Barbie Dumps Deforestation!

Toy company commits to drop rainforest packaging

Feature story - October 5, 2011
Toy giant Mattel, the company behind Barbie, announced today that it will stop buying paper and packaging linked to rainforest destruction -- this follows a global we have running over the course of the year.

As part of its new commitments, Mattel is instructing its suppliers to avoid wood fiber from companies “that are known to be involved in deforestation.”

One such company is the notorious Asia Pulp and Paper group (APP), which Greenpeace investigators have shown to be involved in widespread rainforest clearance in Indonesia.

Responding to the news, Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s campaign to save the forests in Indonesia, said:

“The rainforests of Indonesia should be for species like the Sumatran tiger, not for throw-away toy packaging. That’s why it is such good news that Mattel has developed a new paper buying policy.

“This is more evidence for Asia Pulp and Paper that rainforest destruction is bad for business.  Golden Agri-Resources, a sister company to APP, has already committed to clean up its act and has won back lucrative contracts.  Now APP must do the same.

In the last two weeks the Greenpeace “tiger eye tour” has been documenting continued forest destruction by APP.

“While Greenpeace will watch Mattel closely to ensure it implements its commitments, we will encourage other companies, including Disney and Hasbro, to take similar action to protect rainforests.”

Action at Mattel in Australia

Greenpeace activists converged at Mattel's Melbourne Headquarters dressed as endangered Sumatran tigers while a "Barbie" activist wielded a pink chainsaw. The action followed revelations that the packaging for Mattel's "Barbie" doll, the most famous toy in the world, is produced using pulp from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger. © Rodney Dekker / Greenpeace

Roots of the Barbie Campaign

Using a combination of research and forensic testing, Greenpeace investigators showed that packaging for the Mattel toys was being produced using timber from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger.

Greenpeace activists dressed as “Ken” dolls abseiled down Mattel’s headquarters in Los Angeles in June, hanging a giant banner which read “Barbie: It’s Over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation”.

Mattel's Commitments

Mattel’s new policy also includes safeguards against buying wood fiber from tree plantations established in areas where natural forests once stood.  The conversion of rainforests to pulp tree plantations is a leading driver of deforestation in Indonesia.

Their policy also aims to increase the amount of recycled paper used in their business, as well as to boost the use of wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction in the world. The Indonesian government estimates that more than one million hectares of rainforests are being lost every year.

And in Africa?

More locally, our efforts to stop logging and the destruction of the Congo's rainforests have also taken an exciting turn.

This week we launched the "Future of Forests" poetry competition, calling on youths in forest communities to write poetry about the importance of forests in their lives.

We are currently visiting forest communities in the Congo Basin, mobilising the youth to speak out and voice their concerns about the logging that is destroying their heritage.

Click here for more info.