Media releases, Press kits, Photos

Kimberly-Clark and Greenpeace agree to historic measures to protect forests

Canada's Boreal Forest
5 August 2009: Kimberly-Clark releases new environmental policy.

The Kleercut campaign is over.

Canada's precious Boreal Forest is better conserved today. So are ancient forests around the world.

At a joint news conference in Washington DC, Greenpeace and the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the world’s largest tissue-product manufacturer, announced an historic agreement that will ensure greater protection and sustainable management of Canada's Boreal Forest and other ancient forests around the world.

The agreement also will stand out as a model for forest-products companies worldwide.

Protection for the Boreal Forest in Canada

Canada's Boreal Forest is North America’s largest ancient forest and provides habitat for threatened wildlife such as woodland caribou, wolverine and over one billion migratory birds. The new agreement ensures that Kimberly-Clark, which makes Kleenex-brand products, will no longer be purchasing pulp from the three million hectare (7.4 million acre) Kenogami and Ogoki Forests in northern Ontario unless strict ecological criteria are met. These two areas within key zones of intact forest have been at the center of the Kleercut campaign.

Now, Greenpeace and Kimberly-Clark are moving away from conflict to a new collaborative relationship to further promote forest conservation, responsible forest management, and the use of recycled fiber for the manufacture of tissue products.

Kenogami Forest

The power of activists and market pressure

Greenpeace's Kleercut campaign was launched in November 2004.

This campaign to help protect ancient forests in Canada and globally applied pressure on the company via the marketplace and its large customers and consumers. In order to highlight the issue, hundreds of protests took place globally, resulting in more than 50 activists arrested in acts of peaceful civil disobedience. Scientific and exposé reports, media mobilization and shareholder engagement were also an important part of the campaign.

Revisit the campaign via a photo timeline

This work and dedication reached a successful conclusion with Kimberly-Clark’s release of the strongest paper policy by one of the world’s top three tissue product manufacturers.

Implementing the Kimberly-Clark policy

Implementation of the policy will lead to protection of the world’s most endangered forests, increased support for sustainable forest management through Forest Stewardship Council certification and the increased use of recycled fiber in Kimberly-Clark products.

During the evolution of this policy, Kimberly-Clark stopped buying more than 325,000 tonnes of pulp a year from logging operations in the Kenogami and Ogoki Forests. The company managing these forests was unwilling to protect endangered forest areas in them and supply Kimberly-Clark with Forest Stewardship Council certified pulp.

Intact Forests in Western Canada

The Boreal Forest and climate change

Protection of the Boreal Forest is crucial to world efforts to stop climate change. This forest is the largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon on the planet, storing 27 years worth of greenhouse gas emissions or 186 billion tonnes. If this carbon is released into the atmosphere it will add to the threat of catastrophic climate change.

Big increase to recycled and FSC fibre use
Under the policy Kimberly-Clark has set a goal of ensuring that 100 per cent of the fibre used in its products will be from environmentally responsible sources. It will greatly increase its use of recycled fibre and fibre from forest certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards. By 2011, it will also increase the use of recycled and FSC fibre for North American products to 40 per cent from 29.7 per cent in 2007. By 2012, the company will no longer use pulp from the Boreal Forest unless is it certified to the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council.

The full policy and its annex can be downloaded here

Please join us in thanking Kimberly-Clark for supporting conservation of the Boreal Forest by sending its CEO a congratulations email.

To see an archive of the campaign click the links below and in the top bar.

US Recycled Tissue Guide Released

Avoid Kleenex, Viva, Scott, Cottonelle, and others

US Tissue Guide

Americans could save more than 400,000 trees if each family bought a roll of recycled toilet paper—just once. Recycled tissue products help protect ancient forests, clean water, and wildlife habitat and yet some companies still make products with no recycled content.

Tissue products are used once and then thrown or flushed away. Buying products made with post-consumer recycled content that have not been bleached with chlorine compounds reduces our impact on ancient forests and the broader environment.

Greenpeace surveyed companies that make toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels, and paper napkins available to US consumers to find out which of the products met our criteria. Visit our online version of the guide or read on to learn more about the criteria used to compare products.

Flip through the full Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide

The Australian Otway forests saved from Kimberly-Clark

OREN publishes website documenting their victory

How do you stop Kimberly-Clark from turning valuable native forests into Kleenex? Just take a look at this new website from Otway Ranges Environment Network (OREN). The site provides an historical overview of this landmark campaign to protect the Otway forests, in Victoria, Australia.

From 1995-2008 the “refuse to use Kleenex tissues” campaign fought to save the Otway forests from becoming woodchips for Kimberly-Clark toilet paper and tissues. Through OREN’s perseverance, consumer awareness activities, and the support of communities and area residents, the campaign led to the protection of the Otway forests within the Great Otway National Park. The campaign’s final victory has ensured that clearfell logging and woodchipping of all native forest on public land in the Otways is banned and illegal.

Stockpile of Ogoki Logs Destined for Terrace Bay and Kimberly-Clark

Cut & Run

Photo and video released today reveal the existence of a massive stockpile of old-growth logs that are destined to become disposable products like Kleenex tissue and Cottonelle toilet paper for tissue giant Kimberly-Clark Corporation (K-C). The logs originate from the Ogoki Forest, the single most ecologically valuable area left in Ontario’s southern Boreal Forest and the site of growing controversy.

