Greenpeace Ends Kleercut Campaign Against Kimberly-Clark

Greenpeace launched the Kleercut Campaign against Kimberly-Clark accusing the company of cutting down ancient forests for their paper products.

It’s a good day for Kleenex.  After almost five years of hard campaigning, Greenpeace promised to end its Kleercut campaign against Kimberly-Clark, the world’s largest tissue-product manufacturer of Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle products.  During a joint news conference in Washington D.C., the large corporation and the controversial non-governmental organization (NGO) announced an historic agreement that will ensure greater protection and sustainable management of Canada’s Boreal Forest.

What is the Kleercut Campaign?

During their physical and social mapping of the Boreal Forest, Greenpeace discovered that over 90% of the southern part of the forest was being clearcut.  According to Conservation International, deforestation contributes approximately 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – more than cars, trains and planes combined.  So the next step was to follow the supply chain from the destructive logging companies to the end-consumers, and the largest product company purchasing the wood fiber: Kimberly-Clark.

What many may not realize is that toilet and tissue paper are still made of 100% virgin tree fiber from ancient forests and old-growth trees.  Why can’t we use recycled fiber in our toilet paper?  Greenpeace asked the same question in face-to-face meetings with the large corporation.  At the time, the company wasn’t interested so in November 2004, Greenpeace launched their market campaign dubbed the “Kleercut Campaign, wiping away ancient forests.”

Kimberly-Clark’s Fiber Procurement Policy

Fast forward to August 2009; Kimberly-Clark Corporation announces their new responsible fiber sourcing policy that will increase conservation of forests globally.  Of course, Greenpeace was an instrumental partner in the creation of the revised sourcing standards.  The policy in a nutshell:

  • Goal of obtaining 100% of the wood fiber for its products from environmentally responsible sources, recycled fiber or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
  • By the end of 2011, the company will eliminate the purchase of any fiber from the Canadian Boreal Forest that is not FSC certified.
  • Protect the integrity of High Conservation Value Forests and will keep Kimberly-Clark and its suppliers out of Endangered Forests.

In the company’s press release, Scott Paul, Greenpeace USA Forest Campaign Director said, “These revised standards are proof that when responsible companies and Greenpeace come together, the results can be good for business and great for the planet.  Kimberly-Clark’s efforts are a challenge to its competitors. I hope other companies pay close attention.”

Kimberly-Clark and Greenpeace have thrown down the responsible-sourcing gauntlet for the other tissue and paper towel manufacturers, Proctor & Gamble (Charmin and Bounty) and Georgia Pacific (Angel Soft and Brawny).  Will they step up to the challenge?

Greenpeace makes up with Kimberly:


Image credit: ekai at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

  1. greengrift

    Sorry. This agreement changes nothing substantive about KC’s fibre-purchasing practises. KC already purchases 98% of its fibre from certified forests. None of the fibre harvested from these lands is contributing to deforestation. Moreover, you can’t get recycled fibre without cutting a tree at some point.

    FSC has no claim to superiority over other certification systems. The fact that Greenpeace is a founding member of FSC is a major conflict of interest. Fundamentally, their tactics to force forest products companies to use FSC is no different than pressure from the Mafia on businesses to use the waste disposal services of their friends.

  2. Cindy Tickle

    greengrift – interesting points and a great spark for discussion. Do you feel KC practiced sustainable fiber purchasing before the Greenpeace campaign? And perhaps Greenpeace took advantage of the situation to their benefit? As a society, we tend to believe that the NGO is to be trusted and the corporation is the bad guy. Maybe that’s not always the case.

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