It may not be the most romantic job in the world, but procurement practitioners operating in the toilet paper product market may have to reform their strategic sourcing operations after a new report found several major transnational firms used zero or minimal recycled material in producing these commodities.
The study, from the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), found that Procter & Gamble, Georgia-Pacific, and Kimberley-Clark, the parent companies of world-famous toilet paper products, such as Charmin and Angel Soft, had failed to use any recycled material in their offerings. The Kirkland brand received somewhat better scores, but the only brands scoring an ‘A’ rating across three product categories of toilet paper, facial tissues, and paper towels, were Green Forest, Trader Joe’s, 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) 100% Recycled, and Natural Value. Procter & Gamble received the lowest “F” rating for its brands. Paper towels and toilet paper manufactured using post-consumer recycled paper, or alternative materials, such as bamboo, and wheat straw, leave a much smaller carbon footprint in their wake. But the report concludes that these practices are underused. The ‘tree-to-toilet’ pipeline is far more typical, and the NDRC is calling for consumer action, which has reduced dependence on destructive palm oil and cocoa products, to curtail it.
Report co-author, Shelley Vinyard, said: “We’re calling on Procter & Gamble, as the maker of America’s leading toilet paper brand, to stop flushing forests down the toilet. Procter & Gamble has the innovation resources to bring Charmin into the 21st century; the question is whether the company will embrace its reputation as an innovator to create sustainable products using recycled material instead of clear-cut trees.”
The report urges consumers and activists to push for corporate evolution towards greener strategic sourcing, although it concedes that it will be a tougher struggle for the products families rely on as a daily necessity rather than as an occasional treat, such as chocolate. The report urges companies and consumers to embrace existing solutions that promote healthy forests.