Greenpeace's Response to Kimberly-Clark's Propaganda



THE KLEERCUT CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED IN VICTORY. THIS IS AN ARCHIVE OF THE CAMPAIGN.

Kimberly-Clark is, unfortunately, a company that puts more effort into making their environmental record 'sound' good and green than it does into actually improving their business practices and making the manufacture of their disposable tissue products environmentally friendly. Kimberly-Clark often sends out form letter replies with 'green propaganda' to the letter and emails of concern that the general public send them. To clear the air, we've put together a point by point response to Kimberly-Clark's propaganda below.

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS TO HAVE A PROUD CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY HISTORY.

Our Answer: It takes more than producing an annual corporate sustainability report to make a company truly sustainable and socially responsible. Kimberly-Clark is a corporation whose massive profits are based on creating disposable products from forests including ancient forests like the Boreal forest. The evidence on websites, reports, in still photos and moving video is clear that Kimberly-Clark is good at 'greenwashing' its image but not so good at decreasing its impact on ancient forests.

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS THAT IT ALREADY PROTECTS ECOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT OLD GROWTH AREAS IN ONTARIO.

Our Answer: Kimberly-Clark says that it has participated in Ontario Living Legacy Land Use Strategy and that it has worked to create protected areas on its former forest lands in the Kenogami Forest in Northern Ontario, Canada. That may be the case and sound good but when you look at the numbers the picture isn't so pretty. Less than 2.4% of the Kenogami Forest is set aside in areas protected from logging. The average amount for lands licensed to forestry companies is 12% in protected areas. And 12% is much lower than what Greenpeace and most scientists believe is ecologically responsible. Kimberly-Clark simply does not meet the grade.

Kimberly-Clark continues to buy fiber from companies that log in intact and ecologically important boreal forests in Ontario and Alberta, Canada. Kimberly-Clark's own documents show that it is logging in intact forests that contain trees that are upwards of 180 years old. This is the habitat of such species as grizzly and black bears, woodland caribou, wolves, bald eagles, boreal owls, and pine marten. Some of these boreal forest ecosystems have never been logged before and should not be clearcut to produce disposable tissue products.

Check out the type of old-growth forest protection that Kimberly-Clark supports

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS TO BE COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY.

Our Answer: This claim would be commendable if it were, in fact, true. Unfortunately, logging companies continue to clearcut intact and ecologically important boreal forests in Ontario and Alberta to supply Kimberly-Clark with fiber for its tissue products including Kleenex brand products. If Kimberly-Clark were committed to sustainable forestry, auditors would not have discovered in November 2000 that over 1 million cubic metres (1.3 million cubic yards) of trees had been cut and left to rot on the side of logging roads in the Kenogami Forest in northern Ontario, Canada. If Kimberly-Clark were committed to sustainable forestry, it would not purchase pulp from the Alberta-based logging company West Fraer that continues to log in the habitat of the threatened woodland caribou, a species at risk of extinction. If Kimberly-Clark were committed to sustainable forestry it would make sure that much more of the ecologically important areas of the Kenogami Forest were protected from logging.

Check out photos of the type of sustainable forestry that Kimberly-Clark supports.

The boreal forests that Kimberly-Clark gets its pulp from have been evolving since the last Ice Age, over 10,000 years ago, and have never been logged before. As the world's forests continue to vanish, paper companies, like Kimberly-Clark, must make a commitment not to use pulp from endangered forests. It is essential that corporate commitments translate into effective protection of forests on the ground. Otherwise it is just a lot of words with little substance.

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS THAT THE BOREAL FOREST IS NOT THREATENED BECAUSE OF PULP PRODUCTION AND THAT MUCH OF ITS PULP FROM THE BOREAL FOREST IS SAW MILL WASTE.

Our Answer: The pulp and paper and lumber industries in Canada are very closely entwined and interdependent. They rely on each other so much that one could not survive financially without the other. In fact, the pulp and paper industry, which includes Kimberly-Clark, drives much of the clearcutting that takes place in the Boreal forest. Without this growing demand, clearcutting would not be expanding into the northern reaches of the Boreal forest. Kimberly-Clark is also incorrect in stating that much of their fiber is derived from saw mill residue or waste. In fact, according to the Kenogami Forest Management Plan - the official government-approved plan written by Neenah Paper Inc. that outlines logging operations in Ontario's Kenogami Forest - 48% of the wood used in the Neenah Paper's pulp mill comes directly from the Boreal forest. This wood is not sawed first at a local saw mill nor delivered in the form of sawdust or chips. Neenah Paper is a currently a major supplier of pulp to Kimberly-Clark and was owned by Kimberly-Clark up until November 2004. The Kenogami Forest is a Boreal forest.

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS TO BE COMMITTED TO THIRD-PARTY FOREST CERTIFICATION.

Our Answer: Kimberly-Clark buys the majority of its pulp from logging operations that do not meet Greenpeace's recognized standard of sustainability. A sustainable forest is one that is managed according to high environmental and social standards, which protect both the ecology of the forest and the cultural and social values they provide to the local communities that depend upon them. To date, Greenpeace considers only one set of standards to be a credible measure of sustainability: the Forest Stewardship Council's (FSC) management and certification system. The Forest Stewardship Council incorporates rigorous environmental, social and economic requirements for sustainable forest management and is truly independent from the logging industry.

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. As well, neither are supported by environmental groups like Greenpeace. Kimberly-Clark should commit to purchasing what virgin fiber it does buy from FSC-certified logging operations. More information about the failings of the SFI and CSA schemes is available in the On the Ground report.

Check out what a Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified logging operation looks like.

If companies like Kimberly-Clark publicly indicated a preference for Forest Stewardship Council eco-certified fiber this would help drive logging companies to produce more of this type of sustainable fiber.

