Procter & Gamble puts up police barricades to avoid criticism on National Toilet Paper Day
August 26, 2020
Activists attempt to delivery spoof ‘golden chainsaw’ award over company’s forest destruction; executives of America’s #1 toilet paper brand Charmin nowhere to be found
CINCINNATI, OHIO — In an attempt to avoid acknowledging their role in forest destruction, senior executives of Procter & Gamble brought in additional security and surrounded their headquarters in police barricades today, August 26 — a response to plans by local environmental activists to deliver a spoof ‘golden chainsaw’ award to the maker of America’s #1 toilet paper brand, Charmin, in honor of National Toilet Paper Day.
“Procter & Gamble’s CEO David Taylor is taking a page out of Trump’s playbook by bringing in police barricades and extra security to repel peaceful protesters. Overreaction to a silly stunt is a clear indication of defensiveness — and with good reason, given the company’s ongoing clearcutting of old-growth forests for toilet paper. David Taylor, when is Procter & Gamble going to stop clearcutting Canada’s boreal forest for Charmin TP?” said Todd Paglia, Executive Director at Stand.earth.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year for toilet paper brands, from the empty store shelves and supply chain challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic to the world’s sudden obsession with hygiene and bathroom gadgets like bidets. So to celebrate National Toilet Paper Day, international environmental organization Stand.earth delivered a pair of spoof awards to two of America’s biggest TP brands: Procter & Gamble and Seventh Generation.
Despite senior leadership making themselves scarce (…maybe they were out celebrating National Toilet Paper Day?), activists delivered a “golden chainsaw” to Procter & Gamble’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, calling out the forest destruction of its Charmin brand for sourcing fiber from the boreal forest in Canada, and a “golden toilet” to Seventh Generation’s headquarters in Burlington, Vermont, applauding the company’s long-standing leadership in producing 100% recycled toilet paper. See photos of the award deliveries here.
“While National Toilet Paper Day might seem like just another arbitrary holiday, given this year’s widespread obsession with TP, today is the perfect time to put America’s hottest commodity back in the spotlight. We hope our silly award draws attention to a much more serious problem: Procter & Gamble’s forest destruction over its continued refusal to incorporate recycled fiber into its Charmin toilet paper. It’s time for the maker of America’s #1 toilet paper to stop flushing our forests down the toilet,” said Jen Mendoza, Forest Campaigner at Stand.earth.
SUPPORT GROUP FOR CHARMIN BEAR
Also on National Toilet Paper Day, Stand.earth released a short, dark comedy cartoon featuring a fictional “Support group for losing your home to Charmin’s forest destruction.” The cartoon included cameos from the Charmin bear, a caribou, and a bird as they lament over their futures after Charmin destroyed their home — the boreal forest. Watch the cartoon.
“At least the dinosaurs got taken out by an asteroid. We’re gonna get taken out by toilet paper!” groans the bird. “They’re chopping down all the trees. I’ve got no place to go. It’s all stumps and no berries,” says the Charmin bear. “I hope they enjoy wiping their hineys with my life,” laments the caribou.
ABOUT THE BOREAL FOREST
The boreal forest in Canada, which is often called the “Amazon of the North”, 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 boreal caribou and other species.
Stand.earth critiqued P&G’s “It’s Our Home” climate commitment announced in July 2020, calling it a greenwashing attempt that failed to protect climate-critical forests like the boreal, where the company sources huge quantities of fiber.
In February 2019, Stand.earth and NRDC released the “Issue with Tissue” sustainability scorecard flunking Charmin and other major toilet paper brands for refusing to use zero recycled content in their at-home toilet paper. In June 2020, NRDC released “The Issue With Tissue 2.0,” including a new sustainability scorecard that once again flunked P&G brands.
In the months following the release of the 2019 report, activists with Stand.earth created a “blind wipe” video spoofing Charmin over its softness claims, held a protest outside Procter & Gamble’s shareholder meeting featuring a chainsaw-wielding bear, got Santa arrested for delivering coal to Procter & Gamble’s headquarters, delivered a tongue-in-cheek Earth Day message about folding vs. wadding toilet paper, released a poll showing 85% of Americans want toilet paper makers to use more environmentally responsible materials, and supported religious leaders in Cincinnati in sending a letter to Procter & Gamble about the moral imperative of addressing climate change.
Despite engaging in a long negotiation process with company executives late last year, Stand.earth and NRDC reached an impasse with Procter & Gamble over its sourcing practices when the company refused to adopt concrete steps to uphold Indigenous rights, and clear, science-based commitments with timelines and actual goals to cease working with suppliers that source from boreal forest areas beyond the 65% habitat intactness threshold established by the Canadian federal government.
Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 510 858 9902