A “Fair and Balanced” Tissue Talk

by Rolf Skar

March 7, 2009

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!

Ok, let’s get it out there: Fox News is not known for going easy on environmental advocates.

True, green is the new black, and everyone from fashion designers to members of Congress are rushing to catch up with the green trend which finally feels like it’s here to stay.

That said, when I agreed to do a live spot on Fox News about our new green tissue guide, I didn’t expect them to go soft on me. Exaggerations, interruptions, and even name-calling are just par for the course if you’re a “treehugger” on Fox.

So, what happened when I showed up?

Sitting on the proverbial hot seat in a filming room by myself, staring at a blank screen, I listened closely to the chatter in the earbud in my left ear.  Then it began.  Though host Megyn Kelly playfully poked, prodded and gave me a hard time, by the end of the segment it was the Greenpeace tissue guide – and the call to buy quality recycled tissue products – that came out on top.

Click below to watch, rate and comment on the video on YouTube!



If you’re having trouble viewing the video on YouTube, click here.

The outcome wasn’t that much of a surprise.  After all, most people agree that making disposable products from ancient forests doesn’t make a lot of sense…especially when we can make the same products from quality recycled paper.  However, the most remarkable part came when co-host Bill Hemmer was challenged to feel the difference between recycled toilet paper and a non-recycled brand…and he picked wrong.  As the host said, they "proved my point."

Is there really a difference between recycled tissue and tissue made from virgin fiber?  Definitely.  Non-recycled tissue products come with a much heavier price tag for the Earth.  And, in many cases, it comes with a heftier price tag, period.  Many of the brands that failed our tissue guide ranking, including Kleenex, Cottonelle, and Viva – are so-called “premium” brands that companies like Kimberly-Clark want you to pay more for.

So much so, that in the face of the recession, Kimberly-Clark spent $25 million MORE on advertising those expensive, unsustainable brands in just the third quarter of 2008 alone.  They did so in a desparate attempt to keep Americans from switching to more affordable brands.

That begs the question: do Americans really prefer those expensive, ancient forest-destroying products?  Can people really tell the difference?  Or, are they being duped into buying pricey stuff with imaginary benefits and larger impact on the planet?

I hope you’ll use our new tissue guide, make up your own mind, and ultimately vote for ancient forest protection with your hard-earned dollars.


Rolf Skar

By Rolf Skar

Rolf Skar is the Campaigns Director at Greenpeace USA. Since 2007, Rolf has contributed to international Greenpeace campaigns to stop deforestation in the Canadian boreal forest, the Paradise forests of Southeast Asia, and the Brazilian Amazon.

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