This week, Canadian forest-conservation NGO Canopy commended the world’s largest tissue manufacturer, Kimberly-Clark Corporation — global producer of Kleenex, Huggies, Kotex and dozens of other paper towel, diaper and family-care brands sold worldwide — on the release of a cutting-edge study of the existing and potential raw materials for its products. The comprehensive lifecycle analysis (LCA) was authored by the Georgia Institute of Technology, with Canopy bringing independent expertise to the advisory board.
“With an eye to protecting our planet’s remaining ancient and endangered forests — and not trading off one environmental issue for another — we have reviewed countless lifecycle assessments related to traditional forest products,” said Canopy campaign director Amanda Carr. “The key to our endorsement of Kimberly-Clark’s report is that this study includes measurements for biodiversity and carbon stored in our global forests as part of the environmental considerations.”
With the inclusion of eight key environmental indicators, such as land occupation, human toxicity, climate change and water depletion, the study concluded that Kimberly-Clark’s use of recycled paper, along with alternatives such as bamboo and wheat straw waste, had reduced environmental impacts when compared with traditional use of forest fiber.
“Canada’s ancient and endangered boreal forests continue to be made into toilet paper and incontinence products — this study is exciting because it weighs the other options for a global company that had over $20 billion (USD) in sales last year,” noted Carr. “That is a lot of purchasing power exploring what is best for our planet. With Kimberly-Clark’s existing leadership on paper procurement and forest conservation, the science behind making the right choices is now even clearer.”
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Canopy says the public release of the study offers not only Kimberly-Clark, but all forest product-consuming companies and producers throughout the supply chain, an invaluable resource to make the most informed choices when it comes to sourcing fiber.
Kimberly-Clark says that in 2012, it achieved its Sustainability 2015 goal of sourcing 100 percent of its virgin wood fiber from suppliers whose forestry operations or wood-fiber procurement activities are certified by a third-party forest certification system, with over 52 percent coming from FSC-certified sources.
In other exciting alternative-paper-fiber news, Pulp Green Tech Holding, an R&D-focused company that owns Thai Gorilla Pulp Ltd., announced last week that it has successfully created a high-grade paper pulp made from empty palm fruit bunches, which are most often treated as waste material from the palm oil extraction process. The company estimates that roughly 95 percent, or 300 million tons, of this raw material is currently discarded per year.