Barbie manufacturer Mattel launches green purchasing plan

13 June 2011 | Lindsay Clark

Mattel is developing a sustainable procurement policy to ensure suppliers address the problem of deforestation.

The policy will include requirements for paper packaging suppliers to commit to sustainable forestry management practices, as well as covering other wood-based products in its toy lines, such as paper, books and accessories.

Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, vice president of corporate affairs at Mattel, said in a statement: "While we don't have all the answers yet, we are working to make continual improvements across our business, and that includes packaging. In fact, earlier this year, Mattel completed a lifecycle assessment of packaging across multiple product lines to identify impacts and opportunities for future improvements."

The toymaker said it would work to eliminate use of unsustainable paper and wood in the design stage, as well as during sourcing and manufacturing.

Mattel’s new sustainable purchasing strategy coincides with a campaign launched by environmental group Greenpeace, which claimed its investigators had revealed packaging used in Barbie products came from Indonesian rainforests. It said a combination of “in country” investigation, mapping data and traced company certificates showed that Mattel was using packaging produced by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP).

Mattel responded via a number of statements on its facebook page, saying it had launched an investigation into the allegations, and while it does not contract directly with APP, it has ordered its packaging suppliers to stop buying pulp from the company as it investigates.

APP is reported to have welcomed both the inquiry and the Mattel policy. The company has previously accused Greenpeace of inaccurate data use to attack its business. Last year, Aida Greenbury, sustainability managing director for APP, said: “Our sustainable practices are among the most advanced in the pulp and paper industry anywhere in the world.”

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