Kimberly-Clark yesterday published its annual report on sustainability, providing the first update on the company’s global progress toward its 2030 sustainability strategy and goals, aimed at addressing the social and environmental challenges of the next decade with commitments to improve the lives and well-being of 1 billion people in underserved communities around the world with the smallest environmental footprint.
“Reflecting on the past year, I am incredibly proud of how Kimberly-Clark and our people responded in a powerful way when the world needed us the most,” said Mike Hsu, Chairman and CEO, Kimberly-Clark. “We know the hard work is still ahead of us, and growing for good means that we must be bolder and act faster to help address the social and environmental challenges facing our customers, consumers, communities, and the planet.”
To meet these challenges, Kimberly-Clark’s social impact ambition aims to break down barriers, eliminate stigmas and create opportunities with its purpose-driven brands, including Huggies®, Kleenex®, Andrex®, Cottonelle®, Scott®, Kotex® and Depend®, through programs and innovation that serve unmet societal needs. These efforts are supported by the Kimberly-Clark Foundation, whose social and community investments support work to increase access to clean water and sanitation, help children thrive, and empower women and girls.
At the same time, Kimberly-Clark’s continued success will be dependent on innovating new ways to give consumers the essentials they need while safeguarding natural systems and the life they support. To that end, the company is striving to create the smallest environmental footprint in the areas where it can make the biggest difference – climate, forests, plastics and water.
“The past year presented previously unimaginable challenges that put health and safety at the forefront while illuminating social and environmental gaps that still need to be bridged,” said Lisa Morden, Vice President of Safety, Sustainability and Occupational Health, Kimberly-Clark. “For Kimberly-Clark, it reminded us how closely we are all connected, and of the urgency of the work ahead to achieve our environmental, social, and governance goals.”
Key highlights of the company’s 2020 results include:
- Reached 8.5 million people in vulnerable and underserved communities through programs and initiatives led by Kimberly-Clark and its brands, pushing the company beyond its initial 2022 goal to impact 25 million lives.
- Reduced its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions (direct and indirect) from operations by 32.1% versus its 2015 baseline. The company is working against climate reduction targets approved last year by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
- Innovated new products that will increase its use of environmentally preferred fibers such as alternative and recycled fibers, including the launch of the Kleenex® ECO bath tissue range in Australia, which is the first 100% FSC®-certified bamboo product.
- Decreased the company’s water usage in water-stressed regions by 32.5% by creating significant improvements in its supply chain and the surrounding communities.
- Achieved 100% landfill diversion at more than half of Kimberly-Clark’s manufacturing sites around the world, and globally, the company is diverting 96% of its operational waste from landfills to higher-value alternatives.
- Completed 76% of its originally scheduled social compliance audits of customer, supplier and Kimberly-Clark workplaces by using alternative tools to continue monitoring workplace performance and human rights standards while also adhering to applicable COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“This past year has taught us that we can move quickly to achieve incredibly challenging goals, and that an unwavering focus on health, safety, and sustainability can illuminate ways of working with purpose and urgency,” added Morden. “We are committed to turning these learnings into action to ensure we do our part to address the challenges ahead.”
Kimberly-Clark’s 2020 Global Sustainability Report outlines its 2020 results in detail and is organized and presented in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards.
In addition, the report provides the company’s latest disclosures against the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) frameworks. The company intends to release the relevant findings and assessment results of its climate-related risk and opportunity report, fully aligned with the TCFD framework, later in 2021.