US’ Kimberly-Clark pledges to be 100% natural forest free beyond 2030

  • Kimberly-Clark pledges to be 100 per cent natural forest-free beyond 2030, highlighting progress in sustainability goals like reducing plastics and GHG emissions.
  • Investments in renewable energy and sustainable products are key.
  • Collaborations with UNICEF aim to improve child health and well-being globally, with over $24 million provided since 2015.

Kimberly-Clark, an American multinational personal care corporation that produces mostly paper-based consumer products, aims to be 100 per cent natural forest free across its portfolio beyond 2030, as per its annual sustainability report which also includes an update on the company’s progress toward its 2030 sustainability goals.

Building on Kimberly-Clark’s long-standing support of sustainable forest management, the company’s 100 per cent natural forest free commitment will greatly reduce its nature footprint since forests play a critical role in protecting biodiversity and helping mitigate climate change. Kimberly-Clark expects to be more than halfway to this goal by 2030.

Over the past decade, the company has made significant investments in developing more sustainable products as part of the company’s innovation strategy and focus on delivering products with enhanced consumer benefits while striving to lower its environmental footprint.

In 2023, the company surpassed its 2030 water footprint target and bolstered the utilisation of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power, including the launch of a new virtual purchase power agreement (VPPA) in the form of an onshore wind farm in Scotland and the initiation of several renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs).

According to the report, the company has achieved an absolute reduction in operational (Scope 1 and 2) GHG emissions of 40.9 per cent towards its goal of a 50 per cent reduction by 2030, and a 10.4 per cent energy efficiency improvement over its 2015 baseline.

In the past year, Kimberly-Clark continued to seek more sustainable solutions to strengthen its product offerings, for instance introducing the company’s first-ever Kotex paper pouch; and launching reusable menstrual and incontinence solutions in markets around the globe. Kimberly-Clark also continued to prioritise the procurement of fibres from sources with sustainable forest management certification while pursuing ongoing investments in alternative fibres solutions. The company has reduced its plastics footprint by 16.4 per cent towards its goal of a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 over its 2019 baseline.

Kimberly-Clark’s essential and well-known brands such as Huggies, Kleenex, Kotex and Cottonelle make a positive societal impact in communities in which the company operates through social impact programs and collaboration with global and local NGOs. In 2023 alone, the company estimates that its brand programmes – combined with global and local partnerships – impacted 101 million people worldwide, the report stated.

Further, in 2023, Kimberly-Clark strengthened its human rights due diligence and supplier engagement processes, including more robust risk segmentation, monitoring tools and supply chain mapping and by connecting suppliers with resources and experts to improve their human rights performance.

The company also appointed Lisa Morden, formerly vice president of safety, sustainability, and occupational health to the role of chief sustainability officer.

“We are proud of our progress and, in 2023, we continued to address challenges associated with single-use plastics, carbon emissions, and water use in our operations and value chain, while working to decrease forest reliance and increasing our use of renewable energy,” said Morden.  “We recognise that there are still challenges and opportunities ahead and we remain dedicated to supporting a more sustainable future for all.”

Kimberly-Clark partners with a wide range of stakeholders and nonprofit organisations to deliver innovative products and solutions to improve the future for babies and children, including UNICEF.

Since 2015, Kimberly-Clark has provided over $24 million in funding to UNICEF to help strengthen neonatal health systems, increase access to safe water and sanitation, promote safe menstrual health and hygiene, and support early childhood development, resulting in nearly 14 million lives impacted across 26 countries. Additionally, Kimberly-Clark has donated over $4.6 million to UNICEF’s humanitarian responses, including during emergencies in Colombia, Haiti, India, Peru, Puerto Rico, and global support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Kimberly-Clark is a longstanding partner and with their continued commitment, UNICEF can reach vulnerable children and communities with the resources needed to survive and thrive,” said Michael J Nyenhuis, president and CEO, UNICEF US. “Together, we can build a more equitable world for every child and change the lives of millions more with sustainable and scalable solutions.”

Source: Technical Textile

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