Greenpeace Criticizes Kleenex Manufacturer’s ‘Green’ Policy Days Before AGM
“This new policy represents a tragic missed opportunity for Kimberly-Clark and falls incredibly short of numerous recent procurement policies adopted by companies such Williams Sonoma, Victoria’s Secret and others”, said Lindsey Allen of Greenpeace. Unlike these other respected companies, Kimberly-Clark developed its policy in virtual isolation, refusing meaningful input from environmental groups or other stakeholders. “They just don’t seem to get it,” Allen continued, “the policy represents an outdated, closed-door approach to policy making.” Kimberly-Clark has steadfastly refused requests to meet with Greenpeace to discuss issues pertaining to sustainability. According to Greenpeace, the fiber procurement policy treats any and all forest management certification schemes as equal and acceptable despite major substantive differences. The policy also fails to establish timelines or set goals for increasing the amount of responsibly-produced fiber in its products and includes no measurable commitment to increase use of recycled fiber. Finally, supposed safeguards for protecting endangered forests and wildlife are ambiguous and unenforceable. “The intentional ambiguity and non quantifiable goals in this policy are exceedingly frustrating to see”, said Allen. “Their refusal to engage in meaningful dialogue to improve their sourcing practices leaves us little choice but to ramp up our campaign against the company.” In the past year, Greenpeace has staged protests at K-C operations across the U.S., Canada and in Europe and K-C shareholders have filed shareholder resolutions seeking improvements in the company’s forest policies. Since 2006, 719 businesses have pledged to stop buying from Kimberly-Clark until the company changes its ways. “We have removed Kimberly-Clark’s products from our ski mountains,” said Matt Hamilton of Aspen Ski Company. “We are taking these actions because Kimberly-Clark’s use of pulp from endangered forests and lack of recycled fibre in consumer tissue paper products is contrary to our guiding principles.” Colleges and universities are turning away from Kimberly-Clark as well. Harvard University recently joined Rice University, American University and Skidmore College in taking action through public statements or a phase-out of the company’s products. Kimberly-Clark is the world’s largest tissue product manufacturer. All consumer tissue products it sells in North America, including Kleenex, Scott, and Viva brands, are made from 100% virgin tree fibre, much of it from clear-cut ancient forests including the North American Boreal Forest.