How We Engage Our Stakeholders
Stakeholder engagement plays a vital role in achieving the sustainability goals under Kimberly-Clark's Global Business Plan 2015.
Our stakeholders give us valuable insights into our products and operating processes and provide guidance on our progress and ambitions. While the majority of our engagements are positive, some conversations are challenging. We welcome both forms of feedback to help us understand the concerns of NGOs, consumers and customers, communities as a whole, investors and employees.
In 2010, we began an internal process of mapping our stakeholders and determining engagement priorities and methodologies, as well as implementation and monitoring strategies. This effort has led us to identify and engage NGOs that are thought leaders on fiber and social issues in emerging markets. It also helped us to identify local NGOs in certain emerging markets that could aid in the development and implementation of our signature programs for water-resource development and increasing access to our essential health and hygiene products for people in need.
Our engagement takes many forms—from one-way information channels, to consumer and customer research, to solution-sharing dialogues with environmental organizations, to funding and implementation partnerships with humanitarian organizations.
Key stakeholder groups and methods of engagement include:
Consumers: Marketing and promotions, cause-related campaigns, product labeling, consumer satisfaction surveys, consumer focus groups, websites, social media, social media communities, and telephone and direct mail feedback
Employees: Employee engagement survey, employee recognition programs, diversity and inclusion affinity groups, and sustainability communities of practice
Communities: Local media, community and volunteer programs, philanthropy, community partners and matching gifts programs, and community and/or government meetings
Suppliers: Sustainability guide for suppliers, risk assessments, social compliance standards and fiber supplier audits
NGOs and other interest groups: Sustainability report, direct engagement and joint initiatives
Customers: Innovation showcases, product innovation educational sessions, product pilot programs, and senior shopper training
Shareholder and Investment Community: Annual report (10-K), investor website, public SEC filings, ratings, indices and questionnaires, investor and shareholder meetings, analyst-sponsored conferences and distribution of our sustainability report
We highlight a selection of our stakeholder engagements and initiatives in the following pages, as well as elsewhere in this report. In the Quality & Safety section of this site, we discuss our 2011 product recalls and related protocol.
Listening to Consumers
We invite consumers, those shoppers who buy our products in stores and online, to share their opinions and suggestions in a number of ways: on Web chat and email, through online communities on social media channels, by toll-free phone and by mail. Kimberly-Clark's Consumer Services Team engaged with nearly 700,000 consumers in 2011. Kimberly-Clark employees respond to consumer complaints and provide information on the nature of complaints to internal compliance officers and business management. In 2011, Kimberly-Clark conducted 14,000 consumer satisfaction surveys in North America and Australia. More than 96 percent of consumers responded favorably regarding their experience with our Consumer Services Teams, while 92 percent of consumers indicated their intent to purchase Kimberly-Clark products in the future.
Listening to Customers
We value our business customers and strive to play an indispensable role in helping them achieve their sustainability goals. Throughout our global operations, we provide opportunities to work directly with our customers through forums and innovation summits that help us in our product and service innovation.
Kimberly-Clark played a major role in formalizing a partnership between two customer-driven sustainability efforts. As a member of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global industry network of more than 400 retailers and manufacturers, and a founding member of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), an organization developing science and integrated tools to support informed decision-making for product sustainability across the consumer goods industry, we helped establish a joint program on a global approach to measuring and communicating product lifecycles. We are also actively involved in the Paper Working Group at CGF, collaborating with environmental groups to harmonize forest-certification schemes and to support the goal of zero net deforestation by 2020.
In September 2011, Kimberly-Clark joined two dozen leading U.S. vendors at a Sustainability Summit sponsored by the U.S. operations of Ahold. The Summit served as the first step in exploring collaborative corporate responsibility efforts. Breakout sessions focused on such issues as packaging and transportation, as well as health and wellness, hunger relief and food waste.
We periodically conduct educational sessions with major customers to discuss emerging sustainability trends and consumer insights in the paper products category, as well as Kimberly-Clark's goals and commitment to increasing the sustainability of our products. For example, in 2011, we met with representatives from Walgreens to engage in product innovation pilots and education initiatives related to aging trends and their impact on retailers. We also integrated our products into a national Walgreens' initiative to drive awareness and education for caregivers of an aging population. In another collaboration, we worked with Sam's Club in the U.S. to improve supply chain efficiencies. We were able to replace corrugate with poly packaging for our Depend brand adult care product lines and optimize the shipping footprints of Scott brand tissue, Huggies brand diapers and Pull-Ups brand training pants. These initiatives resulted in fewer trucks on the road, reduced shipping costs for Kimberly-Clark and our customer and decreases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
In Europe, we regularly integrate sustainability into customer top-to-top sessions and innovation days. For example, after Sainsbury's launched its new "20 by 20" sustainability vision, Kimberly-Clark used an innovation session to demonstrate how our sustainability strategy could be mutually beneficial for this key retailer. We also collaborated with Tesco, sharing information about the carbon footprint of our product ranges and operations, as part of understanding their commitment to reduce the product impacts by 30 percent. Our work in Europe was recognized by a key private-label customer, Coop Italia, in its Coop for Kyoto project. Out of 101 companies, Kimberly-Clark won first place by delivering 10,000 tons of CO2 savings in three years through our Alanno mill in Italy.
Kimberly-Clark Taiwan launched a "green" campaign in collaboration with Unilever and Carrefour Taiwan. All three companies produced joint promotional materials featuring global environmental issues and sustainable activities. The results of the campaign included a positive perception of the companies' environmental responsibility, a strengthening of the business partnership among the three companies and increased sales from the previous year.