Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Lego latest toy maker to respond to Greenpeace rainforest campaign

Since Barbie drove her bulldozer down an El Segundo business park, much has happened in the world of big toy companies and their packaging supplies. 

Well, except for Disney: that company has not said anything, so if it's doing something, we don't know about it. 

LEGO - a Danish company - announced within a day that preliminary investigations showed the problem was limited to a few suppliers of their suppliers. (Interesting that they quoted Greenpeace's allegations in their initial press release!) Just last week LEGO announced it would reduce packaging and only use FSC-certified fibers in the boxes around its products. That cuts out Asia Pulp and Paper, which lost Forest Stewardship Council certification status in 2007.

Hasbro updated a statement on its website that says, essentially, we were already working on this. Last year, Hasbro set a goal of 75% recycled fibres in its packaging. "Hasbro had been actively working with its paper packaging suppliers toward our goal of responsible sourcing from recognized, independent, certifying bodies, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)." Sounds like they're aiming for something, but they haven't hit it yet. 

And Mattel. Mattel has cut itelf off from Asia Pulp & Paper - the company Greenpeace is really mad at. They've asked their suppliers for clarity about their sustainable practices. The company has not said what it's going to do next.

Market action campaigns like Greenpeace's aim for a specific outcome: in this case, Greenpeace wants assurances going forward that these companies will keep rainforest pulp out of their packaging in the future: for example, by relying on certification programs for its suppliers. It doesn't hurt to specifically mention Asia Pulp and Paper in stating your policy, it appears. One point for ending a relationship with APP; one point for a certified or otherwise verifiable policy preventing involvement in deforestation. On my made up scale, Greenpeace has scored 2 for LEGO, 1 for Mattel, and has a potential with Hasbro.

KPCC doesn't often cover market action campaigns about environmental issues like the one Greenpeace directs at the toy sector - and by extension Asia Pulp & Paper and Sinar Mas - but I suspect that could change. More and more, interesting climate and environmental conflicts are in economic and business arenas, and in local fights - not in Washington. Like my buddy Eve Troeh over on the sustainability desk at Marketplace, I find corporate social responsibility a potentially fascinating way into understanding our collective values on these matters. Plus, it makes the blog photos fun. 


Pacific Swell earlier addressed some key questions about deforestation, Greenpeace's campaign, Mattel and Indonesia - here's the whole series: 

Part 1: What's the rainforest got to do with California? 

Part 2: Why does anyone cut down Indonesian rainforest?

Part 3: What connects Mattel to Indonesian logging?

Part 4: What's illegal about rainforest wood in a Barbie box?

(Image via Hyku via Flickr. Licensed via Creative Commons.)