October 3, 2006

Actually, Huggies DO Grow On Trees: Old-Growth Huggies

For several years, Kimberley-Clark, the manufacturer of Huggies and Kleenex, has had a stated corporate sustainability policy that "prohibits the use of wood fibers from ... ecologically significant old-growth areas, including ... temperate rainforests in coastal British Columbia."

Trouble is--and who could've seen this coming?--an extensive investigation by Greenpeace, the NRDC, Domini Social Investments, a socially responsible mutual fund, reveals that K-C has consistently violated its own policy by sourcing wood pulp from old-growth regions of BC. Furthermore, they refuse to even study the possibility of using FSC-certified sources. How bad is the company's response? Put it this way: even Wal-Mart has told them they need to "clean up its act."

Fortune Investigates Kimberley-Clark Forestry Practices [fortune via treehugger, who has an excellent recap of the complex story]


I always knew diapers were a dirty business. While I have no trouble believing that any of the big diaper companies are not being nice to the trees and environment in general, don't forget that Wal-Mart is sells their own branded generic diapers and might be a little biased in how evil a competitor is.

Now, I live near that old-growth forest. Much of my family is in forestry.

What is more important to me than if they are using the trees from here is which trees they are using. Most of the forest is selectively logged which is not necessarily a bad thing. It clears out the underbrush and allows smaller trees to replace the older ones, which helps curb disease and attacks of insects. The same thing a good fire would have done before humans mucked it up and started putting fires out.

While clear cuts are common where I live, to clear out the beetle-killed salvage lumber, they are far more rare in the coastal logging area now. In fact, in a large portion of that rainforest, there has been a moratorium on logging since the protests of the 90's. Now the area is under strict controls for logging, so the whole "we do not buy from BC's forests" really hurts us far more than it's helping.

All that said, i still won't use Huggies. they stink, and give Squeak a rash. Cloth rocks!

Remember that Wal*Mart is one of the "good guys" now. They're supposedly going to be going whole-hog green over the next decade or so. Which means that Target (which I love) is now the company that does all the same bad stuff as Wal*Mart and isn't green... :( I made my first trip to wal*mart in years about a month ago, and promptly remembered how frickin' good their cookies were. I need some organic sam's club cookies!

[d'oh, i forgot. If only my church would hand out a scorecard so I'd know where to shop, not just who to vote for... -ed.]

The thing with disposables is not the wood pulp but the petroleum. More of the diaper comes from an oil-based feedstock, not wood pulp. Just as bad - probably worse - for the environment. Unfortunately after 6 months of cloth we had to switch to disposable. We now use as comination of G-Diapers (for day) and disposables- Huggies at that - (for night). I guess we'll look for an alternative for nights. Here's a good doc on the issue of cloth v. dispoable, in case anyone wants to bring that issue up ;) http://www.ilea.org/lcas/franklin1992.html

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