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Barbie and Ken embroiled in 'rainforest destruction' bustup

by Martin Leggett 08 Jun 2011
Barbie and Ken embroiled in 'rainforest destruction' bustup

There's trouble brewing in Toyland, as that global icon of perfect plastic prettiness, Barbie, stands accused of 'crimes against wildlife'. According to Greenpeace, the packaging that gilds a million boxes of the perpetually blonde play-doll comes from a pulping company based in Indonesia - where the rainforests that are home to the rare Sumatran tiger are disappearing, faster than the latest Barbie dolls on Christmas Eve.

And Ken, Barbie's long-suffering other half is not happy. A handful of Ken lookalikes have left a very public break-up letter, almost covering the headquarters of Mattel, the company that makes the world famous dolls: 'It's OVER - I Don't Date Girls That Are Into Deforestation,' it proclaims. And alongside the dock with Barbie are other toy companies, such as Disney, which Greenpeace claims have been less-than-diligent in checking the source of their packaging.

The sudden outbreak of toy-town activism from Greenpeace comes in response to an investigation that the environmental group has made into Asian Pulp and Paper (APP). This powerful Indonesian company has been repeatedly linked to the use of 'shredded rainforest' in the pulp used for its paper and cardboard products.

The connections from Mattel to APP were unearthed by investigators in Indonesia, tracking company certificates, and poring over mapping data. Greenpeace claims that it has run forensic tests on Mattel's packaging that prove that Barbie is 'wrapped in rainforest destruction'. Its tongue-in-cheek guerrilla marketing campaign has seen Ken abseiling at in LA, and climbing up London's Piccadilly Circus. Barbie has reacted to Ken's grandstanding by tweeting back 'Yes, I participated in #Deforestation...how else am I supposed to heat the "Dream House"? #Barbie'

But for all the Barbie vs Ken shenanigans, there's a serious message that Greenpeace is trying to get across. Bustar Maitar, who is in charge of Greenpeace's campaign to save the Indonesian forests, said "Mattel, which makes Barbie, must stop wrapping the world's most famous toy in rainforest destruction. Mattel must stop buying packaging from APP, a notorious rainforest destroyer which has been exposed many times for wrecking Indonesia's rainforests to make throw-away packaging".

Already companies such as Tesco and Adidas have severed their links to APP, which recently promised, somewhat vaguely, to cut 'mixed wood residues' from its pulpwood by 2015. Four years more of rainforest destruction is obviously four years too many for endangered wildlife - and too many for Ken. Will Barbie rediscover an eco-conscience in time to save her relationship - and Indonesia's rainforests?

Top Image and Video Credit: © Greenpeace


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