Originally published July 13 2011
Barbie products destroy the rainforest, charges environmental group
by Sally Oaken
(Natural News) Some of the greatest environmental damage caused by deforestation takes place as a result of excessive and reckless use of timber for product packaging material. The list of corporations who are guilty of maintaining indiscriminate relationships with paper suppliers is long, and now a new name has been added: Barbie.
Early in June, Greenpeace launched an official protest against Mattel, the maker of Barbie, for its irresponsible ties to packaging supplier, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). APP is considered notorious for its wanton destruction of ancient Indonesian rainforest ecosystems, which provide refuge for fragile species like orangutans and Sumatran tigers.
Greenpeace Indonesian Forest campaigner Bustar Maitar spoke on behalf of the organization. "Barbie destroys natural forests and pushes rare species such as tigers to the brink of extinction," he said.
"APP is bad news for Indonesia's forests. It treats Indonesia as nothing more than a vast disposable asset," Maitar said.
"Mattel and other toy companies... have a responsibility to support clean, low carbon development. They should drop APP right now and instead support responsible Indonesian producers."
Indonesia is known as the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world, mainly through coal mines, palm oil plantations and deforestation generated by the timber industry.
Mattel has responded to the allegations by posting a letter to Greenpeace on the group's website, claiming it "generally" works with Indonesian paper suppliers who recommend products that have been sustainably harvested. But Greenpeace has insisted on stronger action and more careful scrutiny of suppliers, claiming the policy is far too weak.
The parent company of APP, a paper pulp and palm oil giant called Sigur Mas, has been charged previously with accusations of environmental irresponsibility. Unilever, Kraft and Nestle have all removed Sinar Mas affiliates from their list of palm oil suppliers, and Carrefour, Staples and Office Depot have stopped buying or selling paper products connected to APP.
APP claimed it was "shocked" by the Greenpeace allegations. "We are proud to use recycled paper and we are trying to promote the use of recycled paper," said APP managing director for sustainability, Aida Greenbury. But Greenpeace and responsible consumers are not satisfied.
"Sumatran tigers, elephants and orangutans are being pushed to the brink of extinction because Mattel simply isn't interested in the origins of Barbie's pink box," says Greenpeace executive director Phil Radford.
"(Companies like Mattel) need strict rules to prevent rainforest destruction from contaminating their toys."
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