Endangered tigers at risk as Barbie goes on rainforest spree

Press release - 8 June, 2011
June 9: Ken has dumped Barbie, the world's most famous toy, after shock revelations she is involved in Indonesian rainforest destruction.

Greenpeace activists in LA, dressed in tuxedos to mimic Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, scaled Mattel’s Los Angeles HQ yesterday with a giant banner which reads: “Barbie: It’s Over. I Don’t Date Girls That Are Into Deforestation.”

El Segundo police arrested eight protesters, including a woman dressed as Barbie in pink and blue Spandex, who was driving a bright pink bulldozer half a block from the scene. Fire trucks descended on the area, as it was cordoned off, and Mattel employees crowded around the windows, taking photos with cellphones.

Meanwhile, in London overnight, five Greenpeace climbers evaded security and scaled a building at the centre of Piccadilly before unveiling a huge billboard-style banner, featuring a large picture of Ken, Barbie’s on-off boyfriend, with: ‘Barbie, You’re Dumped. Girls That Threaten Furry Animals Make Me Sick.’ written on it.

In Finland, three activists dressed as Sumatran tigers prowled in front of a large pink banner reading "Barbaric". In Taiwan, Barbie attacked activists in tiger suits with a chainsaw outside a Toys R Us.

The guerrilla tactics follow revelations that the packaging for Barbie, 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.

Around the world, more than 30 Greenpeace offices including Australia have participated in the campaign, with a YouTube video showing Ken's distress at Barbie's callous behaviour and a Twitter account where a distraught Ken responds to Barbie's official tweets. The campaign, both online and off, will continue until Mattel agrees to switch to recycled and FSC-certified packaging.

Greenpeace investigators used forensic testing to reveal that Barbie’s packaging comes from Indonesia’s rainforests. They also used a combination of ‘on the ground’ investigation, mapping data and company certificates to show that Mattel, the makers of Barbie, along with other toy companies including Disney, are using packaging produced by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APP has been exposed many times for wrecking Indonesia’s rainforests to make products such as packaging.

Reece Turner, forests campaigner for Greenpeace Australia, said:

“Barbie is trashing rainforests and pushing critically endangered wildlife, like tigers, towards extinction. Barbie might be a fashionista, but wrapping herself in rainforest destruction and the death of Sumatran tigers is not pretty.

“Mattel must stop buying packaging from APP, a notorious rainforest destroyer which has been exposed many times for wrecking Indonesia’s rainforests to make throw-away packaging.”

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

“APP is bad news for Indonesia’s forests. It treats Indonesia as nothing more than a vast disposable asset, grabbing rainforests that are vital to forest communities. Mattel, and other toy companies like Disney, have a responsibility to support clean, low carbon development. They should drop APP right now and instead support responsible Indonesian producers.”

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 cleared every year.