Toy Maker Mattel Under Greenpeace Scrutiny
“Barbie it’s over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation.”
On Tuesday Greenpeace members scaled the side of Mattel’s Los Angeles headquarters to hang an enormous banner, including that caption and a frowning Ken doll. Greenpeace has officially launched a campaign against Mattel, the toy company most famously known for producing Barbie, because Greenpeace says this company’s packaging materials contribute to deforestation in Indonesia.
Mattel sources its fiber materials for disposable packaging from the company Asia Pulp and Paper. Greenpeace has been after this company for years because its pulpwood suppliers are destroying ecologically important forests in Sumatra, including areas designated as tiger habitat.
“The trail leads directly from Mattel to Asia Pulp and Paper and its suppliers in a chain of destruction that spans the globe,” Greenpeace wrote in a recent blog, according to SustainableBusiness.com.
Mattel responded saying that it was “surprised and disappointed” at Greenpeace’s actions. The company says it has been “in communication with Greenpeace on a variety of paper-sourcing issues,” according to SustainableBusiness.com.
But Greenpeace is not backing down. This organization also suggested that other toymakers might soon be targets of the campaign as well. “We have evidence on Disney, Hasbro and Lego too,” Greenpeace wrote on its blog, says SustainableBusiness.com. “Some of their branded merchandise also contains the same mixed tropical hardwood fibre, which is only produced on a commercial scale by two companies in Indonesia, one of which is Asia Pulp and Paper.”
But Asia Pulp and Paper says the Greenpeace allegations are unfounded and that the company only logs forests that are under legal agreements with the Indonesian government. This company also says it has a goal of processing only sustainable plantation pulp by 2015.
"Despite Greenpeace's unsubstantiated allegations, the facts are that our packaging materials contain more than 95 percent of recycled paper sourced from around the world,” says Aida Greenbury, Sustainability Chief at Asia Pulp and Paper, according to SustainableBusiness.com. “Less than two percent of the pulp in those carton boxes comes from legal and sustainable Indonesia pulpwood plantations.”
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany