DENVER — Based on concerns initially raised by shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in October 2020, the world’s largest consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, announced its plans to address forest sourcing and degradation in its supply chains. The new commitments fail to adequately resolve how the company will end deforestation, the degradation of intact primary forests and threatened species’ habitats.
For years, environmental groups have raised concerns over how P&G is complicit in the destruction of the world’s critical forests. This includes actions in Canada's boreal forest, where the company sources some of its fiber to make products like Charmin’ and Bounty, and the tropical forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, where it sources palm oil for products including Head & Shoulders and Pantene. Intact or primary forests, including parts of the boreal, have never been industrially logged, and provide ecosystem functions critical to mitigating the worst impact of climate change.
Organizations issued the following statements in reaction to the new P&G policies:
“The boreal forest, called the ‘lungs of the world,’ can remove the equivalent of 24 million vehicles worth of carbon emissions each year. Preserving it is one of our best tools to fight global warming,” said Ellen Montgomery, public lands director at Environment America. “Procter & Gamble needs to offer a more concrete plan for how they will transition away from using fiber from this invaluable resource.”
“P&G’s corporate leadership is choosing to ignore investor concerns about the company’s role in destroying climate-critical forests to make the ultimate disposable product: toilet paper. No amount of spin can hide P&G’s complicity in the clearcutting of the world’s last great intact forests,” said Shelley Vinyard, boreal corporate campaign manager at NRDC.
“To the untrained eye, these new environmental commitments from P&G might look promising. But unfortunately, they allow P&G to continue making toilet paper from globally important primary forests and threatened species habitat — during a climate and biodiversity crisis, which is greenwashing at its finest,” said Tyson Miller, forest programs director at Stand.earth.
“The palm oil in P&G’s products is linked to environmental and human rights abuses by some of the most problematic plantation companies in the industry,” said Jeff Conant, senior international forests program manager at Friends of the Earth. “P&G needs to muster the courage to meet directly with the people whose lands are being devastated by these companies rather than handing responsibility to the very companies perpetrating the abuses, as their new commitments suggest.”
“From the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia to the boreal forest of Canada, P&G’s commitments simply miss the mark on what is needed to keep forests standing, ensure respect for the rights of communities who call these lands home, and protect palm oil workers. P&G must do better,” said Daniel Carillo, forest campaign director at Rainforest Action Network.