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Greenpeace Claims Victory In Barbie Fight, Mattel Drops Destructive Packaging Company

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 10/05/11 07:00 PM ET Updated: 10/05/11 11:17 PM ET

Greenpeace is claiming victory after Mattel announced it will stop wrapping Barbie dolls in environmentally-damaging packaging.

The toy giant will ditch ties with controversial paper company Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), a pulp and paper firm that allegedly destroys Indonesian rainforests, including the habitat of the endangered Sumatran tiger, notes Greenpeace.

"The rainforests of Indonesia should be for species like the Sumatran tiger, not for throw-away toy packaging. That’s why it is such good news that Mattel has developed a new paper buying policy," said Bustar Maitar, head of Greenpeace’s campaign in Indonesia.

Mattel has also adopted Sustainable Sourcing Principles. "By 2015 our goal is to have 85% of our packing be made from recycled material or certified fiber," said Kathleen Shaver, Mattel's Corporate Responsibility Director in a video statement.

Ian Lifshitz, Sustainability and Public Outreach Manager for APP, the Americas, told the Huffington Post in an email statement:
"Asia Pulp and Paper applauds Mattel's commitments to recycling, wood, legality, protection of High Conservation Value Forest, respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and robust auditing and certification procedures. These principles very much mirror APP's philosophy and environmental commitments and we are delighted to see a major global toy manufacturer adopt the same."

APP further added it "supports all credible industry certification, however, we strongly urge companies to not limit their procurement policies to one standard, in this case Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which discriminates against products from Indonesia and other developing markets. APP supports policies that protect both the environment and the vital income which developing countries receive from the pulp and paper industries."

The FSC is the premier international forest certification organization ensuring that forestry practices are environmentally, socially and economically responsible. In October 2007, World Wildlife Fund, which runs the FSC, rescinded APP's rights to use the FSC logo.

Rainforest destruction doesn't just impact conservation efforts. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation is responsible for a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the world’s transportation sector, notes The International.

The move comes after months of Greenpeace campaign efforts, including video footage of a Sumatran tiger that became trapped and died in an area allegedly being logged by Asia Pulp and Paper. The organization also released a video of Ken breaking up with Barbie after he learns she's a "serial killer". Greenpeace also arranged for a dozen look-alike Ken dolls to scale Mattel's headquarters in El Segundo, California and draped 2,500-sq-ft protest banners that read, "Barbie, it's over. I don't date girls that are into deforestation."

Let's see if Ken plans to get back together with Barbie now that she's committed to leaving her destructive past behind her.

UPDATED: This story has been updated to provide a statement from Asia Pulp and Paper to reflect the company's position on Mattel's move and new policy on sustainable sourcing. The article also now includes an explanation of the Forest Stewardship Council and the organization's certification logo.

Watch the Greenpeace video of how Ken ended his relationship with Barbie below:

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