Kimberly-Clark can't hide environmental devastation

Feature story - August 12, 2008
Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark have announced the successful resolution of the Kleercut campaign as the maker of Kleenex has established a new sustainability policy focused on protecting endangered forests. Go to www.greenpeace.org/kleercut to find out more!

Several Greenpeace activists visited the Kimberly-Clark (KC) offices in Roswell, Georgia today to show the company's officials that they can't hide from the devastation they have wrought on the North American Boreal Forest.

The facility is KC's largest corporate campus and is set against a lush backdrop featuring a pond and manicured lawns. One of the main targets of the Kleercut campaign, Kimberly Clark's vice president for environment and energy Ken Strassner, works out of an office here in Roswell, as do other high level staffers and company officers.

As KC employees walked around enjoying the scenic splendor, three activists calmly launched a Greenpeace skiff on the central pond of the pristine corporate campus and pulled out a banner bearing the Kleercut logo. The activists then used a bullhorn to read the Cut & Run report released by Greenpeace that documents Kimberly-Clark's devastating impact on the Kenogami Forest in Ontario, Canada.

"We read the Cut & Run report to them because they're trying to avoid it," says Greenpeace Forest campaigner Lindsey Allen. "But they can't hide. Ken Strassner can't hide from his company's legacy of Boreal destruction."

"A legacy of environmental devastation"

The Cut & Run report exposes how KC has utterly destroyed the ancient Kenogami Forest over the past seven decades. One key finding is that more than 70% of the forest is now fragmented, meaning that KC's clearcutting practices have left only small, isolated pockets of forest that can't sustain wildlife. By contrast, when the company first started managing the Kenogami in 1937 it was almost entirely intact with the exception of two railroad lines that cut through it.

The report also found that "The amount of old-growth in the forest is projected to decline by as much as 50 percent in coming years, due to logging that has already been done." In order to protect what's left of our ancient Boreal forests, Greenpeace is calling on KC to adopt much more environmentally friendly practices for making its disposable paper products.

Specifically, KC must:

  • Drastically increase the amount of recycled content in all of its products
  • Use only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood for any virgin fiber needs
  • And protect certain "no go" areas, including intact parts of the Boreal Forest

"The Cut & Run report is a case study of KC's mismanagement due to the fact that they don't have a forest policy that protects forests," says Allen. "Kimberly-Clark's appetite for destruction not only leads to devastation of forests, however. It also leads to caribou and wolverine habitat loss, human rights violations, and labor conflicts. If the company wants to keep portraying itself as a responsible corporate citizen, they must quit trying to hide from the reality of what they're doing to the Kenogami Forest."

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