Charmin: Stop Flushing our Forests

February 3, 2020

100+ organizations, tens of thousands of consumers urge company to stop greenwashing and stop making iconic brands like Charmin from endangered forests, threatened species habitat

Protesters rallied outside Procter & Gamble’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, October 8, in downtown Cincinnati to call attention to P&G’s failure to address its role in climate chaos. Inside the meeting, activists confronted CEO David Taylor for making toilet paper and tissue products from endangered forests and threatened species habitat. The protest marks the kick-off of a new level of campaigning after months of behind the scenes negotiations between P&G and environmental advocacy organizations and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) failed because P&G refused to adopt clear commitments with timelines, actual goals, and concrete steps to get out of endangered forests and caribou habitat.

Outside the meeting, a chainsaw-wielding bear inspired by Charmin’s iconic branding joined the tyvek-clad protesters who wore signs that read “Charmin: Stop Flushing Our Forests.” As shareholders made their way into the meeting, activists handed out 100% recycled “Who Gives a Crap” toilet paper and explained how P&G sources its fiber from clearcut forests like the Canadian boreal forest and refuses to add recycled or alternative fiber to its Charmin toilet paper to reduce its forest impacts. A 10-foot-tall inflatable package of Charmin toilet paper with a bear holding a chainsaw was launched near the entrance to the meeting.

Inside the meeting, representatives with and NRDC presented executive leaders with a letter signed by more than 100 environmental, conservation, consumer and student groups in the U.S. and Canada. The letter expressed grave concerns about P&G’s impacts on forests and called for increases in recycled and alternative fibers and stricter measures for threatened species and endangered forest protections. 

The wide range of organizations expressed concerns that P&G’s brands contain no recycled materials or alternative fibers and criticized the species and climate costs of P&G’s activities, and urged the company to apply its 181-year history of innovation to create toilet paper and tissue products that are truly sustainable. 

P&G’s annual shareholder meeting comes amid increased calls from consumers and climate change activists for the company to use its extensive resources to create and deliver products that are better for the planet. More than 200,000 people have signed petitions calling for P&G to change its sourcing practices and reduce its reliance on fiber from clearcut forests. According to a national poll conducted by Engine earlier this year, nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned their toilet paper is made from clear-cutting globally important forests like the Canadian boreal, and that 85% want toilet paper and tissue companies to use more environmentally responsible materials.