Kimberly-Clark Celebrates 150 Years of Purpose-Led Innovation
Kimberly-Clark is marking the 150th anniversary of the company’s first product sold and celebrating its ongoing leadership in category defining innovation that led the company to create five of the categories it competes in, and introduce products and technologies that make a difference in the lives of billions of people each day.
“For 150 years, our team has transformed insights into new categories and products that have made a difference in the lives of billions of people around the world,” said Mike Hsu, Chairman and CEO of Kimberly-Clark. “Our commitment to help people with their most essential needs remains core to how we deliver meaningful innovation and bring to life our purpose of Better Care for a Better World.”
The company’s first sale was a stack of writing paper produced from recycled rags and linens at its newly opened Globe Mill in Neenah, Wisconsin on October 22, 1872. By the early 1900’s, Kimberly-Clark began to evolve its operations from a pulp and paper company to a personal care company as it introduced trusted brands such as Kotex®, Kleenex®, Huggies® and Depend® that are now an essential part of daily life for billions around the world.
The launch of the Kotex brand in 1920 was a pivotal moment, as Kimberly-Clark launched the modern feminine hygiene category with new-to-the-world products that also brought the promise of new opportunities for women. However, the subject of menstruation led publications to refuse advertising for the brand, and drug stores would stock Kotex pads out of sight. Today, the brand continues to work around the world to promote menstrual hygiene education, tackle social stigmas, and improve access to these essential products.
These challenges represent some of the unmet societal needs that Kimberly-Clark and its brands are working to address as part of a 10-year commitment to advance the well-being of 1 billion people in vulnerable and underserved communities by 2030.
In honor of the company’s 150th anniversary, Kimberly-Clark and the Kimberly-Clark Foundation announced three $150,000 grants to nonprofit organizations that work to improve the well-being of people around the world. Since its inception in 1952, the Foundation has provided over $440 million in financial support to targeted causes that align with the company’s social impact goals. In addition, Kimberly-Clark’s North American team donated a $150,000 grant to the Neenah Joint School District to be used to further STEM educational opportunities throughout the district.
As Kimberly-Clark looks ahead to future innovation and growth, it is working to find new ways to give consumers the essentials they need while safeguarding natural systems and the life they support. These ambitions are at the forefront of continued strategic investments in global research and the development of sustainable raw materials, alternative fibers, nonwovens materials science, intelligent washroom technologies and other benefit areas.
Innovation and advantaged technology have allowed Kimberly-Clark to bring more sustainable products to market, including 100% biodegradable baby wipes made with plant derived fibers, bath tissue made with 100% bamboo fiber and wrapped in recycled paper packaging, and reusables including new swim pants and period undies.
While consumer needs are at the center of Kimberly-Clark’s current efforts, it’s humanity-centric innovation that provides the inspiration for its global research and development teams to think about where the company might be in the next 150 years.
With a focus on affordability, accessibility, availability, and acceptability for a diverse array of people, Kimberly-Clark is working to create long-term, sustainable change and deliver on its purpose to create a better future for people around the world.