Kimberly-Clark Corporation: The Environmental Sustainability Challenge

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG091
Case Length : 31 Pages
Period : 2003-2008
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Kimberly-Clark Corporation
Industry : Consumer Packaged Goods
Countries : Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

K-C was founded in 1872 in Neenah, Wisconsin, USA, as a partnership among John A. Kimberly (John Kimberly), Charles B. Clark, Frank C. Shattuck, and Havilah Babcook. It had an initial capital of US$ 30,000. The company's first business was running paper mills and its first paper mill was set up in Wisconsin. The first product of the company was newsprint made from linen and cotton rags. Over the next six years, the company expanded its business by acquiring another paper mill called Atlas Paper Mill...

CSR at Kimberly-Clark

K-C had a very good history of CSR and an important position in sustainability leadership...

Business Ethics Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Business Ethics, Case Studies

Policies Governing Environmental Activities

Being involved in a business which involved felling trees and deforestation, it was necessary for K-C to have responsible forestry and fiber sourcing policies. The company adopted a fundamental policy on environmental protection and concern in 1990, prohibiting the use of old growth fiber in its products...

Sustainability Reporting

Though the company was carrying out several environment friendly activities, these came to public notice when K-C came out with its environmental report in the early 2000s. In the report, the company outlined its responsibilities as a good corporate citizen...


Despite the CSR initiatives by K-C and its claims of environmental friendly business practices, various environment protection groups alleged that it used virgin fiber for its tissue products. In November 2004, noted environment protection groups Greenpeace and NRDC launched a movement against K-C alleging that it was destroying ancient forests for manufacturing its tissue products and misleading the public about its business practices...

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