All of the five biggest European tissue manufacturers - Procter and Gamble, SCA, Kimberly Clark, Metsa Tissue and Georgia Pacific - were found not to be offering enough recycled content in their toilet paper, towels and napkins. SCA Tissue, which makes Velvet, came out top and Procter & Gamble, which makes Charmin and Bounty, came fourth. The report says that the majority of tissue products contain high-quality virgin fibres which are taken directly from important forests around the world.
The European tissue business is worth around 8.5 billion Euros annually and accounts for 26 per cent of global tissue consumption, with each European using 13 kg - the equivalent of approximately 22 billion rolls of toilet paper being used every year.
Everyday about 270,000 trees are effectively flushed down the toilet or end up as garbage around the world. This is occurring at a time when some of the world's most important forests are already under a serious threat of survival," said Andrew Lee, Director of Campaigns for WWF. "Manufacturers must use more recycled fibres in their tissue products, as this means fewer trees will be cut down."
Toilet paper and towels in offices, schools, and hotels are mostly made out of recycled fibres, and WWF believes that there is no reason why it should be any different for the same products that are sold in supermarkets. Manufacturers argue that retailers mainly want non-recycled products because this is what consumers are asking for.
"The majority of consumers have no idea that they may be threatening the world's forests through their choice of toilet and tissue paper," said Beatrix Richards, Senior Forests Officer at WWF. "Manufacturers have a duty to label their products more clearly - recycling symbols on tissue packaging can be misleading as they often only refer to the wrapping paper, and not to the product itself."
"Our advice to consumers is to buy the few recycled tissue products available in the shops which will help create an increased demand for them."
WWF says that SCA Tissue is the only company which has so far taken effective measures to exclude illegal or controversial timber from their tissue products.
The ranking from the report was as follows (1 being the best, 5 being the worst):
1. SCA Tissue (Velvet) - 46%
2. METSA Tissue - 35%
3. Georgia Pacific (Nouvelle) - 32%
4. Procter and Gamble (Bounty and Charmin) - 26%
5. Kimberly Clark (Kleenex facial tissue, Andrex Puppy, Scott tissues) - 24%
WWF has been in discussions with the five companies for over a year to find out information which is currently not publicly available. These companies were compared and scored across a range of criteria, including their wood sourcing practices, levels of recycled content, public reporting and their transparency about their emissions to water, air, waste disposal and use of resources such as water and energy. Although WWF sees some progress over recent months in the companies' willingness to address the issues which WWF raised in face to face negotiations with them, there is still a lot of room for improvements towards a responsible use of the world's forests.
For detailed findings from the scoring of the tissue giants as well as the scoring report please contact Alison Sutton (contacts below).
For further information please contact:
Deputy Head of Press & Media Relations
Phone: 01483 412388