Canada's boreal forest (L), and the Greenpeace protest against destroying it
Greenpeace Canada forest campaigner Richard Brooks writes in an email to NOW that Kimberley-Clark has agreed to ensure that 40 per cent of its fibre for tissue products is sourced from either recycled or Forest Stewardship Council-approved (FSC) forest products by the end of 2011. The company has also agreed not to source any fibre from endangered forests.
Brooks call KC's new environmental commitment "one of the strongest in the world."
Because of KC's size, the company uses some 4.5 million tonnes of fibre each year, Brooks says the policy will mean major changes to the global forest products industry including the Canadian industry.
For example, KC has stopped buying any pulp from the Terrace Bay Pulp mill and the Kenogami and Ogoki Forests in northern Ontario because Buchanan Forest Products was unwilling to meet KC's strict new ecological standards.
In a joint statement with Greenpeace, Kimberly-Clark Vice President of Environment, Energy, Safety, Quality and Sustainability Suhas Apte, says, "We are committed to using environmentally responsible wood fiber and today's announcement enhances our industry-leading practices in this area.
"It is our belief that certified primary wood fiber and recycled fiber can both be used in an environmentally responsible way and can provide the product performance that customers and consumers expect from our well-known tissue brands."
Kimberly-Clark has long claimed that "much of [the] fiber from the Canadian Boreal forest come in the form of wood pulp produced from sawdust and chips - or leftovers - of the lumber production process."
But last September Greenpeace released photos and video of a huge stockpile of wood from the ancient Ogoki forest, the last intact section of the Boreal. Greenpeace says some 7,000 logging trucks full of wood taken for the forest was destined to become pulp for KC's tissue products.
Greenpeace also spotlighted KC's clear-cutting in the Kenogami forest in its report Cut and Run. The company's 70 years of mismanagement in the region, says the Greenpeace report, has turned the once pristine forest into a severely damaged moonscape.
Keep an eye on this space for updates on this story.