Kimberly-Clark sets ‘aggressive’ new sustainability targets

Personal care consumer product manufacturer Kimberly-Clark has established a new six-year sustainability strategy to build on the success of the "aggressive goals" the company has just surpassed, as revealed in its latest sustainability report.

Kimberly-Clark, which is responsible for brands such as Kleenex, Andrex and Huggies, has revealed that it has met key footprint reduction targets for 2015, and will now strive to hit new targets by the time its 150th anniversary arrives in 2022.

“Our vision is to lead the world in essentials for a better life. From the products we make to help moms care for their families to having the proper regard for the environment, this vision inspires us to care for the communities where we live and work,” Kimberly-Clark’s chief executive Tom Falk said.

“In 2015, we achieved or surpassed our 5-year sustainability goals and will continue to set aggressive goals for ourselves to make a positive impact in the world around us.”

Surpassing goals

For its 2015 CSR update, Kimberly-Clark revealed that it had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 7.2% against a 2010 baseline – exceeding its 5% target. The company also exceeded its 25% water use reduction goal, announcing a 27% reduction against 2010. Kimberly-Clark is also diverting 95.6% of all manufacturing waste from landfills as of December 2015.

In a bid to reduce its social footprint, the company has increased the amount of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified virgin fibre in its tissue products from 7% in 2006 to more than 75% in 2015. The company is also operating with a 100% key supplier participation in social compliance and has completed 400 audits since 2012 in an effort to improve working conditions for more than 123,000 supply chain employees.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in finding ways to grow Kimberly-Clark sustainably,” the company’s chief supply chain officer Sandra MacQuillan said. “As technology evolves and as we learn more about what we can do, it is possible that we could have a footprint that gives back, rather than takes – an aspiration we are all excited by.”

With key goals now reached, Kimberly-Clark has unveiled the next steps in its CSR journey. As well as improving the well-being of 25 million people through social investments, the company will reduce its “natural forest footprint” by 50% with increased used of FSC fibre set to play a big role in reaching the target.

Kimberly-Clark’s zero waste mindset will be extended to all solid wastes, and will utilise new innovations to keep materials, packaging and products out of landfill. The final goal has seen Kimberly-Clark set a 20% greenhouse gas reduction target against a 2005 baseline – which equates to nearly one million tonnes in avoided emissions.

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Matt Mace

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