Kimberly-Clark Professional mill scoops top sustainability prize

A Kimberly-Clark Professional paper mill has won a prestigious sustainability award for an innovative project that has significantly reduced chemical discharges.

The mill, situated in Villey Saint Etienne in north-eastern France, received first prize in the Eco-Management category of the ‘Enviro Trophy’ – a competition organised by the French regulatory authorities.

The mill manufactures tissue products from virgin fibre, recycled fibre and ‘broke’, which is a raw material created from waste and offcuts.  The facility was recognised by judges for the implementation of Project Genesis, an initiative that cut discharges of absorbable organic halogens (AOx) – compounds that result from the re-pulping of broke.  Broke contains wet-strength resin, which must be broken down during pulping before the material can be re-used.

Kimberly-Clark Professional subsequently installed a new broke pulper equipped with an additional refiner which breaks down wet-strength resin mechanically and has consequently cut the amount of sodium hypochlorite required by 80% and reduced AOx discharges by 66%.

Tom Berry, Head of Sustainability, Europe, at Kimberly-Clark Professional, explained:  “Broke is a really important material, as it helps us to reduce waste and maximise the efficiency of our operations.  The new process will have a really positive effect on the environment and our surrounding communities.”

Meanwhile, Kimberly-Clark Corporation – parent company of Kimberly-Clark Professional – has been named in the first ‘Natural Capital Leaders Index’ of global companies that have successfully reported growing revenues in recent years while reducing environmental impacts.

The Natural Capital Leaders Index was published by GreenBiz Group, in association with Trucost plc, as part of its seventh annual report, State of Green Business 2014.  The Index names Kimberly-Clark among 34 “decoupling leaders” from 10 countries that have increased their revenues for the 2008‒2012 period, disclosed greenhouse gas emissions and also reduced other environmental impacts, such as air emissions, water use and energy use.  Kimberly-Clark has made substantial progress in these areas as it strives to meet its ‘Sustainability 2015’ targets under the key pillars of People, Planet and Products.

Lisa Morden, Senior Director of Global Sustainability for Kimberly- Clark, said: “We’re proud that our efforts to continuously improve our sustainability practices are being recognised by such well-respected organisations as the GreenBiz Group and Trucost plc.  Leaders across Kimberly-Clark are committed to realising more sustainable operations and we understand that consumers, customers, employees and all of our business partners expect us to be wise and prudent stewards of the resources that are essential to our business.”

Joel Makower, Executive Editor for GreenBiz Group and principal author of State of Green Business 2014, added:  “Kimberly-Clark is a leader among companies that are taking a comprehensive, balanced approach to reducing environmental impact.  We respect this leadership team’s commitment to transparency and continuous improvement in its sustainable business practices, and showing how doing so aligns the interests of consumers, the environment and the global community.”

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