Kimberly-Clark’s director of the Enterprise Sustainability Strategy Team, Peggy Ward, says that having strong support from the company’s Chairman & CEO as well as an external sustainability advisory board have been crucial to building and meeting its sustainability metrics.
David Kiron, executive editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, spoke recently with Ward. Here's an edited excerpt from that interview:
Tell us about Kimberly-Clark’s 2015 sustainability goals.
For 2015, we are focusing on people, the planet and products. That equates to the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainability. That’s the triple bottom line for us.
Let’s go through that “triple bottom line” of looking at people, the planet and products.
Our goals around people are wide-ranging, and include our people, the people in the communities where we live and work and our suppliers. We have goals that correspond to those three areas. With our suppliers, we set a goal of 100 percent compliance to a set of social standards that we’ve developed. We’re targeting our contract manufacturing supply base first, in regions around the world where we think we need to ensure that we have those social standards in place.
On the planet side, we’re still following our traditional focus on energy, waste and water, but we’re pushing ourselves even further. In waste, our goal is to achieve zero manufacturing waste sent to landfill. About 48 percent of our mills [have achieved that].
Finally, on the product side, we’re pushing ourselves in product innovation. We’re still addressing packaging. We’ve added a net sales goal of 25 percent of our 2015 net sales coming from environmentally innovative products. By “environmentally innovative,” we mean based on an life cycle analysis of total environmental impact of our products.
Next page: Developing the plan