It's July so the last thing any sane person will be thinking about is Christmas. Not so for those in the toy business because, with only 165 shopping days to go, they're looking ahead to the festive season.
Take Hasbro, for instance. Today, product and marketing managers have been showing off the new lines for Christmas to retailers and journalists and we thought we'd pop along as well. The thing is, Hasbro has done very little in the way of developing a plan to cut rainforest fibre out of its toy packaging. Thank goodness our Santas and orang-utans were there to chivvy them along!
Mattel is still holding back on its promised sustainability policy and most of our efforts in this campaign are still focused on seeing it's delivered promptly. Yet this project has always been about moving the whole toy industry and while Mattel is the biggest, we've also been name-checking other players including Hasbro and Disney. This showcase of Hasbro's Christmas toys was just too good an opportunity to miss for a reminder that it's not just Mattel that needs to take action.
At the invite-only event in London, a team of Santas ran around distributing letters from concerned children which had been received at the North Pole. A similar sentiment was expressed in many of them: "Dear Santa, I don’t want any Hasbro toys because they are cutting down the rainforest and killing lots of animals."
Later, Mr Monopoly – Hasbro's mascot - told guests how pleased he is to be making money at the expense of tigers and orang-utans, and showered them with some of our special Monopoly money. And the icing on the Christmas cake, a forlorn and homeless orang-utan chained to a central pillar in the venue.
It certainly looks like we've trampled on Hasbro's tinsel and the successive waves of Santas and Monopoly men were ushered out with increasing speed. Meanwhile, Hasbro representatives denied there is a problem and handed out pages from their website. But compared to Hasbro's response when we launched this campaign, it doesn't say anything new.
Back then, Hasbro responded on its Facebook page to comments about where its packaging comes from, saying it has instructed its suppliers not to source from Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). On the surface that all seems great, but if the company was serious about completely removing links to deforestation from its products, it would need to implement a comprehensive policy to fix the problem.
Instead. Hasbro is relying on a weak sustainability announcement made last year which our evidence has shown doesn’t work to prevent rainforest fibres ending up in its supply chains and products.
Until Hasbro has a comprehensive policy with specific deadlines, famous toys like Transformers and the rest of Hasbro’s products still risk being wrapped in packaging made from rainforests.
Just last week Lego announced plans to deal with these issues across its supply chain, the first of the companies named in our evidence to do so. Hopefully we won't have to wait until Christmas to see the same results from Hasbro and Mattel.
And here's a quick video of the Santa invasion - apologies for the shaky camera work!
Photo: All rights reserved. Credit: Felix Clay/Greenpeace