Barbie World: No Trees

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Children all over the world have grown up with Barbie dolls. Either its rock star Barbie, tour guide Barbie, doctor Barbie. For years Barbie has been come under attack for trying to influence the way little girls see themselves. It is criticized that many teenagers become anorexic as to look like their favorite Barbie dolls.

Now Barbie is under attack not for its physique but for its packaging. Cardboard packaging for the dolls are materials from Indonesians hardwood trees. Greenpeace said on Wednesday it had evidence that Barbie doll packaging comes from Indonesian rainforests, 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 abseiled down the side of Mattel headquarters near Los Angeles to unfurl a banner saying Barbie packaging contributes to rainforest 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 rainforests and pushing critically-endangered wildlife, like tigers, orang-utans and elephants towards extinction,” said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s campaign to save the forests in Indonesia, in Jakarta The habitat of the Sumatran tiger is under threat from rainforest destruction for pulp and paper

“Mattel, which makes Barbie, must stop wrapping the world’s most famous toy in rainforest destruction,” he added.


Greenpeace said its investigators used forensic testing that showed Barbie’s packaging comes from Indonesian rainforests. 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 and Paper (APP), which Greenpeace accuses of destroying rainforests.

At least a dozen Barbie lines made by Mattel may be affected. Barbies including the Swim ‘n’ Dance Mermaid sell for up to ?25 in the UK. Other Mattel toys such as Snow White may also be involved.

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.

The organization is inviting people, who do care about environment and are sure that ?creating the future of play, shouldn?t mean no future for rainforests,? to watch a video featuring Ken. During the interview, Barbie?s toy boyfriend finds out that she spent last weekend on shoot?no, it wasn?t a photo session, it was almost an actual shoot in the Indonesian rainforest, where the lovely doll was killing animals by hacking down trees in the area, which is home Sumatran tigers, orangutans and elephants?all that was done to get resources for cheaper packaging. On discovering that, Ken dumped the girl. Greenpeace also created a hub for the angry guy on its Facebook page, where everyone can learn about the tragedy of the iconic couple in the toy world.

Critical wildlife habitat and carbon-rich rainforests and peatlands are being wrecked for cheap, throw-away toy packaging.

Save the trees

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 rainforest 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.

Barbie seems to be living in her world of plastic, oblivious to the plight of the world.

It?s our duty to safe guard our children?s future. Let?s join hands with Greenpeace to save our plant.

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