After Greenpeace released its tissue-buying guide last month, the Internet was up in arms about the destructive practices of tissue and toilet paper companies. Chief among the offenders is Kleenex producer Kimberly-Clark, which according to Greenpeace gets up to 22% of its pulp from Canadian boreal forests containing 200 year-old trees. Kimberly-Clark has responded to Greenpeace’s allegations by saying that it actually only gets 14% of its wood from the boreal forests–effectively confirming that it uses a large amount of the virgin fiber.
So it comes as a surprise to learn that Kimberly-Clark was named an EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year due to its “ongoing efforts to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its operations.” Kimberly-Clark goes on in its press release to explain that the EPA has recognized the company’s “use of more energy efficient equipment and lighting fixtures, programs to raise employees’ awareness of their role in improving energy efficiency, and greater use of renewable energy sources.”
It seems strange that a company which cuts down 200-year old greenhouse gas-absorbing trees should be praised for its reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. And if Kimberly-Clark can take the time to use sustainable energy, why can’t it use sustainable resources–i.e. recycled fiber? Because as we recently learned, soft, fluffy recycled tissues are possible.
Sustainability shouldn’t be looked at in a vacuum–every aspect of Kimberly-Clark’s operations should be taken into account. We’re all for companies being justly recognized for their environmental efforts, but in this case, the EPA’s praise falls flat.