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Carroll School of Management

Thomas J. Falk

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Kimberly-Clark Corporation

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston

April 3, 2014

TAKEAWAY: Essentials for a Better Life

We’re also trying to find new, innovative ways to make our products that are better for the environment. We’re experimenting with plantation-grown bamboo as a substitute for forests and for other tree-based products, so that we won’t have as big of an impact on the carbon shield that the trees provide. 

And we find that to be incredibly motivating for our employees. Our people really resonate. And their engagement builds when they find companies that are doing the right things and giving back to the community. 

We’re also doing things behind our brands to give back in locations around the world. So we’ve got a program in the U.S. called Every Little Bottom behind our Huggies business, because low-income moms can’t always get diapers. And so we’ve donated more than 100 million diapers to diaper banks and set up the first national diaper bank so that low-income moms can get the products that they need to care for their families.

In other markets, the essentials for a better life means something else. So in Africa, we’re working on a project called Malaria No More, in combination with the Gates Foundation, to try to eliminate malaria, which is a leading cause of infant death in that part of the world. 

We’re also working with companies like Unilever. They’ve created a new organization called the Toilet Board, because you would be shocked at the number of people in the world that have no access to sanitary toilet facilities. 

And that, in and of itself, is a big problem for lots of things. It causes a lot of disease. It actually causes women to stop going to school. If that school doesn’t have a sanitary toilet facility, once the girls reach puberty, they quit going to school. 

And so, all of these kinds of simple things that we take for granted don’t yet exist in the emerging markets, and we’re trying to be part of a solution to not just go there and bring them great products and great brands, but to also bring them the other essentials for a better life along the way that help.