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How NGOs brought Mattel and other giants to heel
The anti-Keystone XL protest planned for the White House this weekend is just part of an ongoing NGO-led global battle against economic development, and jobs.
Nobody is arguing against prudent science-based protection of the environment. However, NGO campaigns tend not merely to be based on wild misrepresentation, but also coercive, ideologically driven, and economically challenged. And yet big corporations appear 100% behind them, or at least are far too scared to speak out.
Although the current focus of NGO demonization is Keystone XL, the forest industry has been under siege for years, and by exactly the same groups as are trying to take down the oil sands. These groups include the Natural Resources Defense Council, whose self-righteous gurus were put under the microscope by the Post’s Claudia Cattaneo on Tuesday. Also prominent in the forest war-for-poverty are Greenpeace and the WWF.
Canada has seen as much of the anti-forestry campaign as any other developed country, but the costs are likely far greater in the developing world. Last week, Indonesian paper company Asia Pulp & Paper (APP, part of the Sinar Mas Group), “agreed” — among other commitments — to halt all natural forest clearance in Indonesia, which is already under a moratorium. It also agreed to hire NGOs to help it negotiate the pitfalls created by NGOs, and to submit to further NGO oversight.
This deal was “brokered” by The Tropical Forest Trust (TFT) following a massive do-not-buy campaign by Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network and WWF.
The campaign combined misrepresentation with images of “charismatic megafauna,” in this case Sumatran tigers and orangutans. Toy giant Mattel was brought to heel via its iconic Barbie brand. The knife-in-cheek campaign featured Barbie’s boyfriend Ken breaking off with her because of her complicity in forest destruction. A voiceover called Barbie — who elsewhere appeared in a pink bulldozer — a “serial killer.” Greenpeaceniks also dressed as tigers and “stalked” KFC. According to the NGOs, the campaign led to 100 APP customers breaking their contracts.
For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://opinion.financialpost.com/2013/02/12/peter-foster-rain-forest-serial-killer-barbie/