Mattel raises its green paper packaging standards

Wed Oct 5, 2011 6:00am EDT

Related Topics

* Raising amount of recycled, sustainable paper packaging

* Goal of 70 pct by end of '11, up to 85 pct by end of '15

* Sourcing plan covers cartons and consumer packaging

By Jessica Wohl

Oct 5 (Reuters) - Mattel Inc (MAT.O) will increase the amount of recycled and sustainable fiber used in its packaging and products, months after the toy maker was criticized for packaging that allegedly came from Indonesian rainforests.

The moves, set to be announced on Wednesday, focus on using post-consumer recycled content whenever possible and avoiding virgin fiber from controversial sources. Mattel, the world's largest toy company, said it is also trying to increase the amount of fiber it uses that can be certified by a third party such as the Forest Stewardship Council.

In early June, Greenpeace said it had evidence that Barbie doll packaging came from Indonesian rain forests. Greenpeace activists, dressed as Ken dolls, rappelled down the side of Mattel's headquarters near Los Angeles to unfurl a banner saying Barbie packaging contributes to rainforest destruction. [ID:nL3E7H81F7]

Soon after that, Mattel told its printers to stop contracting with Indonesian paper firm Asia Pulp & Paper Co Ltd [SINAMS.UL], which Greenpeace accused of destroying rain forests. Mattel said it does not contract directly with Asia Pulp & Paper.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based toy maker aims to do a better job of learning where fiber is coming from, said Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, Mattel's vice president of corporate affairs.

"This is a process of continuous improvement for us," she said. "This is just the beginning step for us on this issue."

Most of the packaging that Mattel uses, from the cartons that house products shipped to stores, to the boxes that shoppers bring home, is paper-based.

By the end of 2011, 70 percent of Mattel's paper packaging will be made from recycled material or sustainable fiber. It aims to raise that to 85 percent by the end of 2015, the company said

Mattel spoke with Greenpeace before and after the June event and has held talks with other environmental groups.

"Mattel has established a clear purchasing policy for how to address sustainable sourcing that will help prevent deforestation," said Mark Comolli, director of the market program for sustainable forestry at the Rainforest Alliance. "We're looking forward to working with them to implement a credible sourcing program that will enable them to make steady progress toward achieving their goals."

Mattel's earlier environmental changes included eliminating plastic-coated wire ties that used to be used to secure Barbie dolls and other goods to their boxes. That effort was spearheaded by Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), Mattel's largest customer.

Asia Pulp & Paper operates under the Sinar Mas brand, as does Sinar Mas Agro Resources & Technology (SMAR.JK), or SMART, which last year released an independent audit after Greenpeace alleged the company bulldozed high conservation value forests and damaged carbon-rich peatlands. [ID:nJAK325319] In June, Asia Pulp and Paper said its products meet the legal requirements for all countries, including Indonesia. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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