Kimberly-Clark: wiping away our ancient forests

Feature story - 26 January, 2005
Kimberly-Clark is the largest tissue product company in the world, making brands such as Kleenex. But every time you flush a piece of Kleenex toilet paper you're also flushing away Canada's oldest forests.

Kleenex - wiping away Canadian forests, one sheet of toilet paper at a time

In North America, less than 19 percent of the pulp Kimberly-Clark uses for its disposable tissue products (including toilet paper, facial tissue, napkins and paper towels) comes from recycled sources. The rest is made from forests, many of which have existed for thousands of years. For example, Kimberly-Clark's own documents show that it is logging intact forests in the Canadian Boreal containing trees that are upwards of 180 years old. The Boreal forest is the largest ancient forest left in North America and the habitat of such species as grizzly and black bears, woodland caribou, wolves, bald eagles, and boreal owls.


Much of the virgin tree fibre Kimberly-Clark uses for its tissue products comes from unsustainably logged forests. These forests are predominantly logged in clearcuts - a devastating form of logging where most if not all trees are removed from an area of forest. What's left behind is a barren landscape that can no longer support wildlife species.

Gettin' snotty

Kimberly-Clark claims to be an environmental leader. But for decades they have unsustainably cleared ancient forests to manufacture products that are used only once and then thrown away.

Tissue products containing high amounts of recycled and FSC®-certified fibres are of comparable quality and price to virgin fibre products - despite Kimberly-Clark's claims to the contrary.

Here are two of the most important actions that concerned consumers can take:

  • Stop buying Kimberly-Clark products including Kleenex brand products and start buying forest friendly alternatives, and
  • Let Kimberly-Clark know that you want them to stop clearcutting ancient forests like Canada's Boreal. You can send them a message at

Pulp fiction

Although Kimberly-Clark will tell you that they buy their pulp from sustainably managed forests, the majority of its pulp is actually from logging operations that do not meet our recognized standard of sustainability. We consider only one set of standards to be a credible measure of sustainability: the Forest Stewardship Council™'s (FSC®) management and certification system.

Many of the logging companies that Kimberly-Clark does buy pulp from are certified by such schemes as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative or the Canadian Standards Association. Both of these systems are created by industry for industry and are neither ecologically nor socially progressive.

Don't flush ancient forests down the toilet - take action!

Greenpeace Canada and its allies including activists like you are asking Kimberly-Clark to:

  • Immediately stop purchasing virgin fibre from endangered forests
  • Drastically increase the amount of recycled fibre that they use for all their tissue products including Kleenex brand toilet paper, facial tissue and napkins
  • Begin purchasing fibre from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) eco-certified forests. The FSC® is the only guarantee that forests are managed sustainably.
  • Phase out the use of damaging chlorine dioxide to bleach tissue

Check out now to find out more and take action!