Kimberly-Clark

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Kimberly-Clark is the largest tissue product company in the world. Its brands include Kleenex facial tissue, Scott paper towels, Cottonelle bathroom tissue, Kotex, Depend, and Huggies diapers. [1]

Kleenex and Ancient Forest Destruction

Kleenex, one of the most well known brands of tissue products in the world, is contributing to the destruction of North America ancient forests. Its manufacturer, Kimberly-Clark, destroys ancient forests to manufacture products that are used once and then thrown away or flushed down the toilet. One of the ancient forests Kimberly-Clark is impacting to produce its tissue products is the North American Boreal forest. The Boreal forest stretches from Alaska in the west to the eastern provinces of Canada and is the largest tract of ancient forest left in North America. Representing 25 per cent of the world’s remaining ancient forests, the Boreal forest is a globally significant forest. To Kimberly-Clark however, it is disposable.

What is Kimberly-Clark?

Kimberly-Clark is a (U.S.) $15.8 billion company, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with offices, factories and mills in 38 countries. Its products are sold in 150 countries. The largest tissue product manufacturer in the world, Kimberly-Clark produces the well-known Kleenex brand facial tissue, toilet paper and napkins in Canada and the United States, and Scott, Viva and Cottonelle tissue products in the United States. Kimberly-Clark also produces an extensive line of commercial tissue products for businesses, institutions and governments. Kimberly-Clark is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: KMB).

Kimberly-Clark Uses Virgin Fiber Straight from Forests

In North America, less than 19 percent of the pulp that Kimberly-Clark uses as raw material for its disposable tissue products for at-home use (toilet paper, facial tissue, napkins and paper towels) comes from recycled sources (Kimberly-Clark Sustainability Report 2003, http://www.kimberly-clark.com/aboutus/sustainability2003/sustainableForestry.asp). The rest comes directly from trees. In 2004, Kimberly-Clark required 3.0 million tons of virgin fiber (3 million metric tonnes) to produce its tissue paper products globally, an increase of 24% over 2003 levels (Kimberly-Clark Sustainability Report 2004, http://www.kimberly-clark.com/aboutus/sustainability2004/). The company has the ability to make a much higher percentage of its products from post-consumer recycled fiber but chooses not to do so. In fact, many of its brands sold in grocery stores, such as Kleenex are made from 100 percent virgin tree fiber, much of which comes from ancient forests like the Boreal forest. Globally, only 29% of the fiber that Kimberly-Clark uses comes from recycled sources. This stands in contrast to tissue product manufacturers like Cascades, North America’s fourth largest manufacturer of tissue products. 97% of the fiber used by Cascades comes from recycled sources.

North America’s Boreal Forest Pays the Price

The Boreal forest is one of the last remaining large ancient forests in the world. Its thick layers of moss, soil and peat form one of the world’s largest terrestrial storehouses of carbon and therefore play a critical role fighting climate change. The Boreal forest is also home to hundreds of wide-ranging wildlife species, including moose, caribou, lynx, bear and wolves. Eagles, hawks, owls, 30 percent of North American songbirds, and 40 percent of North American waterfowl nest in its forests and wetlands.

Kimberly-Clark buys virgin fiber from logging companies operating in the Boreal forest in Ontario and Alberta. For example, the Neenah Paper mill in Terrace Bay, Ontario, uses wood pulp from clearcutting within the 5.6 million acre (2.3 million hectare) Kenogami Forest. Neenah Paper is a recent spin-off of Kimberly-Clark. The logging practices there are far from environmentally sustainable. In 2000 alone, more than 35.3 million cubic feet (1 million cubic meters) of trees were left to rot on the side of logging roads, according to independent auditors (Callaghan and Associates Inc. "An Independent Audit of Forest Management on the Kenogami Forest for the Period 1995 to 2000." November 2000, p. 23). Ninety-eight percent of the Kenogami Forest is not protected from logging and much of the Kenogami Forest has already been fragmented by clearcuts and logging roads needed to serve Kimberly-Clark’s appetite for pulp.

Another source of pulp is Alberta’s Hinton Forest located in the Rocky Mountain Foothills wilderness. This 2.4 million acre (1 million hectare) region featuring lodgepole pine, white spruce and balsam fir tree species is being clearcut by West Fraser Timber to provide Kimberly-Clark with virgin pulp. Some of the forest stands being impacted are home to threatened caribou.

Greenpeace’s Kleercut Campaign

In November 2004, Greenpeace launched the Kleercut campaign to pressure Kimberly-Clark to 1) end the use of virgin fiber from clearcut ancient forests 2) use more recycled fibre in their tissue products. Since then dozens of actions involving hundreds of activists have taken place across Canada and the USA, over 125,000 letters have been sent to Kimberly-Clark decisionmakers and over $14 million dollars worth of Kimberly-Clark shares have been mobilized by concerned shareholders.

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

  1. Kimberly-Clark Profile, Hoovers, accessed August 2007.

Tobacco involvement

Kimberly-Clark Corporation specializes in the tobacco reconstitution process and in helping the tobacco companies control their nicotine.

Some tobacco companies use or have previously used a process called "tobacco reconstitution" which controls nicotine levels in cigarettes. The process was patented and marketed by LTR Industries, a subsidiary of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. KImberly-Clark was also a manufacturer of cigarette paper.

LTR Industries is a subsidiary in France of the Kimberly-Clark Corp. LTR Industries specializes in the tobacco reconstitution process and in helping the tobacco companies control their nicotine.(Castano Complaint 45). See LTR Industries, also TTLA Almanac - Names. Kimberly-Clark Corp. obtained a patent #5,269,329 in 1993 regarding adding tobacco extract to filters. The patent describes a process for adding tobacco extract to cigarette filters. The process can be used to add tobacco extract of from 10% to 110% of the filter weight.(J. Slade Statement 3/25/94)

In May 1995, Kimberly-Clark announced plans to spin off its $404 million tobacco businesses under pressure from religious stockholders and institutional purchasers. Just weeks before, management had opposed a shareholder resolution which called on the company to "take steps to accomplish a separation of its tobacco business from all its non-tobacco business by January 1, 1996." Religious investors had criticized the tobacco business as a contradiction to Kimberly-Clark's reputation for health and hygiene products, such as Kleenex.[1]

Lobbying

Kimberly-Clark spent $120,000 for lobbying in 2006. [1]

Personnel

Key executives and 2006 pay: [2]

Selected board members: [3]

Contact details

PO Box 619100
Dallas, TX 75261
Phone: 972-281-1200
Fax: 972-281-1435
Web: http://www.kimberly-clark.com

References

  1. Kimberly-Clark lobbying expenses, Open Secrets.
  2. Kimberly-Clark Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed August 2007.
  3. Board of Directors, Kimberly-Clark, accessed August 2007.

External links

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