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Environmental organizations call on Procter & Gamble shareholders to reduce forest degradation in supply chain

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Letter urges P&G to use non-wood fibers in tissue products, oppose re-election of company’s governance & public responsibility committee chair
DENVER — More than 100 environmental groups sent a letter late Thursday calling on the shareholders of Procter & Gamble (P&G) to minimize the company’s impacts on the boreal forest in Canada and the tropical rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia. The letter points out that it has been nearly a year since a majority of shareholders voted in favor of a Green Century Capital Management resolution calling on P&G to increase its efforts to mitigate deforestation and forest degradation in its supply chains.

Since then, the company has failed to make adequate commitments for how it will end deforestation and the degradation of intact primary forests. Instead, P&G has increased the volume of pulp it purchases from Canada by more than 15% in the last year. P&G’s palm oil suppliers continue to fuel deforestation in Southeast Asia and two of their palm oil suppliers in Malaysia have import bans in the United States for ongoing human rights violations.

“Considering the growing availability of sustainable materials like recycled paper and bamboo, P&G’s use of virgin forest fiber in Charmin, Bounty and Puffs products puts unnecessary pressure on the Canadian boreal forest, ” said Sammy Herdman, Environment America Research & Policy Center campaign associate. “The loss of the boreal forest also means the loss of one of the world’s greatest buffers against climate change. At a time when so many are working to reduce global warming pollution, we cannot afford to destroy natural climate solutions like our forests.”

The groups sending the letter are urging shareholders to oppose the re-election of Angela Braly to P&G’s board of directors. Braly has chaired P&G’s Governance & Public Responsibility Committee for five years and is the board member with primary responsibility for addressing such shareholder proposals as the one that passed last year. The P&G board’s response to last year’s shareholder proposal is reflective of problems in this process, the groups assert.

“While P&G presents itself as a sustainability leader in the consumer sector, its supply chains continue to drive rampant forest destruction, labor abuses and violations of Indigenous Peoples’ land rights,” said Jeff Conant, senior international forest program manager with Friends of the Earth. “In Indonesia, P&G’s suppliers are embroiled in protracted conflicts and systemic corruption, which the consumer giant seems unable to address. Until P&G respects the rights of the people from whose land it derives its ingredients, its shaving gels, shampoos and paper products, it will remain complicit in accelerating  ecological collapse.”

Despite numerous criticisms of P&G’s environmental record, the company sponsored NYC’s climate week in September 2021.

“P&G needs to invest less in greenwashing and more in stopping deforestation and rights abuses,” said Maggie Martin, senior forest campaigner with Rainforest Action Network. “We must see protections for Indigenous communities, human rights defenders, and forests in all of P&G’s sourcing and business partnerships.”
Environment America Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment.
Environment America Research & Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.

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