Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB), the maker of Huggies diapers and Kleenex tissue, aims to step up its sustainability actions in a serious way. The Irving, Texas-based company recently announced at the Rio+20 UN conference that it plans to halve its use of wood fiber sourced from natural forests by 2025.
Suhas Apte, vice president of Global Sustainability at Kimberly-Clark, recently gave GreenBiz's Jennifer Inez Ward a breakdown on how this initiative will play out for the corporation.
GreenBiz: Why is Kimberly-Clark taking this action?
Suhas Apte: Kimberly-Clark is choosing to focus on reducing the company’s forest fiber footprint because as global demand for the world’s natural forest resources increases, identifying and using alternate fiber sources will be essential to the conservation and sustainability of those forests.
Deforestation and forest degradation continue to be a serious global issue and Kimberly-Clark is doing its part through sustainable fiber sourcing to be part of the solution to this issue. Forests and trees are essential to life – they clean the air, help reduce global warming by storing significant quantities of carbon, purify water, control erosion, and support wildlife.
In addition, more than 1.6 billion people worldwide depend directly on natural forests for their livelihood, food, clothing, and shelter. Almost half of the earth’s original forest cover is gone, much of it removed within the past three decades, and with world population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, pressure on these important resources continues to grow.
Taking pressure off of natural forests is a key measure to helping the world’s remaining forests and curbing deforestation.
That pressure is evident in the volatile price fluctuations within the world fiber market, resulting in often unpredictable cost increases for businesses and a potential disruption of sourcing in the future. Therefore, Kimberly-Clark is pledging to innovate creatively for the future by being more flexible in its fiber usage.
Next page: The cost of switching