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS TO HAVE COMPLETED AN INVENTORY OF THIRD-PARTY GLOBAL FIBERS SUPPLIERS.

Our Answer: It"s important to know who is supplying one's company! Completing AND publicizing that inventory are very small first steps in determining the ecological and cultural risks associated with logging operations. However, Kimberly-Clark should go further by ending the purchase of fiber from endangered forests and significantly increase the amount of post-consumer recycled fiber and agricultural residues it uses in its products.

* Kimberly-Clark TISSUE PRODUCTS DO NOT CONTAIN FIBER FROM SENSITIVE SOUTHEASTERN FORESTS.

Our Answer: Our campaign is focused on North America"s Boreal forest, not on the U.S. southeastern forests. Greenpeace is not claiming that Kimberly-Clark is using fiber from Tennessee"s Cumberland Plateau to manufacture its consumer or commercial tissue products.

If it were proud about the type of logging it supported, Kimberly-Clark would publicly disclose the various sources of the fiber it uses for its tissue products. To date, it hasn't.

sapling in K-C clearcut

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS THAT IT SUPPORTS THE PROTECTION OF OLD GROWTH FORESTS INCLUDING THE BOREAL.

Our Answer: If that was the case, then why does Kimberly-Clark continue to buy pulp from companies, like Neenah Paper (Ontario, Canada) and West Fraser Timber (Alberta, Canada), that cut down 160 year old trees from intact forests?

We have seen little in the way of any meaningful proposals for additional boreal forest protection from Kimberly-Clark. Kimberly-Clark can improve its environmental profile by phasing out the use of virgin tree fiber in its tissue products and switching to using a high percentage of recycled fiber or agricultural residues. The world can no longer afford to have ancient forests turned into toilet paper, facial tissue and other disposable tissue products.

Kimberly-Clark believes that the virgin tree fiber it uses is sustainably harvested and that clearcutting is an environmental form of logging that it is similar to wildfires, a natural occurrence in the Boreal forest. Unfortunately a clearcut is nothing like a forest fire and there are many peer-reviewed reports and multiyear studies that have proven this time and time again.

Forest Fire
* Kills pathogens (fungi & insects).
* Breaks rocks through heating and cooling which builds soil.
* Releases the nutrients from leaf litter.
* Allows individual trees and forest patches to survive, providing seed source, wildlife habitat and old-growth features.
* Leaves standing trees, fallen logs and root network, reducing sediment runoff.
* Encourages conifer growth: heat from fire opens cones (to spread seeds) and reduces competition from hardwoods (poplar and birch).
* Retains genetic diversity of tree species.
* No new roads built

Clearcut
* No clean-up- allows pathogens to survive.
* Heavy equipment promotes rutting and compaction of soil.
* Depletes site by removing nutrient rich leaves, twigs, and wood.
* Completely removes standing trees, eliminates wildlife habitat, future seed sources and old-growth features.
* Allows high level of sediment runoff (erosion) due to loss of soil-holding properties of trees.
* Promotes growth of shade-intolerant hardwoods (poplar and birch) by creating full sun conditions without heating soil. Conversion of forest often results.
* Reduces genetic diversity of regenerating forest.
* Road network must be built, which allows increased access for hunting and mining opportunities, and compacts soil

We don't believe that just because provincial governments in Canada allow clearcutting under their current laws that this is the most environmentally sound way of logging a forest. We hope that large corporations like Kimberly-Clark can show leadership by supporting sustainable logging practices and not massive clearcutting.

A commitment to stop purchasing fibre from endangered forests, to only buy from Forest Stewardship Council-certified logging operations when purchasing virgin tree fibre, and maximizing the recycled content of all Kimberly-Clark tissue products would go a long way toward protecting the boreal forest.

Stump in K-C clearcut

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS THAT IT ALREADY OFFERS 100-PERCENT RECYCLED FIBER TISSUE PRODUCTS.

Our Answer: Most of Kimberly-Clark's well-known tissue paper products that are sold to the public through corner stores, pharmacies and grocery stores are made from 100 percent virgin tree fiber. This includes Kleenex brand tissue products.

Kimberly-Clark continues to purchase more than 3 million metric tonnes (3.3 million tons) of virgin tree fiber to make disposable tissue products, much of which comes from ancient and endangered forests like the Canadian Boreal Forest. Less than 19% of the pulp that Kimberly-Clark uses for its products comes from recycled sources and most of this is used in tissue products sold to large institutions, like stadiums and office buildings, rather than to the average consumer. The use of recycled material for the whole tissue product industry is approximately 60%.

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS THAT ITS USE OF 100 PERCENT VIRGIN FIBRE FOR PREMIUM PRODUCTS LIKE KLEENEX IS IN LINE WITH INDUSTRY STANDARDS AND CONSUMER PREFERENCE.

Our Answer: There are many tissue products on the market that contain a very high percentage of recycled fibres and are just as soft and strong as 100% virgin fibre tissue products. Kimberly-Clark is choosing to ignore consumers' preference for forest friendly tissue products and their demands for tissue products that have a high post-consumer recycled content instead.

Greenpeace campaigner in K-C clearcut

* Kimberly-Clark CLAIMS THAT IT HAS DEVELOPED A PROPRIETARY TISSUE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY THAT REDUCES FIBER USE.

Our Answer: Kimberly-Clark continues to use over 3 million metric tonnes (3.3 million tons) of virgin tree fibre to make its disposable tissue products. This has an enormous impact on ancient forests like Canada's boreal forest. Because of this, Kimberly-Clark must do more to reduce its impact on forests and follow the lead of its competitors. For example, companies like Cascades get the vast the vast majority of their fibre from recycled sources.

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