Youth activists on TikTok call out Procter & Gamble for greenwashing
January 15, 2021
In viral videos seen by 300,000+, youth target Charmin toilet paper brand over concerns about caribou habitat, boreal forest destruction, and Indigenous sovereignty
CINCINNATI, OHIO — As Procter & Gamble executives took center stage at CES 2021 this week to tout their sustainability initiatives, youth activists upset over the company’s greenwashing have been overwhelming social media platforms TikTok and Instagram to air their grievances in dozens of viral videos and posts seen by more than 300,000 people. The influencers are calling out the Charmin toilet paper brand and raising concerns about declining caribou habitat, boreal forest destruction, and Indigenous sovereignty in Canada, where the company sources some of its fiber.
“Procter & Gamble is the parent company of Charmin, and they mislead consumers with reassuring claims about planting trees. What they don’t tell you is that they’re actually cutting down massive swaths of the boreal forest, which destroys the habitat of endangered species like woodland caribou,” said TikTok’s @trison_b.
This public callout comes three months after shareholders defied the company and voted in favor of a proposal for P&G to assess how it can do better on forest sourcing and impacts — a clear indication that the world’s largest consumer goods company is not doing enough to deal with the financial threats of deforestation and forest degradation in its supply chains. Procter & Gamble has not released plans for how it will respond to the proposal.
“Companies like P&G sit and label themselves environmentally conscious and get praised for it — like they’re not literally making toilet paper out of trees taken off of Indigenous land,” said TikTok’s @_reem.k_.
Nearly a dozen youth activists and youth organizations joined environmental organization Stand.earth in posting videos using the hashtag #GreenOut22 and #WipeRightCharmin.
“Procter & Gamble is destroying the boreal forest to make your Charmin toilet paper — unsustainably and using greenwashing methods,” said TikTok’s @jaysoune, a Canadian resident. “This is her now, isn’t she gorgeous?” he asks sarcastically while standing in front of a photo of a clearcut.
The youth activists posted their videos throughout the month of December 2020, joining more than 1,000 members of Stand.earth’s online community who sent tweets to Procter & Gamble’s Chief Sustainability Officer Virginie Helias.
Procter & Gamble appears to have indirectly responded to the youth activists in an Instagram post on December 22, saying “we believe you deserve to know about our products, business practices & policies.” The post has received dozens of negative comments.
See all the videos and posts:
- On TikTok:
- On Instagram:
Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 510 858 9902