporting and verification measures including the right to cancel contracts if suppliers are out of compliance with the policy.

The full policy can be downloaded from: www.kimberly-clark.com

When will these new measures take place?

Given the size of Kimberly-Clark, it cannot change its environmental footprint overnight. The two-year targets it has set are aggressive and this will mean a decreased impact almost immediately. With the other measures in the policy, we will see more Endangered Forest areas protected in the short term. The impact of this policy and its implementation will be very great, given the company's size. We expect that many global pulp and paper suppliers will change the way they do logging within two years in order to meet the demands of this policy.

How will Kimberly-Clark verify that its suppliers are following the policy?

Kimberly-Clark is initiating a rigorous verification process and ensuring that new long-term contracts with its suppliers allow for and require enforcement and compliance with this policy.

Does this mean that Kleenex facial tissue is now FSC-certified?

Currently Kleenex facial tissue in the UK is FSC-certified. It is our understanding that Kleenex facial tissue in the United States and Canada will become FSC-certified.

Will KC continue to publish two-year targets for FSC and recycled fiber?

Yes. By the end of the 2nd quarter of each year, the company will publish revised two-year targets for the combined use of FSC and Recycled fiber. We expect that it will continue to increase the use of both forms of fiber beyond 2011. The company has a long-term goal of 100 per cent recycled or FSC certified fibre.

What consumer products in North America have recycled fiber in them?

Currently the following Kimberly-Clark consumer products have recycled fiber in them: Scott Naturals toilet paper (40 per cent recycled), Scott Naturals napkins (80 per cent recycled) and paper towels (60 per cent recycled), Kleenex Naturals (20 per cent recycled).

What does this mean for other tissue product manufacturers?

Greenpeace believes this is one of the strongest paper policies in the world and a challenge to the other major tissue product manufacturers such as Georgia Pacific and Procter and Gamble. We hope that these companies will follow suit and put forward real policies that protect ancient forests and promote the use of recycled and FSC-certified fiber.