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

Boreal Forest, Ontario Canada

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.

Woodland Caribou - A threatened wildlife species that depends on ancient Boreal forests

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.

Boreal Forest, Ontario 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.

Read the full policy and its annex (pdf)

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


Big Businesses, Educational Institutions Join Forest Friendly Businesses in Rejecting K-C

While over 700 small businesses have rejected Kimberly-Clark products, the campaign has also made significant progress with encouraging educational institutions and large businesses to boycott K-C products until the company stops destroying ancient forests to make disposable products. To date:

-- Aspen Skiing Company has removed K-C products from its ski mountains, hotels and restaurants, as well as dropped all printed references to Kleenex Corner, an iconic spot on Aspen Mountain.
-- American University has sent a letter of concern to K-C that highlights the university’s decision to avoid using K-C paper products
-- Rice University has removed K-C products from its Housing and Dining
-- Skidmore College has written a letter of concern to K-C
-- The Green Restaurant Association has sent a letter to K-C stating that they will not endorse K-C products


K-C Losing Customers: New York Times Ad Features Forest Friendly Businesses

Ny Times Ad (Click for high res PDF)

In a ad in the National Edition of the New York Times newspaper, Greenpeace announced that more than 650 businesses in North America and from around the world are refusing to use tissue products manufactured by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation and made from ancient forests. The businesses are calling on the company to use more recycled fiber and pulp from sustainable logging operations in its products including Kleenex brand facial tissue.

The company is causing the destruction of North America’s largest ancient forest, the Boreal, which is home to endangered species and is essential in combating global warming pollution.

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Download the Forest Friendly 500 Action Kit to get all the information and materials you will need to approach businesses. And, once you've done that, be sure to read up on the Kimberly-Clark Commercial Tissue Products to Avoid!

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