Barbie drops rainforest packaging and recycles instead

Toy giant Mattel, the company behind Barbie, is to stop buying paper and packaging linked to rainforest destruction following a global campaign by Greenpeace.

Mattel has instructed its suppliers to avoid wood fiber from companies “that are known to be involved in deforestation.” One such company is the Asia Pulp & Paper group (APP), which Greenpeace investigators have shown to be involved in widespread rainforest clearance in Indonesia.

Using a combination of research and forensic testing, 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.

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

Mattel’s new policy also includes safeguards against buying wood fiber from tree plantations established in areas where natural forests once stood. It also aims to increase the amount of recycled paper used in its business, as well as boost the use of wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

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 APP 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.”

Maitar added that Greenpeace will be watching Mattel closely to ensure it implements its commitments, and will encourage other companies such as Disney and Hasbro to take similar action.

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.

Maxine Perella

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