World’s largest tissue paper companies putting valuable forests at risk

Increasing use of tissue paper and decreased use of recycled paper in tissue paper production is driving deforestation in crucial forests worldwide, a new AidEnvironment report concludes.

In the report The world’s tissue paper companies and their care for forests, the sourcing of fibres by the nine largest tissue paper companies worldwide are examined and compared. Of the nine companies, the Indonesia-based Sinar Mas company scores lowest on sustainable sourcing of fibres. 

Tissue paper – including toilet paper, handkerchiefs, and diapers – represents 10 percent of world paper use. Due to an increasing middle-class population, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, the use is expected to grow steadily. The nine largest tissue paper companies worldwide are: Essity, Kimberly-Clark, Sinar Mas, Georgia-Pacific, Procter & Gamble, CMPC (Soys), Hengan, Sofidel, and Unicharm.  

The report found:  

  • Of the nine companies, Sinar Mas scores lowest on sustainable sourcing of fibers. This is due to the company’s Chinese operations. The company leads the tissue market in China, and third parties that sell pulp to Sinar Mas’ Chinese operations do not appear to have certification certificates for forest management.
  • Compared to the second and third largest companies on the Chinese market (Essity and Hengan), Sinar Mas is not ensuring its suppliers operate according to standards set by the main certification suppliers. 
  • Essity and Kimberly-Clark, the world’s largest companies producing tissue paper, use increasingly less recycled paper for the production of their tissue paper. 
  • Increased use of recycled paper would reduce pressure on remaining forests. Aidenvironment recommends that the nine largest tissue paper companies worldwide increase their use of recycled fibers and achieve 100% Forest Stewardship Council certification for forest management.