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Environment Health and Safety

Environmental Health, and Safety

Environmental Health, and Safety

As we pursue our strategy of Better Care for a Better World, protecting the environment and ensuring the health and safety of the people who work in our facilities and live in our communities remains core to our caring values.

Kimberly-Clark’s performance in EHS management is a point of pride at our company, and we remain steadfast in our focus on continuously improving our EHS performance with operating practices designed to reduce risk and the potential for adverse impacts.  This includes actively fostering employee engagement, applying EHS performance standards, and utilizing an EHS Management System to drive compliance and continuous improvement.

Our policy is always to comply with applicable environmental health, & safety (EHS) laws and regulations. Most importantly, this helps to protect our employees and the environment – but it also reduces the risk to our business—by helping the company avoid fines, penalties, legal liabilities, and threats to business continuity.

Learn about our Environment Goals here.

Learn about our Health and Safety data here.

Strategy and Approach

Kimberly-Clark has an Environmental Policy that provides guidance on how we handle and address environmental compliance, water management, energy and climate, waste, and fiber resources. This policy serves as a foundation for Kimberly-Clark’s strategic approach to our integrated EHS management system. Kimberly-Clark also has a policy to manage occupational safety and hygiene globally for the protection of our employees, contractors, and visitors, and to aggressively drive toward the elimination of occupational injuries, illnesses, disabilities, and fatalities.

Learn about our Environmental Policy here.

Learn about our Occupational Safety and Hygiene Policy here.

Maturity Model

Our strategic approach to EHS promotes a culture where teams across all sites work to continuously improve our EHS performance – reducing risks to employees and the environment surrounding our operations. Our Global Supply Chain Leadership team has defined six EHS Leadership Imperatives to be integrated across our operations, including:

  1. Consistent EHS leadership
  2. Positive EHS interactions
  3. Risk tolerance reduction
  4. Workforce empowerment to drive impact
  5. Consistent critical EHS work practices
  6. Aligned Incentives and metrics

To operationalize these imperatives, the company developed and continues to advance an EHS Transformation Strategy with the core objectives of: improving EHS mindsets, behaviors, and capabilities; reducing risk and ensuring compliance; and managing EHS systematically. A maturity framework has been deployed throughout our operating facilities, providing a roadmap to achieving these objectives while bringing to life our Leadership’s imperatives. Key programs within our strategic pillars include EHS leadership training, standardized risk assessment and reduction across total EHS discipline, and compliance assurance through consistent reporting, escalation, and corrective/preventative follow-up action and closure.

At the end of 2021, the company achieved a Maturity Journey Score (MJS) of 3.0 (out of a maximum of 4.0), reflecting work accomplished across our strategy’s first two years and reflecting our minimum target for all sites.  Looking forward, we expect facilities to continue their EHS maturity journey, pursuing further standardization of leading practices and processes across our operations and staff locations.

EHS Management System

Kimberly-Clark’s integrated EHS Management System, modeled on the ISO 14001 and 45001 Management Systems, is implemented in all our operating facilities, with special attention to our manufacturing facilities. Our integrated system helps enable a standardized and efficient approach to management of EHS within our operations.

Kimberly-Clark does not mandate certification to the ISO management system standards. However, our integrated EHS Management System effectively supports sites that seek to pursue third-party certification. To date, 20% of our manufacturing facilities have obtained third-party certification to the ISO 14001 standard for Environmental Management.

Key elements of our approach to EHS Management at our operating facilities:

  • EHS Management System: policy, organization, planning, and implementation of a control plan
  • EHS performance standards: specific requirements for managing our significant EHS aspects and achieving and demonstrating compliance
  • EHS maturity engagements (diagnostics): initial assessments completed by internal (and, in some cases, external) EHS professionals to understand a facility’s EHS maturity level, including verification that the six EHS Leadership Imperatives are implemented and gap closures plans developed to close non-conformities
  • EHS Improvement planning: Gap closure to address non-conformities and improve EHS maturity

Enterprise Risk Management

Kimberly-Clark’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework is designed to identify, assess, and

mitigate risks that can materially impact the company’s financial results and reputation. Environmental as well as climate change risks are integrated into our ERM framework.

The ERM framework is supported by:

  • An enterprise risk assessment that collects inputs of key internal stakeholders, with individual risks assigned to risk owners who develop and maintain mitigation plans
  • A Global Risk Oversight Committee composed of executive leadership, which provides oversight and direction for the company’s ERM program
  • Processes to monitor for emerging risks, including dialogue with peers and consultants

Pollution Control

As part of our commitment to complying with all applicable environmental laws and regulations, we assure that our facilities have appropriate pollution control devices in place to protect the environment. We also leverage our Environment Health & Safety (EHS) Management System and maturity model to assure the pollution control devices operate within specified ranges to maintain regulatory requirements.


Reducing Waste in Our Operations

We understand the value of the materials in our product and packaging categories and seek secondary, beneficial uses of these materials. We are committed to seeking opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste streams of all types from our facilities. We strive to continuously improve our processes and implement innovative solutions for beneficial re-use.

Kimberly-Clark has established a goal to achieve zero waste to landfill by 2022 across all our operations, including manufacturing facilities, offices, warehouses, and distribution centers.[1] NAt local facilities, waste inventories are being created which catalog each waste stream’s composition, quantity, consistency, and handling practices. This process helps identify opportunities for a secondary beneficial use for hard-to-divert waste streams.

[1] Excludes major construction and demolition debris as well as regulated or mandated disposal methods

You can see our operational waste data here.

Emergency Preparedness

Kimberly Clark requires all sites to have a documented Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Plan and Program that includes the following key elements:

  • Program coordinator: assignment of a person to serve as the site Emergency Coordinator
  • Incident command structure: implementation of a site incident command structure that establishes a clear emergency chain of command during actual emergencies
  • Emergency identification, risk assessment, and pre-planning: Implementation of a process for the identification and assessment of potential emergency events to determine EHS risks and necessary emergency pre-planning
  • A functional emergency alarm system: designed, maintained, and tested periodically according to manufacturer, GRM, and EHS regulatory requirements
  • Adequate emergency evacuation routes and exits: required for each area; must be clearly marked and provided with adequate emergency lighting, with direct unobstructed access maintained at all times
  • Documented emergency response plan: implemented in all sites, with clear roles and responsibilities and specific emergency response procedures
  • Process for scheduling, conducting, and evaluating periodic drills: a post-event assessment and a continuous improvement process are required, analyzing the feedback from drills and actual incidents and developing improvement plans if needed

Published July 2022