Kimberly-Clark and WWF Ink Deal to Save World's Forests

Prior to packing its crates of tissue products and traveling to Orlando to attend this week's NSC Congress & Expo, Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark Corp. (stationed on the Expo floor at booths 1149 and 1212) announced last week that it has joined the World Wildlife Fund's Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) and committed to increase its use of wood fiber from sustainable sources to help protect the world's forests.

As the world's largest consumer of industrial timber, pulp, and paper, the United States market is critical to protecting forests worldwide. WWF will work with Kimberly-Clark to help implement the company’s global fiber procurement policy and provide support as it progressively increases the amount of responsibly harvested fiber used in making tissue products. Kimberly-Clark has set a target of buying 40 percent of its North American tissue fiber from recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified sources by 2011 and WWF will provide technical assistance and feedback in reaching that goal.

In addition to participating in the GFTN, Kimberly-Clark also has pledged to support WWF’s efforts to protect High Conservation Value Forests--forests that are especially significant because of their environmental, socio-economic, biodiversity, or landscape values. The company said it will fund the development of robust tools for identifying, mapping, and monitoring these high-conservation values in priority regions such as the Indonesian island of Sumatra, home to some of the richest and most biological diverse tropical forests on the planet.

"We believe our relationship with WWF will take our sustainability efforts to a new level," said Suhas Apte, Vice President of Sustainability for Kimberly-Clark. "We look forward to working together to develop new tools to provide more data that will help protect High Conservation Value Forests."

Kimberly-Clark and WWF said they also will collaborate to support FSC certification for privately owned small and medium-sized forest management units, resulting in an increase in the area of FSC-certified forests and volume of FSC-certified products worldwide.

WWF President and CEO Carter Roberts noted that protecting the world's forests is critical to addressing climate change, as deforestation accounts for nearly 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. "Deforestation is responsible for producing the same amount of CO2 emissions as every plane, train and automobile on the planet," he said. "We commend Kimberly-Clark for continuing to demonstrate leadership and a strong commitment to protecting the world's most important forests by improving their business practices. WWF's work with leading companies like Kimberly-Clark is essential in combating global climate change and protecting the abundant biodiversity in the world’s great forests."

According to its Web site (www.worldwildlife.org), WWF is the world’s largest conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, the organization is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, stop the degradation of the environment, and combat climate change. The goal of its GFTN initiative is to eliminate illegal logging and drive improvements in forest management while transforming the global marketplace into a force for saving the world’s valuable and threatened forests. First established in 1991, the GFTN is the world’s longest-running and largest forest and trade program of its kind--assisting hundreds of companies in evaluating their procurement and implementing appropriate action plans to ensure sustainable supply, according to WWF.

"Sustainability is foundational to our business strategy at Kimberly-Clark," said company Chairman and CEO Tom Falk. "We continue to focus on our strategy for sustainable growth and know that companies who make better choices for the environment and society will contribute to a healthier planet, and achieve long-term success."

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