In 2019, NRDC published The Issue With Tissue, a report which shined a spotlight on the link between major U.S. tissue product manufacturers and the destruction of one of the most ecologically important forests in the world, Canada’s boreal forest. That report revealed the worst tissue brands driving boreal degradation and described the impact of using virgin pulp from old-growth forests like Canada’s boreal forest on the climate, species, and many Indigenous communities. It also included a scorecard for consumers ranking major tissue brands according to their impacts on forests. In 2020, NRDC published The Issue with Tissue 2.0, which noted changes in the industry landscape and updated the scorecard.
NRDC released the third Issue With Tissue scorecard in 2021, grading more products than ever before, and including bamboo fiber tissue products for the first time. The third scorecard revealed that in 2020 and 2021, new tissue start-ups disrupted the marketplace by offering consumers greater choices of new, more sustainable and climate-friendly brands. However, the nation’s largest tissue makers are still largely failing to offer sustainably made products that don’t come from clearcut forests.
Procter & Gamble (P&G), for example, remains stuck in the past, rejecting demands from consumers and shareholders alike to end its reliance on climate-critical forests like the Canadian boreal, earning the company F grades across all its tissue brands. While Kimberly-Clark is now offering a product made from 100 percent recycled content online to consumers, the company still makes most of its flagship consumer brands entirely from virgin forest fiber.
Our planet has no time for the largest companies in the world to take half-measures or deflect blame. As a major driver of pulp and paper production in Canada, U.S. tissue companies must change their ways if we want to preserve this valuable forest resource. Going forward, we must build on the momentum of a shifting marketplace and continue to push corporations to adopt stringent, climate-friendly standards for their tissue products.