Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the maker of Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle brands, has announced stronger fiber sourcing standards that will reduce the company’s impact on forests worldwide. The move comes in response to a long campaign by Greenpeace, an environmental group that is now advising Kimberly-Clark on its forest policy.
Under the new policy, Kimberly-Clark will only buy wood fiber from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified operations. FSC standards aim to ensure the sustainable use of forest resources.
Kimberly-Clark will also increase its use of recycled fiber. The company hopes to eventually obtain 100 percent of its wood fiber from environmentally responsible sources. By the end of 2011, 40 percent of its North American tissue fiber – representing about 600,000 tons – will be either recycled or FSC certified and the company will have eliminated the purchase of any fiber from the Canadian Boreal Forest, North America’s largest old growth forest, that is not FSC certified.
“These revised standards are proof that when responsible companies and Greenpeace come together, the results can be good for business and great for the planet,” said Scott Paul, Greenpeace USA Forest Campaign Director. “Kimberly-Clark’s efforts are a challenge to its competitors. I hope other companies pay close attention.”
But while Greenpeace is touting Kimberly-Clark’s initiative, some activists remain critical of FSC, noting that it allows for logging of old-growth forests. Ecological Internet, a forest campaign group, quickly condemned the announcement.
“No one including Greenpeace can tell us how many tens of millions of hectares of primeval forest ecosystems are being destroyed under FSC’s certification label for, amongst other things, toilet paper and lawn furniture,” said Glen Barry, director of Ecological Internet. “Until Greenpeace and friends stop greenwashing FSC ancient forest logging, we call upon committed forest protectors to resign their membership from Greenpeace and other ancient forest logging apologists, and to stop using virgin toilet paper, no matter how sensitive their behinds.”
Logging of old-growth forests remains a contentious issue among environmentalists. Some groups believe that standards like FSC are enough to ensure sustainable use of forests. Others, like Ecological Internet, maintain that any form of cutting degrades the ecological and biological functions of old-growth forests. These groups argue that logging should be restricted to secondary forests, which house less biodiversity and store less carbon than primary forests.
(11/04/2008) Demand for wood products is ultimately one of the largest drivers of global deforestation through both direct clear-cutting and selective logging, which increases a forest’s vulnerability to fire and subsequent clearing and disturbance by other actors, including hunters, subsistence farmers, land speculators, ranchers and agro-industrial firms. Reducing the detrimental environmental impacts of meeting wood demand is critical to protecting the world’s forests as healthy, productive and resilient ecosystems.
(10/16/2008) The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said it would review its support for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a forest products certification standard, over concerns regarding its certification of destructive logging operations. The announcement comes after a bitter campaign waged against RAN by Ecological Internet, a forest activist group.
(04/17/2008) On April 7th, Mongabay printed an interview with FSC International Communications Manager, Nina Haase, in which she defended the FSC against criticism leveled at it by various environmental organizations, such as The World Rainforest Movement and Ecological Internet. The interview drew strong reactions on both sides, and Simon Counsell, director of the Rainforest Foundation UK, requested a chance to respond to the FSC’s interview in-depth. In his response, he states that the FSC has created a “‘race to the bottom’ of certification standards”, alleging that the “FSC really has become the ‘Enron of forestry'”.
(04/07/2008) Last month, Mongabay.com reported on recent and various criticisms of the FSC (the Forest Stewardship Council). The FSC is an international organization that certifies forest products which, according to their standards, have been harvested in an environmentally-sustainable and socially-responsible manner. Response to the article was significant. It was picked up by the Ecological Internet’s email campaign and was mentioned on numerous environmental web sites and blogs. At the time of the publication, the FSC had not responded to requests for comments. But in the following interview, FSC International Communications Manager Nina Haase answers each criticism separately and addresses several other issues, such as the FSC and climate change, the organization’s monitoring capabilities, and its adaptation to new environmental concerns. Ultimately she responds to the big question raised by critics: is the FSC stamp still credible?
(03/26/2008) The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has come under increasingly harsh criticisms from a variety of environmental organizations. The FSC is an international not-for-profit organization that certifies wood products: its stamp of approval is meant to create confidence that the wood was harvested in an environmentally-sustainable and socially-responsible manner. For years the FSC stamp has been imperative for concerned consumers in purchasing wood products. Yet amid growing troubles for the FSC, recent attacks from environmental organizations like World Rainforest Movement and Ecological Internet are putting the organization’s credibility into question.