Have you heard? Ken leaves Barbie behind over deforestation

Posted on June 22, 2011


Barbie and Ken – Mattel under fire from the conservation group Greenpeace

They’ve been an item for as long as I can remember, but now the romance is over.

Trophy bird Barbie is finding out what it’s like to be left on the shelf without her beloved Ken, following an ecological row.

The plastic princess usually presents herself in pretty pink boxes but an investigation by the conservation organisation Greenpeace, claims her maker Mattel is sourcing paper for her boxes that is impacting on Indonesia’s rainforests, and is calling for a boycott of the doll.

Indonesia’s rainforests are home to some of the world’s most endangered species like the orangutan and Sumatran tiger. Their habitat is shrinking faster than you can say bubble-wrap, and many areas are still not protected by the government due to increasing industrial encroachment.

The allegations have been posted on the organisation’s website: “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.”

Mattel has not yet responded.

It’s not often I laugh out loud over a PR video, but I have to give it Greenpeace it has certainly put the company in the spotlight.