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Product Quality & Safety

Product Quality & Safety

Product Quality & Safety

The well-being of our consumers is our highest priority, which is why it is our policy to deliver products that meet all regulatory requirements and meet or exceed consumer expectations. Our aspiration is to use the safest ingredients, as defined by a science-based approach to product safety and provide open and transparent details about those ingredients.

Kimberly-Clark recognizes our responsibility to respond to growing customer and regulatory pressure over the use of substances of concern to the environment and human health. To remain competitive in the market, it is essential that we position ourselves to anticipate the evolving regulatory landscape and hold our processes and product testing to a high standard. We believe these efforts will help us build trust with consumers, capture market share, and avoid costs from associated regulatory burdens.

Product Safety & Quality Policies and Management Systems

Kimberly-Clark expects every one of our businesses, functions, and facilities to align with our Quality Policy, which defines the principles that guide how we design, manufacture, and deliver safe, high-quality products across every brand. Our corporate Quality Management System sets our internal standards and aligns with industry best practices, the varying regulatory expectations of the nations and regions in which we operate, and the internationally recognized ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 quality standards.

Our approach is supported by meticulous internal and independent safety evaluations designed to ensure the quality and safety of all our products. To enable product safety analysis and support regulatory compliance, Kimberly-Clark proactively gathers chemical composition information for each raw material used in manufacturing (including confidential disclosures from suppliers) and checks them against legally restricted substances relevant to the product form and country of sale. Senior management is responsible for overseeing compliance across these stringent requirements, which drives continuous improvement and helps promote Kimberly-Clark products that are safe and effective for consumers. Efforts at our individual facilities are also supported by on-site quality assurance systems.

Kimberly-Clark uses a “Right First Time” process that is intended to capture data on a product’s whole supply chain, from materials procurement and manufacturing to warehousing, distribution, and point-of-sale quality/appearance. We also provide a single end-of-pipe metric intended to create accountability that every aspect of getting that product to the end-user is done right, the first time and every time.

Our Product Safety Policy lays out our commitments in three key areas:

  1. Management Accountability: Our business unit presidents are responsible for promoting the safety of our products and services, from initial introduction to ongoing reviews for regulatory compliance and alignment with public safety expectations.
  2. Safety Assessments: Our products undergo safety assessments by qualified experts, in accordance with international standards of human health risk.
  3. Chemical Management: Safety and environmental data is carefully collected and used to develop business strategies for reducing, restricting, or eliminating chemicals of concern and advancing safer alternatives.

Ingredients Transparency, Marketing, & Labeling

When consumers choose our instantly recognizable brands, they’re trusting our commitment to safety—which starts by using safe materials and sending our products through our robust Product Safety Analysis. We are committed to transparency, sharing our practices and providing ingredient information that is clear, reliable, and accessible.

Over the past several years we have created greater transparency for family care, tissue and formulated professional products in the North American market, through our Kimberly-Clark Ingredients website. In 2021 we accelerated progress by improving global communication of product ingredients, and now disclose information on priority regional products such as baby care products in South America and personal care wet wipes in South America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Our brands are also supporting our disclosure efforts, and in 2021 North American feminine care brands added ingredient disclosures to their websites. Our long-term plan calls for disclosing all our ingredient information worldwide, giving consumers the additional data they desire to help them make smart, informed choices through our Kimberly-Clark Ingredients website and our brand websites.

Managing Emerging Materials & Chemicals of Concern

Over the past several years, we’ve aligned with emerging public and/or scientific consensus on ingredients of concern by prohibiting the use of microbeads, triclosan, and nonylphenol ethoxylates from Kimberly-Clark products, and by focusing on the removal of parabens and phenoxyethanol from our baby wipes. In 2020 we joined the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), a multi-stakeholder collaborative that drives the commercial adoption of green chemistry by catalyzing and guiding action across industries, sectors, and supply chains.

In addition, we maintain a Restricted Substances List to provide a consistent, global approach to help safeguard our consumers and the environment from exposure to ingredients of potential concern.

Published July 2022