Canadian Manufacturing

Kimberly-Clark to cut natural forest fibre use in half by 2025

Plans transition to alternate sources.



Kleenex and paper products manufacturer Kimberly-Clark (K-C) today announced plans to decrease its use of wood fibre sourced from natural forests by at least 50 per cent by 2025.

The company also released its Sustainability 2015 Full Circle report, which details its sustainability plans up to 2015, and reviews its initiatives from 2011.

Last year, K-C used almost 750 thousand metric tons of wood fibre sourced from natural forests—enough to manufacture about seven billion rolls of toilet paper.

The company plans to switch to alternate sources, including fibre sourced from rapidly growing tree plantations, and is already shipping products that contain bamboo and recycled fibre in Europe. In North America, it’s test-marketing tissue products made in part with wheat straw, and some made from 20 per cent bamboo fibre.

This strategy will help insulate K-C against volatile price fluctuations in the world fibre market, the company said, and also ensure “fibre is soured in an environmentally and socially responsible way.”

“In the long run, we hope that one day all of our fibre needs will be met from sources that collectively have maximum land use efficiencies while minimizing impact on people and our planet,” said Suhas Apte, K-C’s vice-president of global sustainability.

In recent years, K-C was targeted by environment activist group, Greenpeace during the Kleerkut campaign for sourcing pulp for Kleenex in the Kenogami and Ogoki boreal forests in northern Ontario.

In 2009, Greenpeace ceased the Kleercut campaign and declared victory when K-C revamped its environmental policy and agreed it would only purchase from logging operations in those regions if strict ecological criteria were met. At the same time, K-C started collaborating with Greenpeace for its forest product strategies.

“If done right, Kimberly-Clark’s innovative practices could be groundbreaking and potentially set a new high bar for other companies to meet,” Richard Brooks, Greenpeace forest campaign coordinator, said.

By 2015 the company also aims to source fibre only from certified suppliers, reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by five per cent and send zero manufacturing waste to landfill sites.

K-C has commissioned a life cycle analysis and broader sustainability with the Georgia Institute of Technology to ensure it manages and understands the impact of its decisions on the environment.

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