Paper firm welcomes Mattel deforestation inquiry

Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) said that it welcomed an investigation by US toy maker Mattel into allegations that it destroys Indonesian forests to source its products.

Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls and other toys, uses packaging materials from APP and announced Thursday it had told its suppliers "to stop sourcing pulp" from the company and would investigate allegations made by Greenpeace.

"It's a very good reaction from Mattel," APP managing director for sustainability Aida Greenbury told AFP on Friday. "Instead of bluntly believing the allegation from other party, they start an investigation."

Greenpeace alleged on Wednesday that the toy company used materials sourced from Indonesia's dwindling natural forests, further pushing rare species such as tigers to the brink of extinction.

Greenbury said APP materials were environmentally friendly and the company was willing to work with anyone to prove the origins and composition of its products.

Mattel said it does not support deforestation nor does it contract directly with APP, a subsidiary of paper and palm oil giant Sinar Mas.

"We purchase packaging materials from a variety of suppliers and it is not the normal course of business to dictate where suppliers source materials," Mattel said in a statement published on its website.

"We have directed our packaging suppliers to stop sourcing pulp from Sinar Mas/APP as we investigate the deforestation allegations. Additionally, we have asked our packaging suppliers to clarify how they are addressing the broader issue in their own supply chains," it said.

Greenpeace's campaign against Mattel follows similar action against firms including Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco in the wake of a report released last year titled "How Sinar Mas is Pulping the Planet".

Unilever, Kraft and Nestle have stopped sourcing palm oil from Sinar Mas affiliates, while Carrefour, Staples, Office Depot and Woolworths (Australia) had stopped buying or selling paper products connected to APP.

Several other companies are believed to be reviewing contracts with APP.

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