Tissue giants get mixed scores for forest-friendly practices
Gland, Switzerland – While some of Europe’s leading tissue manufacturers have made improvements to their environmental performances, many gaps remain.
As part of its annual environmental performance assessment, five “giant” tissue manufacturers that make up 75 per cent of the European market — Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark, Metsa Tissue, Procter & Gamble and SCA Tissue — were scored by WWF across a range of criteria, including their levels of recycled content, wood sourcing practices, pollution control and transparency.
This year, two of the five companies achieved a score of over 50 per cent, compared with none in 2005. Metsa Tissue received a 53 per cent score, while SCA Tissue achieved 69 per cent, the only company to get a “green mark”.
SCA Tissue, the producer of such brands as Danke, Edet, Zewa, Cosy and Velvet, is the only surveyed company that is able to ensure that wood fibres used in its products don’t come from poorly-managed forests. This manufacturer also promotes the highest environmental and social standards in forest management, reaching 89 per cent of the achievable scores on sourcing. Metsa Tissue is the only company to increase recycled fibre levels in its consumer products.
The WWF assessment shows that Metsa Tissue, Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark and Proctor & Gamble have become more aware of the need to address controversial wood sourcing. However, the companies still fail to show how they effectively exclude the use of timber which is linked to unsustainable forest exploitation, illegal logging and land rights conflict.
“We welcome the improvements made, but we urge these companies to seriously work on the persistent weaknesses identified in the assessment,” said Helma Brandlmaier from WWF’s Global Forests Programme.
In 2005, WWF highlighted low levels of recycled fibres being used in toilet paper, paper towels and napkins offered in retail markets. This trend has worsened in 2006, according to the global conservation organization.
“As a result, trees from natural forests and plantations from around the world are unnecessarily wasted and land straight in our toilets and bins,” Brandlmaier added.
“Consumers should compare the different tissue products and buy those with the best environmental records.”
The European tissue business is worth around €8.5 billion annually, and accounts for 26 per cent of global tissue consumption, with each European using 13kg — the equivalent of approximately 22 billion rolls of toilet paper.
WWF is critical of retailers who demand virgin fibre for luxury, bright white and fluffy tissue products.
“At a time when the world’s natural forests are under severe pressure because of the skyrocketing demand for all kinds of timber products, retailers should be offering the most environmentally-friendly tissue products to their customers,” said Brandlmaier.
“Customers should urge retailers to stock recycled tissues. The tissue ‘giants’ should be producing forest-friendly products in the first place.”
WWF will rescore the companies again in 2007.
• The comparative leader in the evaluation across all the criteria is SCA Tissue with 69% of total achievable points (also first in 2005 with 46 %), followed by Metsa Tissue with 53% (also second in 2005 with 35%); Kimberly Clark 40% (which has moved up from last place in 2005 with 24%), Procter and Gamble 34% (also fourth in 2005 with 26%), and Georgia Pacific 27% (which has dropped from third place with 32% to last place).
• The comparative leader on responsible sourcing is SCA Tissue with 89% (58% in 2005); followed by Procter and Gamble with 34% (32% in 2005); Metsa Tissue 31% (18% in 2005) , Georgia Pacific 23% (12% in 2005) and last Kimberly Clark with 20% (18% in 2005).
For further information:
WWF Global Forests Programme
Tel: +43 1 524 54 70 16