going green

Kimberly-Clark published its annual sustainability report, including an update on the company's progress toward its 2030 sustainability goals and a new ambition to be 100 percent Natural Forest Free across its portfolio beyond 2030.

Over the past decade, the company has made significant investments in developing more sustainable products as part of the company's innovation strategy and focus on delivering products with enhanced consumer benefits while striving to lower its environmental footprint.

"Sustainability is woven into the fabric of our 152-year-old company's innovation strategy and purpose, serving as a guiding principle across every facet of our operations," says Mike Hsu, chairman and CEO at Kimberly-Clark. "I am proud of our team's commitment to our purpose of Better Care for a Better World, focusing on where we believe we can make the biggest impact."

Key highlights of the company's 2023 progress include: 

• Better Planet: Building on Kimberly-Clark's long-standing support of sustainable forest management, the company's 100 percent Natural Forest Free commitment will greatly reduce its nature footprint since forests play a critical role in protecting biodiversity and helping mitigate climate change. Kimberly-Clark expects to be more than halfway to this goal by 2030. In 2023, the company surpassed its 2030 water footprint target and bolstered the utilization of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power, including the launch of a new virtual purchase power agreement (VPPA) in the form of an onshore wind farm in Scotland and the initiation of several renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs). The company has achieved an absolute reduction in operational (Scope 1 and 2) GHG emissions of 40.9 percent towards its goal of a 50 percent reduction by 2030, and a 10.4 percent energy efficiency improvement over its 2015 baseline. 

• Better Products: In the past year, Kimberly-Clark continued to seek more sustainable solutions to strengthen its product offerings, for instance introducing the company's first-ever Kotex paper pouch; and launching reusable menstrual and incontinence solutions in markets around the globe. Kimberly-Clark also continued to prioritize the procurement of fibers from sources with sustainable forest management certification while pursuing ongoing investments in alternative fibers solutions. The company has reduced its plastics footprint by 16.4 percent towards its goal of a 50 percent reduction by 2030 over its 2019 baseline. 

• Better Workplace: As part of Kimberly-Clark's efforts to cultivate a culture where employees feel supported, valued and included, the company invested in engaging its workforce at global and regional levels. 

Kimberly-Clark's executive leadership team (ELT) hosted sessions with the company's top 200 business unit and functional leaders globally to help them understand how to demonstrate performance-driven leadership through the qualities of presence, courage, candor and transparency; and how to address barriers to performance-driven leadership. The ELT then partnered with these leaders to cascade the information to employees and their team leaders.

Further, in 2023, Kimberly-Clark strengthened its human rights due diligence and supplier engagement processes, including more robust risk segmentation, monitoring tools and supply chain mapping and by connecting suppliers with resources and experts to improve their human rights performance.The company also appointed Lisa Morden, formerly vice president of Safety, Sustainability, and Occupational Health to the role of chief sustainability officer.

"We are proud of our progress and, in 2023, we continued to address challenges associated with single-use plastics, carbon emissions, and water use in our operations and value chain, while working to decrease forest reliance and increasing our use of renewable energy," says Morden.  "We recognize that there are still challenges and opportunities ahead and we remain dedicated to supporting a more sustainable future for all."