2022 Tissue Scorecard: TP’s Future Lies in Sustainability

September 13, 2022

NRDC’s 2022 Subject with Tissue scorecard unveils extra sustainable tissue product choices than ever earlier than, whereas even business laggards like Procter & Gamble (P&G) present early indicators of responding to a climate-conscious market.

The above scorecard options solely a sampling of merchandise that NRDC reviewed. For the complete record, please seek advice from the report.

The lifespan of the roll of bathroom paper in your toilet could seem fleeting, however its influence on the local weather will be long-term. Because the world grapples with unprecedented local weather chaos, single-use tissue manufacturers like P&G’s Charmin rest room paper proceed to funnel the boreal and different climate-critical forests into shoppers’ bathrooms, driving an unsustainable “tree-to-toilet pipeline” that has devastating impacts for Indigenous Peoples, wildlife, and the worldwide local weather.

In a brand new 2022 Subject with Tissue scorecard, NRDC supplies a recent snapshot of the sustainability of {the marketplace} for lavatory paper, paper towels, and facial tissue, revealing which corporations are embracing climate-friendly merchandise, and that are fueling local weather disaster.  

Final yr’s 2021 scorecard spotlighted the various new merchandise shoppers can select that don’t come on the expense of the world’s forests, notably major forests–these forests which have by no means earlier than been industrially disturbed. Now, this yr’s scorecard evaluates extra merchandise than any earlier model, and contains an up to date methodology that displays the rising urgency with which scientists are calling for the safety of major forests given their irreplaceable local weather worth and the vital habitat they supply for species discovered nowhere else.

As this yr’s scorecard exhibits, the biggest tissue manufacturers in America are failing the local weather, communities, and biodiversity by persevering with to create their merchandise from forests just like the Canadian boreal, which shops extra carbon than another terrestrial ecosystem. P&G, Kimberly-Clark, and Georgia-Pacific earned F scores throughout every of their flagship manufacturers like Charmin, Cottonelle, and Quilted Northern, which they proceed to make virtually solely from virgin forest fiber and fail to keep away from sourcing from major forests. 

The brand new scorecard additionally contains an excellent wider array of retailer manufacturers–lots of that are on the backside of the heap. House Depot, which confronted intense investor scrutiny this yr for its forest sourcing practices, together with Lowe’s and ALDI, joined this yr’s record of corporations failing to make sustainable, climate-friendly tissue manufacturers.

In distinction to the businesses “mentioning the rear,” the 2022 scorecard spotlights many new forest-friendly manufacturers obtainable to shoppers. Among the many 142 merchandise scored, 17 acquired A grades and 17 acquired A-pluses, with manufacturers that use post-consumer recycled content material receiving the very best grades general given their decrease carbon footprint and lowered forest influence (in line with Environmental Paper Community’s Paper Calculator 4.0, recycled content material has simply one-third the carbon emissions of tissue fiber constituted of virgin wooden). New to this record are grocery retailer chains like Kroger, H-E-B, and Ahold Delhaize (proprietor of Cease & Store and Large Meals), which every promote their very own non-public label strains of 100% recycled content material tissue merchandise.

There are additionally extra bamboo manufacturers on the scorecard, reflecting the rising marketplace for rest room paper constituted of various fibers. Among the many 34 merchandise that acquired B or B-plus grades had been a number of manufacturers constituted of 100% bamboo fiber, which has a smaller environmental footprint than virgin forest fiber however a bigger footprint than recycled fiber and a few agricultural residues like wheat straw, one other various tissue materials. Nevertheless, bamboo’s sustainability varies, with some of the necessary elements being whether or not it was sourced from a bamboo plantation that was established via the clearing and conversion of a major forest. That’s why extra bamboo tissue corporations than ever earlier than are in search of certification to hold the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) brand on their merchandise, which helps point out to shoppers that the fiber was sourced in a means that respects human rights and limits detrimental forest impacts.

For the primary time ever, Georgia-Pacific landed itself among the many B-plus scores after making a 100% recycled content material rest room paper possibility obtainable on-line on to shoppers; Kimberly Clark made this identical transfer final yr. This improvement leaves P&G final among the many “Massive Three” U.S. tissue corporations to nonetheless obtain straight F scores throughout all of its tissue manufacturers, together with Charmin, Puffs, and Bounty.

However, progress for P&G might quickly be on the horizon. Whereas nonetheless in a testing part, P&G has begun promoting a brand new Charmin Extremely Eco model on-line constituted of 100% bamboo. Though this product will not be but FSC licensed or extensively and reliably obtainable to shoppers, this improvement marks the primary time that the corporate has appeared to offer shoppers with a extra environmentally pleasant various to flushing forests.

This new check product indicators P&G’s personal quiet recognition that enterprise as regular will trigger the corporate to be left within the mud of a market rapidly adapting to fulfill client calls for for sustainability. Indicators of those evolving client preferences had been lately echoed by the New York Instances’ Wirecutter 2022 “Greatest Rest room Paper” record, which named Seventh Technology’s extra sustainable 100% recycled content material rest room paper as their “new favourite” relative to Charmin.

Sadly, this small step into various fibers by P&G doesn’t offset the destruction brought on by its virgin forest fiber manufacturers, which proceed to be its core product choices. Furthermore, it doesn’t represent an enough response to the decision handed by 67% of the corporate’s voting shareholders in 2020, which known as on the corporate to find out the way it might remove deforestation and intact forest degradation from its provide chains. That’s why, as the corporate’s annual basic assembly approaches on October eleventh, P&G shareholders should proceed to look to carry the corporate’s management accountable for failing to fulfill the urgency that the present local weather disaster calls for. 

Speak of local weather destruction typically conjures photos of burning soiled vitality, however this isn’t the complete image. It additionally appears to be like like the commercial clearcutting of a number of the world’s final remaining major forests for single-use, throwaway tissue merchandise. We’d like manufacturers now greater than ever earlier than which can be prepared to be true local weather leaders and ditch turning bushes into rest room paper. As a substitute, they’ll embrace present options by incorporating recycled content material and different sustainable options into their merchandise. It isn’t simply shoppers who can’t watch for corporations like P&G to behave—it’s our planet.

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