Barbie gets dumped in London

Posted by jamie — 8 June 2011 at 12:14pm - Comments

The Barbie campaign has been unwrapped and is rolling around the world. Everyone's waking up to the fact that, as the Sun so eloquently put it, Barbie kills trees.

It kicked off with a group of Kens abseiling down the front of Mattel's head office in Los Angeles, draping a banner expressing Ken's outrage at what his on-off girlfriend has been up to on her sojourns to the tropics. With packaging made from Indonesia's rainforests, she's not doing endangered species like orang-utans and Sumatran tigers any favours, not to mention the damage being done to the climate.

Our own Mattel outpost in Maidenhead was paid a visit by orang-utans, tigers and activists (oh my!), plus early this morning we put up our own lovesick note from Ken next to the most famous advertising space in the country, Piccadilly Circus (see the video above). It's usually messages of endearment which are broadcast on the scrolling displays above the statue of Anteros, god of requited love, but this time it's more like hate mail.

There's also the similar posters appearing all over the bus and tube network in London.

Mattel has been quick to throw its toys out of the pram, telling the LA Times that, "we are surprised and disappointed that [Greenpeace] have taken this inflammatory approach." To which I would say it's a shame that Mattel hasn't taken better care over where it gets its packaging from.

Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which supplies some of Mattel's packaging materials, and whose suppliers are responsible for removing vast areas of rainforest, has also issued a statement. Despite APP's recent history of PR greenwash based on skewed logic, it's still a marvellous piece of work.

It reiterates the claim that APP has 'set the goal of 100% sustainable plantation pulp by 2015.' But turn that around, and (as Andy pointed out a while back) it means the company is reliant on rainforest timber for at least the next few years, yet APP dismisses our investigative evidence as 'meaningless'. And APP claim that there is no 'high conservation forest (HCV) harvested for pulpwood production.' So why doesn't APP show us the independent evidence that proves this. Perhaps because there isn't any?

Again, APP (or more likely its PR agency Cohn & Wolfe) is in some serious denial of reality here.

As its customers continue to distance themselves from deforestation, APP is going to realise that having its suppliers destroying vital tiger habitat and accelerating climate change are not the ingredients for long-lasting relationships. Just as Ken and Barbie have discovered.

So send an email to Mattel – it's time Barbie stopped toying with Indonesia's rainforests.

About Jamie

I'm one of the editors of the website, and I do a lot of work on the Get Active section, as well as doing web stuff for the forests campaign. I've worked for Greenpeace since 2006 and, coming from a background as a freelance writer and web producer, it's been something of an education to be part of a direct action organisation. I'm from Cumbria originally but now I live in north London - I came to study here and somehow have never left.

My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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