Personal care consumer products giant Kimberly-Clark announced the launch of its new 2030 sustainability strategy, setting numerous ESG targets for the company for the next decade. Kimberley-Clark stated that the new strategy’s commitments aim to improve the lives and wellbeing of one billion people in underserved communities around the world with the smallest environmental footprint.

Mike Hsu, Chairman and CEO, Kimberly-Clark said:

“These extraordinary times remind us why our purpose is more important than ever. Our values, that have guided us for nearly 150 years, will continue to shape our response to the challenges ahead. I am inspired by our ambition to advance the well-being of one billion people around the world and proud of the significant environmental commitments that we are making to address the impact our products have on the environment.”

According to the company, the foundation of the new social goals is to meet the unmet societal needs of the millions of people worldwide who continue to lack access to basic products and solutions that could dramatically improve their quality of lives – either because they can’t access or afford them, or because of associated social stigmas.

Specifically, the company is aiming to create positive social outcomes in three key areas:

  • Caring for the health and well-being of people at all stages of life;
  • Challenging stigmas and championing the progress of women everywhere; and
  • Championing a world where all enjoy access to clean water and sanitation.

Alison Lewis, Chief Growth Officer for Kimberly-Clark said:

“We make lives better when we break down barriers and create opportunities with our purpose-driven brands and products. To reach a billion people is certainly an ambitious goal that requires a significant step change from our previous efforts, and we are ready to take it on.”

In terms of environmental goals, Kimberly-Clark is focussing its efforts on the key areas of climate, forests, water and plastics. The company’s new commitments aim to cut its footprint in half in each of these areas through the following targets:

  • Carbon Footprint – As previously announced, the company is committed to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations and supply chain by 50 percent for absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions (direct and indirect) from its operations, as well as a 20 percent reduction in absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions from purchased goods and services and end of life treatment of sold products. Both targets are based on a new 2015 base year. These targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and are aligned with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Forest Footprint – Kimberly-Clark will continue its previously stated goal to reduce its Natural (Northern) Forest Fiber footprint by 50 percent by 2025 and increase our use of environmentally preferred fibers such as plantation-grown wood, alternative non-wood and recycled fibers. In addition, the company’s 2030 goals will tackle the challenges posed by climate change and biodiversity loss, and the impact on Indigenous communities, and communities that depend on forests for their livelihoods.
  • Water Footprint – By 2030, Kimberly-Clark intends to reduce its water footprint by 50 percent in water stressed regions by creating meaningful improvements in the supply chain and the surrounding communities. The impact of water insecurity and water scarcity is felt across the value chain, from the sources of fiber to the manufacturing facilities.
  • Plastics Footprint – Kimberly-Clark will reduce its use of new, fossil-fuel based plastics by 50 percent through delivery of solutions that use more renewable materials and can be regenerated after use. The strategy builds on the company’s previous leadership in manufacturing waste diversion to tackle single-use plastics in its products and packaging, and support innovation in waste collection and circular systems.

Lisa Morden, Vice President of Safety, Sustainability and Occupational Health, Kimberly-Clark said:

“Kimberly-Clark’s success is dependent on innovating new ways to give consumers the essentials they need while safeguarding natural systems and the life they support. That means eliminating waste and recovering resources; protecting forests of high carbon, biodiversity, and cultural value; cutting greenhouse gas emissions in line with climate science; and building strong water stewardship practices where it matters most.”

Morden added, “Kimberly-Clark’s continued commitment to doing the right thing underpins our social impact and smallest footprint ambitions. Living our purpose begins with ensuring the health and safety of our customers, consumers, and employees, promoting diversity and inclusion within our business, and protecting the rights of workers across our supply chain. These are essential to our ambitions.

Sally Uren, Chief Executive, Forum for the Future, and Kimberly-Clark Sustainability Advisory Board member said:

“It’s great to see Kimberly-Clark setting such an ambitious new social goal to 2030. There is also no doubt that we have entered a decade where decisive action will be critical if we hope to survive and thrive through the next century and beyond. It’s exciting to see such strong focus on human well-being, from a business with so many touchpoints with our health. Achieving such goals while protecting natural systems will not be easy, but delivery of these ambitions will help transform the systems we rely on today and allow future generations to flourish.”