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Clear cutting Barbie? Mattel caught using rainforest products in Barbie’s packaging

Greenpeace protests at Mattel's headquarters.
Greenpeace protests at Mattel's headquarters.
Molly Peterson/KPCC

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Everyone is going “green” these days, including Barbie. The iconic doll, made by Mattel, introduced a line of eco-friendly accessories for Barbie a few years back and just this year is running a design contest to build a greener Barbie house. Mattel would have you believe that Barbie is a true defender of the Earth, but the truth might be a little more complicated. According to testing done by Greenpeace, the packaging for Barbie is made up of 25 – 30% wood pulp that originated in the protected rainforests of Indonesia. Greenpeace stormed the Mattel headquarters in El Segundo this morning and promised a sustained campaign against Barbie, just as Mattel is picking up its own marketing efforts to sell the popular doll and her reunited boyfriend Ken. The real target for Greenpeace is the supplier of packaging to Mattel, a Chinese-based pulp and paper company that is responsible for leveling thousands of acres of rain forests over the last two decades. If consumers want to be more ecologically conscience when buying these products, where can they turn? And aside from an activist group like Greenpeace, who is monitoring what kind of protected resources go into our goods, from toys to furniture?


Molly Peterson, KPCC environment reporter

Thomas Lyon, director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan