Barbie Ends Troubled Relationship With Deforestation

Photo courtesy of Greenpeace.

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

Barbie is moving her dream house out of the Indonesian rainforest. On Wednesday, Mattel announced that it will stop using paper products from companies “that are known to be involved in deforestation.” This comes after a major Greenpeace campaign to convince the toy giant to ditch problematic packaging, specifically paper from the company Asia Pulp & Paper.

Mattel has issued new “sustainable sourcing principles” which include maximizing their use of post-consumer recycled content, avoiding fibers from “controversial sources,” and increasing the use of third-party certified sustainable products.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace conducted testing on packaging for Barbie, one of Mattel’s best-known products, and found that the fibers came from the environmentally fragile Indonesian rainforest. The group also dinged Mattel for using products from Asia Pulp & Paper, “a pulp and paper company notorious for destroying Indonesian rainforests, including the habitat of the endangered Sumatran tiger.” Other major US companies, like Staples, Office Depot, and Target, had already stopped using paper products from the company. (Our own Kiera Butler has also blogged about APP’s ties to tea party groups.)

As the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday, Mattel has now joined the ranks of companies shunning APP:

Mattel spokesperson Jules Andres said the company this summer directed its suppliers “to not source paper and pulp from Asia Pulp & Paper. She said Mattel’s new policy “directs our printers not to contract with controversial sources,” and that Mattel considers Asia Pulp & Paper “a controversial source.”

It’s a big win for Greenpeace, which ran a major campaign that featured Ken breaking up with Barbie because, he said, “I don’t date girls that are into deforestation”:

UPDATE: An APP spokesman sent along this response to Mattel’s decision to drop the company, on behalf of sustainability and public outreach manager Ian Lifshitz. The response doesn’t really rebut concerns about the company’s practices:

Asia Pulp & Paper applauds Mattel’s commitments to recycling, wood legality, protection of High Conservation Value Forest, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and robust auditing and certification procedures. These principles very much mirror AP’’s philosophy and environmental commitments and we are delighted to see a major global toy manufacturer adopt the same.

APP supports all credible industry certification, however, we strongly urge companies to not limit their procurement policies to one standard, in this case FSC, which discriminates against products from Indonesia and other developing markets. APP supports policies that protect both the environment and the vital income which developing countries receive from the pulp & paper industries.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate