Kimberly-Clark May Shift From Virgin Fiber

Kimberly-Clark Corp., maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, is exploring opportunities to “shift from virgin fiber,” for its paper-based products, said Suhas Apte, its vice president for global sustainability.

Apte said the company is researching how it can use secondary fiber, otherwise known as waste paper, and still deliver “consumers’ expectations” of softer tissues. The Irving, Texas-based company used approximately 2.48 million metric tons of virgin fiber last year. In June, it announced plans to cut in half, by 2025, the amount of wood fiber newly taken from forests for use. It used about 750,000 metric tons of primary wood fiber sourced from natural forests in 2011. Apte updates Clean Energy & Carbon Brief on the company’s efforts since the launch of its Sustainability 2015 goals last year.

Q: What’s the progress on the goals?

A: In energy savings, we delivered somewhere around 1.2 percent absolute reduction against an internal goal of 1 percent, compared to a 2010 baseline. Our team has been really involved in improving efficiency in our mills. We’re looking at the switching of fuels, and implementing renewable projects. In water usage, we’ve established a fiveyear goal of 25 percent reduction. Our glide path talks about a 3 percent reduction in 2011. We delivered close to 1 percent reduction but are confident of catching up in 2012. [Because] these are five-year goals, people divide those targets by five, and [say] we need a yearly progress. What we learned last year was that we should be more authentic and explain what our glide path looks like, something we plan to do in the future. The closure of some facilities is also going to help in actual absolute reduction.

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