Story at a glance:
- Descendants of James Gamble are urging their ancestor’s company, Procter & Gamble, to develop more sustainable products.
- P&G sources some of the materials for its tissue products from forests that are critical in fighting climate change.
- One expert says P&G currently does not use recycled materials for its products.
Procter & Gamble, an American company that makes some of the most popular paper-based products from tissues to toilet paper, is facing pushback over its environmental policies from an unlikely source: two of the founder’s descendants.
Brother and sister Jules Feeney and Justine Epstein are calling out P&G, the company their ancestor, James Gamble, started in 1837, for sourcing forests critical in fighting climate change to create its tissue products, CBS News reported.
Currently, the company does not use recycled materials and instead uses “virgin fiber” for its tissue products like Charmin, Thomas Peterson, a green Century Equity Fund shareholder advocate, told CBS. Some of the wood pulp to make the toilet paper comes from old-growth forests like Canada’s Boreal Forest, which is the largest intact forest in the world and stores a significant amount of the Earth’s carbon.
Feeny and Epstein are pushing the company, now valued at $350 billion, to reimagine how it creates its products.
“Cutting down such an essential eco-system for a product that we will only use one time… to me, is really just absurd,” Feeney told CBS.
“It’s easy to eye-roll at a big corporation and say, ‘we can’t do anything about it,’” Epstein told CBS. “In our case, we looked at each other and said, ‘We can!’”
The siblings sent a letter to the company last year, urging the company to develop sustainable products that do not require cutting essential forests. The letter was also signed by 96 descendants of both Procter and Gamble, spanning four generations.
The family also requested to meet with the CEO, which was not granted, according to CBS.
The company told CBS that its wood pulp sourcing prohibits deforestation and that "less than 1% of P&G global wood pulp sourcing includes intact forest."
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) gave the Charmin brand an F for sustainability.
“As the climate crisis worsens, the tissue industry’s continued reliance on a devastating ‘tree to toilet pipeline’ has become only more untenable,” Shelley Vinyard, NRDC’s Boreal Corporate Campaign Manager, said in a press release. “P&G is one of the worst offenders, rebuffing its investors concerned about deforestation, while using its billion-dollar advertising budget to hide its disgraceful legacy of fueling forest destruction and harming communities. Major corporations like P&G must start responding to the pressure and accept their own, much larger, role in the climate catastrophe.”
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