Greenwash Of The Week: The Greenpeace And Kimberly-Clark Partnership.


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I never really thought that Greenpeace would be involved with a greenwashing campaign, but I guess you can never say never, right? (After all, the Sierra Club endorsed a Clorox product, so…) Because here we are – with Greenpeace being involved in what I (and others, as you will see below) see as a gigantic greenwash. Seems that Greenpeace has “closed the case” of Kimberly-Clark using virgin tree pulp from the Canadian Boreal Forest, which is North America’s largest old growth forest, providing habitat for threatened wildlife such as woodland caribou and a sanctuary for more than one billion migratory birds…by 2011. So for 2 more years, they can rape and pillage the forests for any wood pulp that they need for making paper products to use in the bathroom. How is that a win for the environment? Right now, as I am typing this, companies like Seventh Generation make their toilet paper and kleenex from 100% recycled paper – not from virgin wood pulp from clear-cutting forests. That is truly good for the environment and it is happening right now. They have cared and continue to care for the environment, while K-C seems to be making the change under duress – with Greenpeace there to give them kudos. I am normally all for what Greenpeace does and stands for, but I don’t really care for this debacle at all. Am I alone in this thinking? Nope…

My friend Keith from The Unsuitablog, has this to say:

Go to the Kleercut web site and the banner says, “Case Closed!” But hang on! The press release quite clearly says the following:

– By the end of 2011, Kimberly-Clark will eliminate the purchase of any fiber from the Canadian Boreal Forest that is not FSC certified.

So who will be monitoring the activities of Kimberly-Clark for the next 2 years? There is nothing to suggest that they will be easing up on their destruction any time soon, and no veto on the agreement should K-C decide to increase their usage of virgin or uncertified pulp. It is also vital to note that Greenpeace Nordic’s own report heavily criticised the FSC in Sweden, saying: “The FSC has failed to prevent the destruction of HCVFs [High Conservation Value Forests] in Sweden. Swedish FSC-certified forest companies are misusing the FSC system and”¦the FSC are sanctioning this mismanagement by failing to stand by the FSC Principles and Criteria”. FSC certification is clearly not adequate, especially when companies wish to cover up their activities.

And Allen Hershkowitz from the NRDC says:

But there’s a catch to Kimberly-Clark’s step forward today and it’s an important one for all consumers to know:

Their at-home tissue products are not guaranteed to improve.

Kimberly-Clark’s new policy is to ensure that 40 percent of its North American fiber is either recycled or certified by FSC, but in order for Kimberly Clark products to be environmentally preferable, the company needs to announce meaningful targets for increasing recycled and post-consumer recycled fiber in their products. The current policy does not guarantee that Kimberly-Clark will in fact increase recycled content in any of its at-home products, most of which do not currently contain any recycled content at all.

So they have at least 2 years to stop clear-cutting forests, and they have no mandate to use 100% recycled paper for any of their products. Does it make any sense to anyone else to A. give them kudos for this or B. use virgin pulp toilet paper in the bathroom instead of 100% recycled paper?

Greenpeace, you can do better… I thought only the Sierra Club gave out endorsements like this

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  1. Wanted to mention also that the 365 brand paper towels (100% recycled) at Whole Foods are **cheaper** than Bounty (and Kimberly-Clarke’s Viva)!

    I haven’t done a comparison on toilet paper (yet) but I imagine the same is true, please tell your friends, there’s no reason to buy virgin paper products at all…

  2. That’s why I try to point these out; but then I hear from people that I shouldn’t be doing it. Too bad for them, I am going to continue spreading the word on greenwashing!

  3. Yeah, blown away by this.

    I’m beginning to think the wrong people are getting more and more power in organization that were once well respected when it comes to protecting the environment. Greenpeace, Organic Consumers Association, Sierra Club.

    I’m in an industry where there’s CERTIFIED organic cotton covers that only contain only 60% organic cotton and polyester fill.

    We need to take back control. We can’t let this slide too far.

  4. Oh this makes me so sad. Greenpeace is what introduced me to the environmental movement in the first place as a child. I remember having a picture of the “Rainbow Warrior” up on my wall. I am so disappointed. 🙁

  5. I would suggest you all ready a book called Green Inc,
    It will show you that orgs like Greenpeace and conservation international are now as bad as the companies. Their loyalty can be bought by anyone with the marketing budget.

    I will never support Greenpeace again.

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