Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 06/08/2011

Greenpeace protests Barbie at Mattel headquarters


A banner hangs from the Mattel headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. (Handout photo released by Greenpeace via Reuters)
Greenpeace is taking a stand against one of the most well-known public figures in the world: Barbie.

Members from the environmental group began a campaign against Mattel Inc. at its headquarters in California on Tuesday, hanging a huge banner featuring a sad-looking Ken doll and the message, “Barbie, it’s over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation.” As some activists scaled the building, another dressed like the doll in question drove a pink bulldozer and asked the crowd, “Do you think they will let me park this at the mall?” A similar campaign was launched in London.

Ken’s broken heart stems from the toy packaging Mattel uses, which Greenpeace claims is helping destroy the rainforest in Asia.

Mattel is accused of using paper from Asia Pulp and Paper, a company that cuts down tree in Indonesian rainforests, home to many endangered species. The Guardian’s George Monbiot said the company may be “one of the most destructive companies on the planet.”

The company responded to the event, which led to the arrest of 10 protesters, in a statement: “Playing responsibly has long been an important part of Mattel's business practices. ... We have been in communication with Greenpeace on a variety of paper-sourcing issues. We are surprised and disappointed that they have taken this inflammatory approach.”

Greenpeace has successfully caused several high-profile companies to change their environmental practices, including McDonald’s, which stopped “selling chicken fed on soya grown in newly deforested areas of the Amazon rainforest,” the group said.

So will Ken and Barbie get back together? That remains to be seen. Mattel said it would “continue to assess our paper-sourcing and packaging improvements.” In the meantime, Ken is using Greenpeace’s Facebook page to spread the group’s message. Disney, Hasbro and LEGO — companies Greenpeace also accused of using paper from endangered rainforests — may be getting some costumed visitors of their own.

By  |  12:11 PM ET, 06/08/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company