NEW YORK – A proposal to shareholders urges Procter & Gamble (P&G) investors to vote against current members of the board of directors, due to the company’s failure to address unsustainable sourcing of wood pulp and palm oil from climate-critical forests in the Canadian boreal and southeast Asia. The proposal was supported by environmental advocacy organizations NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), Friends of the Earth, and Rainforest Action Network (RAN).
In an exempt solicitation filed with the Securities Exchange Commission today, P&G investors are urged to vote against three current members of the Board at its October 11 Annual General Meeting: Board Chair and CEO Jon Moeller; the Chair of the Governance and Public Accountability Committee, Angela Braly; and Patricia Woertz. The exempt solicitation makes the case that these board members have failed to provide the leadership needed to align P&G’s forest sourcing with the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises, exposing the company to significant risk.
At P&G’s 2020 shareholder meeting, 67 percent of voting shareholders urged the company to increase the scale, pace, and rigor with which it addresses environmental and social harms linked to its sourcing of pulp and palm oil. Yet insufficient action has been taken by P&G leadership since that vote.
The following statements support the shareholder proposal:
“The world cannot afford to stand by while P&G destroys the planet’s last great primary forests to make toilet paper. Despite a shareholder directive to reduce its impacts on climate-critical forests issued two years ago, P&G has embraced greenwashing over meaningful solutions, and cosmetic tweaks over climate action. It’s time for shareholders to hold P&G’s leadership team to account for its failure and the risks it poses to investors—and to the planet,” said Jennifer Skene, NRDC’s Natural Climate Solutions Policy Manager.
“P&G, with the largest public relations budget of any company on Earth, is taking great strides to appear responsible while continuing to fail on human rights and ecological integrity,” said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager with Friends of the Earth. “With a leadership team of individuals from Exxon, Chevron and Monsanto – some of the most toxic climate denialists out there – shareholders should not be surprised that the company is not delivering on its sustainability commitments.”
“We know that we stand at a crossroads and any further deforestation will contribute to climate catastrophe lasting for generations,” said Daniel Carrillo, Forest Campaign Director, Rainforest Action Network (RAN). “Meanwhile, the very communities attempting to protect these invaluable rainforests for all of us are facing increasingly violent reprisal. We need the leadership of P&G to take real action now, the world can't wait any longer.”
Two years after shareholders directed P&G to address its unsustainable forest supply chains, P&G’s leadership team has failed to take substantive action to evaluate and adopt time-bound commitments to address the company’s role in driving primary forest degradation, and to adequately enforce its deforestation and human rights policies.
Longstanding concerns about P&G’s forest sourcing for wood pulp supply from Canada’s boreal forest and palm oil sourcing from tropical rainforests are driving shareholder engagement.
P&G’s wood pulp supply chain in Canada’s boreal forest:
NRDC’s recently released report, Issue with Tissue 2022, highlights that P&G, America’s top toilet paper maker, continues to make Charmin with large volumes of virgin pulp from the climate-critical Canadian boreal forest. However, the marketplace is shifting toward sustainability, driven by growing consumer interest in purchasing toilet paper and tissue brands that are not complicit in clearcutting the last forests untouched by industrial logging.
The boreal forest is essential in the fight against climate change, holding more than 300 billion tons of climate-altering carbon – twice as much carbon as the world’s oil reserves – in its soils, plants, and wetlands. The boreal is the homeland of hundreds of Indigenous Peoples and vital habitat for threatened species. More than 1 million acres of the Canadian boreal forest are clear-cut each year – in part to make the ultimate disposable, single-use item: toilet paper. Toilet paper made with recycled content has one-third the carbon footprint of toilet paper made from trees.
P&G’s palm oil sourcing from tropical rainforests:
P&G sources palm oil and palm kernel oil from thousands of mills in Indonesia and Malaysia, many of which are credibly linked to ongoing land rights abuses, destroying lowland rainforests and operating illegal plantations in Indonesia. According to a recent report from Rainforest Action Network, P&G sources “from as many as 22 palm oil producers and traders engaged in ongoing deforestation and peatland destruction” in Indonesia alone.
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC
Friends of the Earth United States is a member of Friends of the Earth International, the largest federation of grassroots environmental groups in the world. We understand that the challenges facing our planet call for more than half measures, so we push for the reforms that are needed, not merely the ones that are politically easy. Visit us at www.foe.org
Rainforest Action Network preserves forests, protects the climate and upholds human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns. RAN works toward a world where the rights and dignity of all communities are respected and where healthy forests, a stable climate and wild biodiversity are protected and celebrated. Visit us at www.ran.org