Kimberly-Clark Corporation published its annual report on sustainability, including an update on the company’s progress toward its 2030 sustainability strategy and goals, aimed at addressing the social and environmental challenges of the next decade with goals to improve the lives and well-being of 1 billion people in underserved communities around the world and reducing its environmental footprint.
“As Kimberly-Clark continues to grow our business, caring for our people, consumers, customers, partners and communities remains front and center,” said Mike Hsu, Chairman and CEO, Kimberly-Clark. “From our commitment to climate stewardship and our efforts to develop more sustainable solutions for our product portfolio to our focus on inclusion and diversity and our ambition to advance the well-being of 1 billion people around the world, we’ll continue to drive positive impact as we create long-term value for our shareholders. That’s how we deliver Better Care for a Better World.”
Key highlights of the company’s 2021 results include:
- Social Impact – Kimberly-Clark and its brands continued to deliver toward the goal to improve the well-being of 1 billion people in underserved communities by 2030 through programs like Toilets Change Lives, No Baby Unhugged and the Kotex® She Can initiative, as well as through partnerships with the Kimberly-Clark Foundation, and NGOs including Water For People, WaterAid and Plan International. In 2021, Kimberly-Clark advanced the well-being of 15.7 million people in vulnerable and underserved communities, raising our total to 41.4 million people since 2015.
- Climate – Consistent with the world’s enhanced climate action commitments coming out of COP26, the company made progress against ambitious targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for reducing our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and our Scope 3 emissions by 20% – all by 2030. As of the end of 2021, Kimberly-Clark achieved nearly a 41% reduction in operational emissions (Scope 1 and 2) versus our 2015 base year. For Scope 3 GHG emissions, we achieved a 6.3% GHG emissions reduction from a 2015 base year, with a focus on purchased goods and services and end-of-life treatment of sold products.
- Forests – The company made continued progress toward its goal of sourcing 90% of our tissue fiber from environmentally preferred fiber sources. In 2021, Kimberly-Clark achieved 87% environmentally preferred fiber use globally, primarily by increasing our procurement of virgin wood fiber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) (63%) as well as recycled fiber (24%) for our tissue products.
- Plastics – Kimberly-Clark continued its work to explore more sustainable, commercially viable and scalable alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastics. In 2021, the company doubled the percentage of recycled content in our plastics packaging, and it further increased the amount of packaging globally that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable to nearly 84%, as it strives for 100% by 2025.
- Water – In 2021, Kimberly-Clark achieved a 34% reduction of water consumption in water-stressed regions against our 2015 baseline, of which 1.4% occurred in the last year, driven by our strategic approach to water management, which centers around technological innovation for circular solutions and best-in-class management systems.
- Inclusion and Diversity – Kimberly-Clark continued to foster a culture of inclusion that recognizes, values and celebrates the diverse perspectives of our team. Among other pillars of our strategy, the past year focused on leveraging leadership to drive inclusion and diversity with initiatives including educating team leaders through our Activating Inclusive Leadership Lab to build high-performing, inclusive and diverse teams.
- Health and Safety – As the world continued to navigate through the global COVID-19 pandemic, the company prioritized the health and safety of our people with global protocols that often exceeded local requirements. A number of sites provided preventive programs, including free on-site testing, vaccination clinics for employees and family members as well as training and education.
“Our purpose of Better Care for a Better World is our call to action, challenging us to help billions of people through greater access to life’s daily essentials while building on our past successes, scaling our use of efficient new technologies, and delivering solutions that address the challenges facing our planet in the decade ahead,” said Lisa Morden, Vice President of Safety, Sustainability and Occupational Health, Kimberly-Clark. “We will remain steadfast in our efforts to reach our goals because we believe it’s the best way to care for the people we serve, it’s the right thing to do for our planet, and it helps us deliver on our purpose.”
In addition to the report, the company has provided enhanced ESG-related content on its website in order to provide more primary information about its overall strategy, progress and achievements, and make it easier for stakeholders to find the information that is most relevant to them.
“As its reporting format continues to evolve, Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to acting with care for people, communities, and the planet remains resolute,” added Morden. “In addition, maintaining transparency in our ESG disclosures in order to engender the trust of our investors, customers, consumers, employees, local communities, and other stakeholders remains paramount.”
Kimberly-Clark’s annual sustainability report and accompanying disclosures portray the company’s progress through stories that highlight our work around the world as well as key data and metrics prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards “Core” level. The reporting covers the time frame of January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021. For more information on the topics in this report, please visit the sustainability page on Kimberly-Clark.com.