Aug 062009

The momentous news of a deal between Kimberly Clark and Greenpeace on sustainable forestry is one of the biggest responsible business moments of 2009. It demonstrates that there is never a deadlock so big that it can’t, with serious effort on both sides, be broken for the good of the planet. Both the company and the campaigners who had long attacked it had to shift positions quite significantly to end up fronting a joint press conference together in Washington D.C yesterday. And this great little You Tube clip shows how Greenpeace will mobilise all the people who joined its ‘Kleercut’ campaign over the years, to move with them in thanking Kimberly for making the commitments on the Boreal Forest, FSC certification and recycled fibre it has now announced. Wonderful news for forests, of course. And very bad news for the many paper and pulp companies that are years behind Kimberly Clark. To all the businesses who say reaching an accommodation with campaigners who invade your offices and plants is impossible, I say: rubbish. The significance of this extends well beyond forestry – it should remind all companies who think that doing deals with the likes of Greenpeace is a step too far that this deal proves quite the opposite. As someone who spends most of his time mediating on issues like this, these moments of true progress are the best reason to get out of bed in the morning – and make all the pain and setbacks along the way well worth it!