Press Release

115+ Groups Tell P&G to Stop Turning Canada’s Oldest Trees into Toilet Paper

Facing protests outside its shareholders meeting and petitions from over 200,000 consumers, P&G is urged to stop sourcing from threatened species habitat and increase recycled fibers in tissue products to save forests and the climate

Margie Kelly, NRDC
mkelly@nrdc.org
541-222-9699 

CINCINNATI, OH – David Taylor, CEO of Procter & Gamble (P&G) was told the company profited from a “wasteful, globally-harmful” practice—turning trees from the world’s largest, most carbon-rich intact forest into throwaway tissue products—in a letter signed by leaders of more than 115 environmental, conservation, consumer and student groups in the U.S. and Canada. The letter was delivered to shareholders at P&G’s general meeting on Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Stand.earth, non-profit environmental advocacy organizations, which also organized a rally outside the meeting in Cincinnati.

The letter, which cited “deep concern that Charmin” and other P&G brands contain no recycled materials or alternative fibers and decried the toll their activities were taking on endangered species and the climate, urged the company to apply its 181-year history of innovation to create tissue products that are truly sustainable. 

“In the face of the worst environmental crisis our planet has ever faced, there is simply no excuse for P&G to continue flushing our forests down the toilet with its unsustainable business practices,” said Shelley Vinyard, Boreal Corporate Campaign Manager for NRDC. “Nature’s call is loud and clear: Charmin must stop sourcing from threatened species habitat and forests that are vital to fixing our climate emergency, now.”

Consumers need to know that P&G’s products are made with threatened species habitat and carbon-rich ancient forests,” said Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director at Stand.earth and one of the winners of the 2019 Climate Breakthrough Project Award. “As a Canadian, it pains me to know that Procter & Gamble allows U.S. consumers to be unknowingly complicit in destroying endangered forests for single-use toilet paper and tissue products.”

To call attention to P&G’s failure to address its role in climate chaos, tyvek-clad protesters rallied outside the company’s annual meeting in downtown Cincinnati wearing signs that say “Charmin: Stop Flushing Our Forests”—joined by a chainsaw-wielding bear inspired by Charmin’s iconic branding. As shareholders made their way into the meeting, activists handed out 100% recycled “Who Gives a Crap” toilet paper and explained how P&G sources its fiber from clearcut forests and refuses to add recycled or alternative fiber to its Charmin toilet paper.

P&G’s shareholders meeting comes amidst increased calls from consumers and climate change activists for the company to use its extensive resources to create and deliver products with recycled and responsibly-sourced content that is better for the planet. Especially its toilet paper. Specifically, P&G is under fire for its Charmin brand, which uses no recycled content and is instead made using 100% virgin fiber from ancient trees, much of which is clear-cut from the Canadian boreal forest (the “Amazon of the North”). More than 200,000 people have signed petitions calling for P&G to change its sourcing practices and reduce its reliance on virgin forest fiber for its tissue products.

“The Canadian boreal forest stores nearly twice as much carbon as the world’s combined oil reserves,” said Anthony Swift, Director of NRDC’s Canada Project. “Keeping that carbon locked in the boreal’s trees and soils has to be a critical part of our global climate strategy – and that means companies like P&G must rethink what they’re using to make throwaway tissue products.” 

NRDC and Stand.earth will hold a media availability today beginning at 11 a.m. ET outside Procter & Gamble’s headquarters, located at 301 E. 6thStreet in downtown Cincinnati, immediately following the company’s annual shareholders meeting. The groups will react to the outcomes of the meeting and also discuss the “Issue with Tissue” report on toilet paper, which takes P&G and the largest tissue manufacturers to task for destroying Canada’s Boreal forest and exacerbating the world’s climate crisis by using no recycled content in their toilet paper.

Media Availability
 

WHO:

  • Shelley Vinyard, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Tegan Hansen, Stand.earth

WHEN:

  • Tuesday, October 8, 2019
  • 11 a.m. EST

WHERE:

Outside Procter & Gamble’s headquarters, located at 1 P&G Plaza (301 E. 6thStreet), at the intersection of Broadway and E. 6thStreet.

**For directions, media can call Shelley Vinyard on her cell phone at (210) 885-9100**

BACKGROUND
In February 2019, NRDC and Stand.earth released the Issue with Tissue report, taking the largest U.S. toilet paper and tissue companies to task for using fiber from clearcut forests and exacerbating the climate crisis with their products. The report gave Charmin a failing grade for using zero recycled content while instead relying on ancient trees clear-cut from the Canadian boreal forest. 

Protecting the Canadian boreal forest is a global priority given that it stores more carbon per acre than just about any forest type on Earth and nearly twice as much carbon as the world’s combined oil reserves, making its protection vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. The Canadian boreal forest is home to over 600 Indigenous communities, as well as the endangered boreal caribou, pine marten, and billions of songbirds. The loss of intact forest is impacting Indigenous Peoples’ ways of life and driving the decline of caribou and other species. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC

Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with offices in Canada and the United States that is known for its groundbreaking research and successful corporate and citizens engagement campaigns to create new policies and industry standards in protecting forests, advocating the rights of indigenous peoples, and protecting the climate. Visit us at www.stand.earth and follow us on Twitter @standearth.

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