Groups Call on Kimberly-Clark to Stop Destroying Ancient Forests in Canada's Boreal Forest

NEW YORK (November 18, 2004) -- Calling on the maker of Kleenex and Scott tissue products to stop destroying ancient forests, Greenpeace Canada and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) today launched an international campaign against Kimberly-Clark for its primary role in destroying Canada's boreal forest. The groups want the company, the world's leading tissue product manufacturer, to use significantly more post-consumer recycled paper or agricultural residues in its products. (For more information about Kimberly-Clark, click here and for more information about the tissue product industry, click here.)

"It takes 90 years to grow a box of Kleenex, but only a few seconds to throw away a tissue," said Richard Brooks, Greenpeace Canada's forests campaigner. "It's wasteful and irresponsible for Kimberly-Clark to use virgin wood fiber from ancient forests to make disposable tissue products like Kleenex when it could easily use recycled paper."

In 2003, Kimberly-Clark produced more than 1,275,000 tons of tissue products in North America, of which more than 30 percent came from pulp made from Canada's ancient boreal forest. Its best-known products in the United States and Canada include Kleenex facial tissue, toilet paper and napkins. In the United States it also sells Scott toilet paper, towels and napkins; Cottonelle toilet paper; and Viva towels. Only 19 percent of the fiber Kimberly-Clark uses in North America is recycled.

"The tragedy is that ecologically superior alternatives already exist, such as tissue products with high percentages of recycled paper," said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at NRDC. "The paper industry is the third largest generator of global warming pollution and the world's number one polluter of freshwater. Kimberly-Clark insists on instigating devastating impacts on some of the world's most biologically outstanding forests despite the fact that technologies exist to produce tissue products without undermining the viability of our global ecosystem and consumer interest is strong for ecologically safer products."

For more than a year, Greenpeace and NRDC have been urging Kimberly-Clark to agree to take steps to protect ancient forests, but the company has refused to change its practices. The two groups now are appealing directly to North American consumers and large institutional customers of Kimberly-Clark, including national grocery chains, sports arenas and hotels, with one clear message -- do not support Kimberly-Clark's destruction of ancient forests such as Canada's boreal forest.

The conservation groups are demanding that Kimberly-Clark:

  • Decide to stop using wood fiber from endangered forests in regions such as the Canadian boreal forest.

  • Decide to stop producing tissue products using only virgin wood fibers and instead maximize the percentage of post-consumer recycled content and agricultural residues in all of its products.

  • Buy from Forest Stewardship Council eco-certified forestry operations for the virgin wood fibers it does use. (Learn more about the Forest Stewardship Council.)

  • Assure that none of its operations use mercury-based pulping chemicals.