Mattel shuts down Barbie's Facebook page in response to Greenpeace campaign

mongabay.com
June 10, 2011



Barbie's Facebook page on June 10, 2011
Barbie's Facebook page on June 10, 2011

Mattel shut down the comment function on the Barbie Facebook fan page after Greenpeace supporters barraged the page with complaints about the company's use of packaging materials linked to destruction of rainforests in Indonesia.

As of 6 pm Eastern Daylight Time, the "Wall" function of the Barbie page was still closed to comments. In its place was the following statement:

"The Barbie Facebook wall is temporarily closed to comments"

"The mission of the Barbie Facebook page is to provide a safe place for girls and our fans online. Any comments or concerns are welcome at the Mattel Facebook page, or please visit www.mattel.com."

The Barbie Facebook page has 2.267 million "likes".

On Thursday Mattel said it would investigate allegations by Greenpeace that toy packaging materials sourced from Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), an Asian logging company with a controversial environmental record, are linked to deforestation. In the interim, Mattel says it has directed its suppliers to stop sourcing from APP.

Greenpeace called Mattel's instruction a good start, but said the toy-giant would have to go farther with policies that exclude damaging fiber sources from its supply chain.



Greenpeace's campaign played on the recent "reconciliation" between Barbie and her long-time boyfriend Ken in the fictional world of Barbie. Greenpeace aired a video saying that Ken dumped Barbie due to her desire to "wrap herself in cheaper packaging" that was produced through logging of rainforests in Sumatra. The campaign included a demonstration at Mattel's headquarters in El Segundo, California.

Mattel's response to the campaign raised eyebrows. The firm shut down commenting on Barbie's Facebook page and the company's normally active Twitter account also went silent.

Greenpeace's has targeted Sinar Mas/APP due to its sourcing practices. Companies that supply APP have been linked to large-scale conversion of rainforests and peatlands in Jambi and Riau provinces on the island of Sumatra. The habitats are a key refuge for the critically endangered Sumatran tiger and other threatened species. While APP has previously pledged to phasing out use of fiber from natural forests, it has reneged on two commitments and continues to be linked to deforestation. The association has cost APP a number of major customers in recent years. APP has tried to counter defections through an aggressive marketing campaign that has included press junkets, CSR reports, glossy advertisements in The Economist and The New York Times, the hiring of single issue paid consultant "NGOs", and support of groups that launch public attacks against environmental groups and companies that have dropped APP as a supplier.















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CITATION:
mongabay.com (June 10, 2011).

Mattel shuts down Barbie's Facebook page in response to Greenpeace campaign.

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