Greenpeace accuses Barbie of destroying Indonesian rain forests
Toy manufacturers like Mattel and Disney are contributing to Indonesia's rapid deforestation by using toy packaging produced in the country.
Wed, Jun 08, 2011 at 05:47 AM
ACTIVISM: Greenpeace activists dressed as Ken dolls rappelled down the side of Mattel headquarters near Los Angeles to unfurl a banner saying Barbie packaging contributes to rain forest destruction. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
JAKARTA - Greenpeace said on Wednesday it had evidence that Barbie doll packaging comes from Indonesian rain forests, accusing toy manufacturers such as Mattel and Walt Disney Co. of contributing to the country's rapid deforestation.
On Tuesday, Greenpeace activists dressed as Ken dolls rappelled down the side of Mattel headquarters near Los Angeles to unfurl a banner saying Barbie packaging contributes to rain forest destruction.
The massive pink-and-blue sign on the Mattel building outside Los Angeles, featured a frowning Ken declaring: "Barbie, it's over. I don't date girls that are into deforestation."
"Barbie is trashing rain forests and pushing critically endangered wildlife, like tigers, toward extinction," said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace's campaign to save the forests in Indonesia.
"Mattel, which makes Barbie, must stop wrapping the world's most famous toy in rain forest destruction," he added.
Greenpeace said its investigators used forensic testing that showed Barbie's packaging comes from Indonesian rain forests.
Activists also used 'in country' investigation, mapping data and traced company certificates to show that Mattel, along with other toy companies including Disney, were using packaging produced by Indonesian paper firm Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), which Greenpeace accuses of destroying rain forests.
Mattel, the world's biggest toy company by revenue, said in a written statement released to Reuters in Los Angeles that it had been in communication with Greenpeace on a variety of paper sourcing issues.
It was not immediately clear what percentage of Mattel's paper packaging comes from APP.
Responding to Greenpeace, APP said its products meet the legal requirements for all countries, including Indonesia.
"It is our responsibility to adhere strictly with these laws, not to satisfy the unreasonable and groundless demands of a foreign-based NGO," the statement added.
"We believe it's irresponsible to play on the emotions of children and their parents to rehash old, discredited allegations in order to attack the industry of a developing nation."
APP added that the product attacked by Greenpeace contained 96 percent recycled material. The firm has set a goal of 100 percent sustainable plantation pulp wood by 2015.
Greenpeace said the activities in Los Angeles and Jakarta mark the start of a worldwide campaign to stop toy companies driving deforestation in Indonesia, where it said government estimates showed a million hectares was being cleared each year.
Indonesia is seen as a key player in the fight against climate change and is under intense international pressure to curb its rapid deforestation rate and destruction of carbon-rich peatlands.
Indonesia revealed a long list of exemptions to a two-year moratorium on logging in May, a concession to the hard-lobbying plantation industry in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
"Greenpeace is ... calling on the government of Indonesia to institute stronger measures to protect our last remaining natural forests and peatlands," said Zulfahmi, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forests Campaigner. "This should be followed by a review of existing concessions."
Last year, French retail giant Carrefour said it would stop buying certain products from APP citing concerns over environmental sustainability.
APP released an audit it said showed allegations it destroyed rain forest were baseless and invalid.
APP operates under the Sinar Mas brand, as does Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology, or SMART, which last year released an independent audit after Greenpeace alleged the company bulldozed high conservation value forests and damaged carbon-rich peatlands.
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)
Copyright 2011 Reuters Environmental Online Report