Report grades toilet paper companies on the environment

Media Contacts
Sammy Herdman

Former Save The Boreal Forest Campaign, Associate, Environment America Research & Policy Center

Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

DENVER – Environment America Research & Policy Center released a report on Tuesday that grades six toilet paper manufacturers and distributors on their environmental and forest protection policies and actions.  The progress report, entitled Unrolling the year’s progress: Were toilet paper companies softer on the environment?, comes one year after Environment America Research & Policy Center sent tissue companies, including Amazon, Costco, Georgia-Pacific, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble and Walmart, recommendations to reduce their impact on forests.

In the progress report, toilet paper companies are graded on three metrics: whether or not they sell products made of entirely recycled fibers or alternative fibers, such as sustainably grown bamboo; their Scope 3 emissions reduction plan, or lack thereof; and their commitment to and implementation of a free, prior and informed consent policy to protect the lands rights of Indigneous Peoples and forest-dependent communities.

“Toilet paper companies need to step up to reduce their impact on forests. There is no reason that using toilet paper should mean flushing away the future of our climate, biodiversity and people across the world,” said Sammy Herdman, Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Save The Boreal Forest Campaign associate and author of the report. “The companies highlighted in this report have net worths of billions of dollars, which stems from innovation and ambition. Now is the time for them to step up to the plate and put that innovation and ambition to use saving our global forests.”

Much of the virgin wood pulp used to make toilet paper is sourced from the Canadian boreal forest, which is logged at a rate of 1 million acres per year. Ongoing logging in the boreal forest threatens to release the 300 billion tons of carbon, which is nearly twice as much carbon as all of the world’s recoverable oil reserves. Despite the worsening severity of natural disasters and global leader’s pledges to end deforestation, the at-home tissue market continues to drag their feet to protect forests and our climate.

Some tissue manufacturers use entirely recycled wood fibers to make their products. It’s disheartening to see Costco, Georgia-Pacific and Walmart relying entirely on virgin wood fibers from critically important forests like the boreal to make toilet paper,” said Herdman.

In addition to campaigning for corporate responsibility, Environment America Research & Policy Center recently released a guide for consumers who want to shop for wood-based products, including toilet paper, sustainably.

“Consumers can go out of their way to find products that don’t come from degraded forests – but they shouldn’t have to. Historically, it’s the large companies with global supply chains that profit from deforestation. Now that we’re facing a global climate and biodiversity crisis, those companies should prioritize providing consumers with sustainable products that don’t harm our forests,” said Herdman. “The industry has made progress, but it still has a long way to go.”