The stockpile is evidence of Kimberly-Clark’s egregious mismanagement of the forests despite company claims that “much of [the] fiber from the Canadian Boreal forest comes to K-C in the form of wood pulp produced from sawdust and chips – or leftovers – of the lumber production process.”

Greenpeace Report: Kimberly-Clark's Failed Policies Devastate Forest

Cut & Run

A new Greenpeace report reveals that Kimberly-Clark devastated Ontario’s Kenogami Forest while promoting itself as a leader in environmental and social responsibility.

Download the report now and take action.

Cut and Run uses government information, independent audits, public records, and satellite mapping to document Kimberly-Clark’s management and logging of the Kenogami Forest near Thunder Bay, Ontario. It details how, in just 70 years, the Kenogami Forest has been turned from a vast expanse of healthy, near-pristine forest, to a severely damaged landscape rife with social and environmental problems--largely to make products that are used once and then thrown away.

Kimberly-Clark Declared Greenwasher by Ethical Corporation Magazine

This week Kimberly-Clark was featured in UK based Ethical Corporation Magazine. Here's an excerpt, you can read the full article or subscribe to their emails.

"According to Dave Challis, Kimberly-Clark's "sustainability manager" for Europe: "Working with the Carbon Trust is a perfect fit with our overall sustainability policies. We have long held objectives to reduce carbon emissions through our 'Vision' global environmental programme and this is an extension of that work. For Kimberly-Clark, exploring how the entire retail industry reaches a common measurement for carbon emissions is vital and we are delighted to be involved at this early stage."

Sounds marvellous, doesn't it? Is this the same Kimberly-Clark that has been widely condemned for its indiscriminate pillaging of the ancient North American Boreal Forest? According to environmentalists, Kimberly-Clark has gobbled wood from forests in Ontario for more than 70 years, driving massive clearcutting and environmental degradation.

Greenpeace Recycled Tissue Guide for iPhone, Android, and mobile phones

Earlier this year we introduced the Greenpeace Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide and the popularity of the guide inspired us to make an iPhone, Android, and mobile version.

Our new iPhone application can be downloaded from iTunes or the Android market or you can view the guide on your mobile phone at The tool created by 3rd Whale, gives consumers a quick and easy way to choose the greenest toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and paper napkins sold at US supermarkets. For people interested in protecting ancient forests from clearcutting and supporting truly sustainable companies, this application makes informed decision making easy.

In the News: Kimberly-Clark's Use of Forests for Disposables

Wasteful Use of Ancient Forests for Kleenex Covered in the New York Times, The Guardian, Fast Company and Other Major Outlets.

Here's a sampling of quotes from the stories, to read our full response to these articles and for an in depth look at Kimberly-Clark's misleading statements take a look at our blog post Destroying forests to make toilet paper is “worse than driving Hummers”.

New York Times
Mr. Whipple Left It Out: Soft Is Rough on Forests

"...fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and Latin American countries, including some percentages of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them."

"Greenpeace on Monday for the first time issued a national guide for American consumers that rates toilet tissue brands on their environmental soundness. With the recession pushing the price for recycled paper down and Americans showing more willingness to repurpose everything from clothing to tires, environmental groups want more people to switch to recycled toilet tissue."

"'No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper,' said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and waste expert with the Natural Resource Defense Council."

The Guardian
American taste for soft toilet roll 'worse than driving Hummers'

"A campaign by Greenpeace seeks to raise consciousness among Americans about the environmental costs of their toilet habits and counter an aggressive new push by the paper industry giants to market so-called luxury brands."

"Reuters reported that Kimberly-Clark spent $25m in its third quarter on advertising to persuade Americans against trusting their bottoms to cheaper brands."

Fast Company
Green Toilet Paper Buying Guide: Be Kind to Your Behind vs. Hug a Tree?

"It’s common to frame environmental dilemmas moralistically, as small, personal choices where we all should try to do the right thing, even if it makes us a little uncomfortable. But maybe the tissue issue is really a matter of pressuring businesses to innovate and do a better job marketing products that are better for the planet."

University of Florida Gives KC the Boot

University of Florida Green TeamThe University of Florida has removed Kleenex brand tissues in its campus stores because they are made with virgin fiber, much of which is sourced from the North American Boreal forest--one of our last remaining ancient forests.

“The removal of Kimberly-Clark products from our university is a strong sign that the company is not producing an environmentally sound product,” said Alex Klein, UF junior and student activist. “Kimberly-Clark claims to be an environmentally responsible company, but it uses wood pulp that is clearcut from the Boreal to make throwaway products like tissues and toilet paper. The University of Florida showed that universities can use their purchasing power to demand that Kimberly-Clark use recycled paper and stop wiping away ancient forests for disposable paper products.”

”UF already has an environmentally-progressive procurement policy and therefore we do not purchase Kimberly-Clark products on campus. I plan to continue to educate people individually about the Kleercut campaign and set a good example through my own actions,” said Klein.

Greenpeace campaigner on global power list for pulp and paper sector

Richard Brooks, Forest Campaign Coordinator Greenpeace Canada

Toronto, Canada — Greenpeace Forests Campaign Coordinator Richard Brooks has been named to a "Top 50 Power List" of people considered the most influential in the global pulp and paper industry.

This recognition comes at a time when the Greenpeace forest campaign is celebrating some recent victories and continuing its pressure on Kimberly-Clark for forcing the clearcutting of intact areas of the Boreal Forest.

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