Barbie and Ken wreck the rainforest?

Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, may have been caught in an environmentally unfriendly act. Greenpeace has alleged the company is packaging its Barbie and Ken dolls in materials from Indonesian rainforests, reported The Los Angeles Times.

The environmental group has turned to social media to spread awareness of Mattel’s unsustainable packaging, posting a humorous video of Ken ditching Barbie due to her anti-rainforest behavior. Featured on YouTube and Greenpeace’s websites, the video has already netted more than 180,000 views and been translated into 18 languages.

With 2.8 million members, Greenpeace could mobilize serious action against the toy firm. Through the advocacy group’s websites, visitors can send a message to Mattel’s CEO and stay updated on the issue through Twitter.

Activists have already stirred up trouble for the Barbie-producing firm. After Facebook users posted unfriendly messages on Barbie’s fan page, Mattel decided to shut down commenting and eliminate any mention of rainforests on the site.

Mattel’s Twitter account @BarbieStyle and Facebook page (boasting 53,400 and 2.2 million followers respectively) have been remarkably silent the past few days. No new Facebook comments were displayed on the page so far this week.

However, other websites have been barraged with hilarious commentary. A search for @barbie on Twitter —likely a spoof site — will reveal posts such as “Yes, I participated in #Deforestation ... how else am I supposed to heat the ‘Dream House’? #Barbie.”

Greenpeace has also entered the game with its own humorous Twitter account, @ken_talks. Its first tweet: "Beach. Spa. Poolside cocktails. Just another Malibu weekend coming my way, boys and dolls!” It later followed with another: “Did you know there are only about 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild? Feel a bit sick.”

Although perhaps less in the spotlight, Indonesian rainforests are a critical refuge for many endangered species, such as tigers, leopards and elephants. Rainforest destruction also accounts for 15 percent of international carbon dioxide emissions, an issue believed to be causing climate change.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Mattel claimed, “Playing responsibly has long been an important part of Mattel’s business practices," and criticized Greenpeace for its "inflammatory approach."

On Wednesday, the company posted on its corporate Facebook page the following: "Mattel does not support deforestation nor does it contract directly with Sinar Mas/APP (the packaging company in question). We purchase packaging materials from a variety of suppliers and it is not the normal course of business to dictate where suppliers source materials.”

“That said, we have directed our packaging suppliers to stop sourcing pulp from Sinar Mas/APP as we investigate the deforestation allegations. Additionally, we have asked our packaging suppliers to clarify how they are addressing the broader issue in their own supply chains."

Greenpeace intends to continue its efforts until Mattel demonstrates “due diligence” in taking a “zero-deforestation” stance.

Tagged in: barbie, mattel, barbie doll, greenpeace, indonesia, rainforest,


Purple Neon/LadyLUX via Los Angeles Times, Barbie

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