University Wiping Away Alberta’s Endangered Forests

For immediate Release: May 1, 2007

Students’ point out that the University is Wiping Away Alberta’s Endangered Forests

University presented with petitions asking for ethical purchasing of toilet paper

Edmonton, Alberta – On Tuesday May 1st at 12:30pm on the Student’s Union Building’s Stage (University of Alberta Campus), University of Alberta students, alumni and staff joined (several) environmental organizations in a press conference highlighting their concerns regarding the University’s lack of ethical purchasing policies. The group is specifically troubled about the source of the university’s toilet paper and paper towels: Kimberly-Clark.

Despite international outcry, Kimberly-Clark continues to clearcut ancient forests and source massive amounts of fibre from Canada’s slow-growing, ancient Boreal forest for disposable products like Kleenex. In the process, it endangers habitat for threatened species such as woodland caribou and releases dangerous carbon from the peat beneath the forest. One of its sources includes Alberta’s Foothills Forests, which are considered endangered as only 1.4% of this region is protected. This is part of the larger Greenpeace and NRDC (Natural Resource Defense Council) international campaign, exposing Kimberly-Clark for its devastating environmental record. These organizations shared their concerns with shareholders at the corporation’s AGM in Texas last week, specifically pointing out sourcing of pulp from Alberta’s foothills.

Other student groups across North America are also raising awareness about Kimberly-Clark on their campuses. The U of A's concerned students and staff will applaud the Students' Union's Ethical Purchasing Policy (adopted in 2003), which gives purchasing preference to environmentally sustainable products for one building on campus. The groups hope that the rest of campus will soon follow. "We want to recognize the Students' Union for setting the bar as responsible leaders in our community," states U of A student Jolene Shannon, "We are petitioning the University of Alberta to also adopt an ethical purchasing policy and stop using virgin forests for products that are flushed down the toilet."

Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Kim Fry said the pressure on Kimberly-Clark is heating up. "We are seeing a growing number of customers cancel their contracts with Kimberly-Clark and moving to companies that are serious about incorporating recycled fiber and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified virgin fiber into their products. It is time that Kimberly-Clark cleaned up its act and stopped being an industry laggard when there are growing markets for green products."

"We have been speaking with students and staff and have found overwhelming support for the campus campaign and for the protection of the foothills," said student representative Jolene Shannon. Rebecca Reeves, coordinator of the Alberta Foothills Network is excited to see students taking on this issue. "It is significant that they are recognizing the role this Alberta institution is unknowingly playing in the loss of critical habitat for caribou and grizzly bear habitat in Alberta." The Alberta Foothills Network has identified the last remaining intact areas that could be saved in the foothills: the Kakwa, the Little Smoky and the Bighorn. Logging in these areas has been linked to Kimberly-Clark.


For more information, please contact:

Jolene Shannon, student, 780-940-8526
Rebecca Reeves, Coordinator – Alberta Foothills Network, 780-913-9375
Kim Fry, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace, 647-406-0664

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