Hundreds of thousands join Barbie Rainforest destruction campaign, spark Facebook complaint

Feature story - June 10, 2011
Toronto — In less than 72 hours more than 700,000 people have viewed an online spoof video featuring the moment Ken discovers that Barbie is involved in rainforest destruction, and almost 200,000 have swamped Mattel’s offices with emails complaining about the company’s use of products from Indonesian rainforests to package toys like Barbie.

Barbie guerrilla banner in London © John Cobb / Greenpeace

The massive online protest has led to a formal complaint to Facebook about a frowning version of Ken’s face online. Greenpeace was today informed that some of its online materials have been ‘disapproved’ by Facebook ‘in response to an intellectual property complaint’.

The world’s largest toy company has failed to take the steps required to remove products linked with deforestation caused by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) from its supply chain. Mattel’s promised ‘investigation’ is inadequate and that without a tough new paper and packaging policy Mattel is continuing to force parents into buying products linked to the destruction of tropical rainforests.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are now involved in the campaign to get Barbie to drop rainforest destruction,” said Richard Brooks, Greenpeace Canada forest campaign coordinator. “But instead of listening, we’re now being silenced on Facebook.

Greenpeace insisted that its campaign would continue until Mattel introduces a tough policy to solve this problem. Mattel must drop Asia Pulp and Paper and introduce a policy for a permanent end to rainforest destructions in its products.

On Tuesday, Greenpeace revealed that packaging for Barbie is produced using timber from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger. At the same time, Greenpeace activists, dressed in tuxedos to mimic Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, scaled Mattel’s Los Angeles HQ with a giant banner saying: ‘Barbie: It’s Over. I Don’t Date Girls That Are Into Deforestation’.

Greenpeace investigators have shown packaging for Barbie and packaging of other toy companies, including Disney, Hasbro and Lego, uses packaging produced by Asia Pulp and Paper. APP has been exposed many times for wrecking Indonesia’s rainforests to make products such as packaging.

Since the revelations, Mattel has promised to investigate, but has given no indication that is has a policy to be used as the basis for this investigation.

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.

Barbie action page: help stop rainforest destruction: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada//barbie

More details on the Facebook complaint can be found here: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/campaign-blog/online-campaign-against-mattel-silenced-by-qu/blog/35241

A full dossier outlining the role of APP and Barbie in rainforest destruction is available here: www.greenpeace.org/app-toying-with-extinction

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