Southern California environment news and trends

Pressure on Asia Pulp & Paper yielding corporate responsibility, new strategies on rainforest policy [UPDATED]

[author's note: see comments for an apparent dispute between Nat Geo & GP over what, if anything, they've discussed. Following...]

It's not spring yet, but corporate responsibility, and maybe some new savvy about rainforest politics, has been blooming all over.

National Geographic makes books in addition to magazines; they're the latest paper consumer to respond to a years-long joint campaign by several environmental groups to pressure retailers and other companies to end their paper-buying relationship with the Asia Pulp and Paper group of companies. [UPDATE: This may be wrong. See below for my explanation.] The World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace have been increasing the profile of their separate-but-related pushes in the last six months or so. WWF released a report entitled Don't Flush Tiger Forests: Toilet Paper, U.S. Supermarkets and the Destruction of Indonesia’s Last Tiger Habitat.

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Corporate social responsibility; or, Mattel finally speaks to KPCC about deforestation, APP, Greenpeace stunt

Greenpeace's Barbie Protest

Grant Slater/KPCC

Sometimes people do ask corporations to be responsible citizens. Sometimes corporations do. Outside Mattel HQ, El Segundo, CA.

I was just listening through the tape from last Friday’s Grammy corporate sustainability event one more time. Not to start a fight with myself, but after I raised questions about the responsibility we ask from corporations, I found an example where people did just that. 

You may remember that last spring Greenpeace campaigned to get Mattel to source its packaging more responsibly: that is, they wanted Mattel to stop using pulp from Asia Pulp & Paper and its associates. (See here for more from last October, when Mattel did develop sustainability rules.)

Well, when I realized Mattel was at this event, I asked Jennifer Miller DuBuisson, the company’s associate manager of global sustainability, whether the Greenpeace campaign took them by surprise. “I mean, it definitely shows where social media is today. A pretty amazing campaign,” DuBuisson said gamely, quipping about the quality of the color scheme in the protest-stunt props. DuBuisson emphasized that Mattel did not approve of the action’s potential for harm to Greenpeace protesters and Mattel employees.   

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