Kimberly-Clark to slash use of forest wood pulp

Consumer products maker Kimberly-Clark Corp., which has operations in Knoxville and Loudon, said Monday it would reduce by half the amount of wood fiber taken from natural forests to make its products.

The maker of Huggies diapers and Klennex tissues said its goal is to transition to at least 50 percent alternate fiber sources by 2025.

The company, which used nearly 750,000 metric tons of wood fiber in 2011, currently is test marketing tissue products which contain 20 percent bamboo in North America. The company is also test marketing tissue products made in part from wheat straw.

“In the long run, we hope that one day all of our fiber needs will be met from sources that collectively have maximum land use efficiencies while minimizing impact on people and our planet.,” Suhas Apte, vice president, global sustainability for Kimberly-Clark, said in a news release.

In addition to reducing the pressure on forest resources, the transition to alternative fibers will “help insulate the company from continuing volatile price fluctuations,” the company said.

Kimberly-Clark shares were down about two cents in trading today, but it remains near its 52-week high.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.