Ken dumps Barbie! He doesn't date girls who are into deforestation

Posted by jamie — 7 June 2011 at 5:22pm - Comments

Heard the news? Ken has dumped Barbie! It's true, and not because the plastic princess has been spotted in the company of certain premier league footballers. No, it's much more serious than that. Get this: Barbie is destroying Indonesia's forests for those pretty pink boxes she likes to wrap herself in. You can't blame Ken. As you can see in the video above, he's just seen the results of the latest Greenpeace investigation which shows how Barbie is threatening the future of endangered species and the stability of our climate. The paper used in Barbie boxes – like palm oil which we've campaigned about in the past - comes straight from the rainforests of Indonesia, home to rapidly vanishing creatures such as orang-utans, and Sumatran tigers and elephants.

Ok, maybe it isn't all Barbie's fault. Mattel, the company behind the malevolent mannequin, is the one responsible and our global investigation has uncovered the links between Mattel and our old friends, the notorious Asia Pulp and Paper (APP). Which is why activists dressed as Ken have scaled Mattel's headquarters in Los Angeles, while Greenpeace volunteers are outside the UK head office in Maidenhead.

By analysing the fibres in Barbie packaging and digging into the commercial links between various companies, we've been able to link the carbon-rich forests and peatlands of Indonesia with the packaging of toys on sale in shops around the world. The trail leads directly from Mattel to APP and its suppliers in a chain of destruction that spans the globe.

Love her or loathe her, Barbie has been part of the cultural landscape for over 50 years and she's all about aspiration – the various careers she's dabbled in, not to mention the accompanying wardrobe and accessories, are evidence of that. But is it really every young girl's dream to be responsible for clearing areas of priceless rainforest, accelerating climate change thanks to the resulting emissions and threatening endangered species?

Take the Sumatran tiger, for instance. Only 400 or so are thought to remain in the wild, and their habitat is shrinking. Vital forested areas have been earmarked by the Indonesian government for clearance to establish industrial plantations, and, despite their environmental value, they're not protected by the recent (and rather limited) moratorium on forest clearance. So APP pulpwood suppliers are still targeting and clearing some of Sumatra's most ecologically important forests, including those designated as a priority for tiger conservation.

It isn't just Mattel though. Other toy companies are involved as well, and we have evidence on Disney, Hasbro and Lego too. Some of their branded merchandise also contains the same mixed tropical hardwood fibre which is only produced on a commercial scale by two companies in Indonesia, one of which is APP.

And none of these toy companies have effective policies in place which would exclude products from companies linked to deforestation from their supply chains. After our successful campaign last year, Nestlé began work on just such a policy, joining other major names such as Unilever, Kraft, Adidas and Tesco.

APP is part of the Sinar Mas group which seems to be undergoing a schizophrenic crisis just now. On the one hand, there's APP: still committed to rampant deforestation (its clumsy PR spin machine has even admitted that). On the other, there's the palm oil division Golden Agri Resources - just a few months ago, it announced an environmental policy which, if followed through, could ensure that its palm oil operation has no deforestation footprint. The two couldn't be more different, and yet they're part of the same conglomerate.

Will this particular toy story have a happy ending? That's up to you. Email Bob Eckert, Mattel's CEO, and tell him (and Barbie) to stop destroying rainforests for their cheap toy packaging.

  Please stop this stupid destroying rainforests!

I told you she was a bitch Ken! Save the tigers and orang utans!!!

How about a milk shake sometime...LOL


Awful to use forest wood for such a nasty dolls !

Barbie how could u do that!!!! u disappointed me!!! 

Appalled to learn that paper derived from rainforests is being used in packaging that is not necessary in your toy products  !!   Loss of this habitat is resulting in loss of orangutans and sumatran tigers  - both endangered species. Loss of trees also results in release of carbon dioxide, fuelling climate change.  Why not become green and ditch the packaging altogether ??



Not that I would buy a barbie for my kids anyway but there are so many around-if you had to get one, why not but one from a charity shop/carboot instead? Cheaper, no packaging and money will go to a better place. Note to Ken- I hear Cindy is available.

sorry maybe you could stop cutting down forests for your newsletter made of PAPER!!!!!

I have an idea, use recycled paper. O-they do that already! DOH

As a little girl i loved barbie... very disapointed that little girls are now unknowingly endorsing deforestation and the destruction of the habbitat of endangered species. Cut down on throw away packaging, and for what wood based packaging is left switch to recycled paper or at least softwood trees that come from renewable forests!

Ken- Good one mate, you've done us proud! :) x

One cannot say, stop manufacturing these yoys. There just has to be another way to produce them.

Way to go Ken, you've finally grown some balls !!

No barbie why are you doing that... it's completly amazing...

very nice picture :) i love it



    nintendo wii u. c'est lors de l'e3 que nintendo nous a présenté sa wii u qui vient donc remplacer la wii pour vous offrir une nouvelle façon de jouer.

So Ken's packaging doesn't contain any Indonesian hardwood?

It might do. We don't know. But Barbie's definitely does.

why blame barbie??.. ken is just as BAD !!!!!!!!!!!!

Barbie's more famous?

Think Posh Spice, before Beckham finally cracked it as a football player, and/or it isn't reallly Barbie that's to blame (she is after all a plastic doll), but Mattel who are responsible for sourcing packaging products from irresponsible suppliers who are responsible for rainforest destruction.

Ah! Barbie how could you. Hearing this my heart breaks and i feel completley shattered.

Its a good idea, but seriously since when do kids have an english degree. It's take that to understand whats written. A good ide, but you need to think a bit.

Its sick how companys like mattel think they can get away with killing off innocent animals just so that they can sell a crappy doll.

Kens wrapped in rainforest packaging too. As usual women get blamed for everything :) Good campaign, got my attention and hopefully the rest of the world too. 

Has it ever occurred to you that if the people of Indonesia are content to have their country's forests cut down for sale, it really doesn't matter how many companies you persuade to stop accepting it, because there will always be others prepared to take it provided the price on offer is economic? The problem, assuming for the purposes of the discussion that there is one, is on the supply side of the equation, not the demand.

 ...Or I could just post another 'why-oh-why' hand-waving response, which would doubtless make me more popular in these parts.

I have to disagree - companies aren't going to produce products for which there is no market. A gap in the market only exists if there's profit in it.

Innocent animals and a very large part of our planet are being killed so Mattel can sell a few pieces of plastic? I'm very disappointed.

stop Barbie no i hate you Barbie go Ken


Well done Ken... You did the right thing!

Dear D.M.B,

Many villagers depend on the land for sustainably harvesting Acacia. The land they depend on is handed down generation to generation. Asia Pulp and Paper come in, take the land, clear it, drain it and make it worthless and the only compensation they give is to say, we will employ you in our company. It's appalling! These small villages in Indonesia are without a voice - we can be their voice for a better future. You may think that's just "why-o-why" hand raising but we are also writing to companies like Mattel and asking them to make a difference. Which has worked with many other companies in the past. If you don't believe what's written here, why not watch 'Paper/Tiger' - a 30 minutes doco by ABC's Foreign Correspondent.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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