Cincinnati religious leaders send Procter & Gamble executives an open letter voicing climate change concerns
April 7, 2020
As religious holidays begin, faith leaders call on toilet paper giant to stop destroying critical forests
CINCINNATI, OHIO — Recognizing that protecting Earth is a “spiritual and religious commitment that people of all faiths from all over the world have embraced,” religious leaders from Cincinnati sent an open letter to Procter & Gamble executives on Tuesday, April 7, urging the maker of America’s #1 toilet paper brand Charmin to stop destroying critical forests for toilet paper.
The delivery of the letter is especially timely as people of many faiths begin observing religious holidays this month, including Easter, Passover, and Ramadan. The religious leaders ask others to join them in signing the letter on behalf of their own congregations.
The full letter can be read online at https://www.stand.earth/sites/stand/files/FaithLeaderLetterProcterGamble.pdf.
“As people of faith, and leaders in our city, we write to you on behalf of our current communities and future generations who are currently experiencing the recent upheaval of daily life due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and who will also live to experience another one of the greatest upheavals in our modern era — climate change. While many news stories have been focused on the curious trend of toilet paper disappearing off of store shelves, today, we are writing to draw attention to the environmental and social impacts of your tissue products,” reads the letter. “We are committed to caring for all of creation: the air that we breathe, the water that sustains life, the fruits of the land that nourish us, and the entire web of life without which humanity itself cannot flourish. Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are a threat to our future, and addressing them is a moral and spiritual imperative. We believe our response to global climate change should be a sign of our respect for creation, and that we all must take this climate crisis seriously and act with urgency to fulfill our moral obligation to steward the Earth.”
Signatories of the letter include Jheri Neri, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Native American Coalition; Reverend Alan Dicken of Carthage Christian Church; Rabbi Miriam Turlinchamp of Temple Shalom; Reverend Mother Paula Jackson, PhD, of Church of Our Savior; and Ann Warrington Wilson, Episcopal Priest and P&G Stockholder.
The letter cites its collaboration with the Issue with Tissue campaign led by international environmental organizations Stand.earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The campaign asks Procter & Gamble to stop sourcing its fiber from the boreal forest in Canada while replacing at least half of the fiber used in its tissue products with recycled and alternative fibers. Procter & Gamble has refused to commit to stop sourcing virgin fiber from critical forests in northern Canada and refused to add even a small percentage of recycled fiber into its iconic Charmin brand toilet paper.
The boreal forest in Canada is the largest intact forest in the world. Protecting it is a global priority because boreal forest ecosystems store more carbon per acre than any other forest type on Earth, which means Canada’s large, intact boreal forest is vital to mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. Often called the “Amazon of the North”, the Boreal is home to over 600 Indigenous communities, as well as boreal caribou, pine marten, and billions of songbirds. The loss of this intact forest is impacting Indigenous Peoples’ ways of life and driving the decline of caribou and other species.
“Many of our congregants are employees of Procter & Gamble. Our communities benefit greatly from the contributions of P&G staff who attend our places of worship. We recognize that P&G is a positive leader in many ways. That’s why we were so surprised and disappointed to learn about Procter & Gamble’s refusal to commit to using a percentage of post-consumer recycled fiber for its tissue products, as well as the company’s refusal to stop sourcing virgin fiber from threatened species habitat in the Canadian boreal forest,” reads the letter. “We understand P&G has justified its recalcitrance in numerous ways, ranging from consumer preference to technical limitations, practical considerations, and economic impacts. In light of the scale of the challenges we face, from the economic and societal impacts of coronavirus to the larger existential threat of climate change, these rationalizations are no longer acceptable.”
Faith leaders who are interested in signing the letter can contact Jen Mendoza, Forest Campaigner at Stand.earth, at email@example.com.
Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Stand.earth, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-858-9902 (US), 778-984-3994 (Canada)
Interviews with local faith leaders are available by request.