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Green is the new pink: Barbie proves plastic is no longer fantastic

From the glitz and glamour of the fashion world to the frontlines of environmental conservation, Barbie is proving that plastic is no longer fantastic. With a renewed focus on sustainability and nature conservation, Mattel, the company behind Barbie, is making significant strides in aligning the beloved doll with the global push for a greener planet.

Barbie proves plastic is no longer fantastic_ Barbie planting seedlings from a tree nursery (AI generated image)_visual 1Barbie planting seedlings from a tree nursery (AI generated image)

Barbie's legacy and evolution

In the world of toys, Barbie has been an iconic figure for decades. Barbie's journey began in 1959, and over the years, she has been a reflection of the zeitgeist of each era. From the fashion trends of the ‘60s to empowerment movements of recent times, Barbie has mirrored society's shifts. For over six decades, Barbie has been a beacon of fashion, dreams, and aspirations for many. From an astronaut to a zoologist, she has donned countless hats, reflecting the changing times and evolving societal norms. 

Today, as the world emphasises sustainability, Barbie, too, is evolving, ensuring she remains relevant and continues to inspire. As the world grapples with pressing environmental challenges, Barbie is once again at the forefront, championing the cause of sustainability and nature conservation.

The societal impact of sustainable toys

Children are impressionable, and their early experiences shape their values and beliefs. Toys, being an integral part of childhood, have a profound influence. Children who play with toys that emphasise sustainability subconsciously imbibe these values.

The Toy Association's findings highlight a significant shift in consumer behaviour: With 78% of parents considering a toy's sustainability before purchase, it's evident that environmental consciousness is no longer a niche concern but a mainstream demand. Furthermore, a 2021 survey indicated that 60% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, showcasing the growing importance of green initiatives in purchasing decisions.

Barbie's sustainable initiatives

  • Jane Goodall Institute partnership: In a significant move, Barbie has collaborated with the Jane Goodall Institute to introduce the Dr Jane Goodall Inspiring Women Doll. The doll is made primarily from recycled ocean-bound plastic and is certified CarbonNeutral. Together with Roots & Shoots, they also teach children about conservation and the importance of protecting the planet. This partnership celebrates Dr Goodall's immense contributions and underscores the importance of wildlife conservation and understanding our natural world.
  • Eco-Leadership Team: Reflecting the growing importance of environmental roles, Barbie's 2022 Career of the Year Eco-Leadership Team showcases professions dedicated to Earth's wellbeing. These dolls are not just toys; they are symbols of a brighter, greener future.

Barbie proves plastic is no longer fantastic_Dr Jane Goodall holding the whole set of Eco-Leadership Team Barbies_visual 2Dr Jane Goodall holding the whole set of Eco-Leadership Team Barbies. Image courtesy of the Jane Goodall Institute. 

  • Sustainable materials commitment: In a world drowning in plastic waste, with over 300 million tonnes of plastic produced annually, Mattel's commitment to sustainable materials is commendable. Their goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials by 2030 is a testament to their dedication to the planet.
    Read more: Reduce, reuse, recycle: 7 ways for businesses to reduce waste
  • Mattel Playback Scheme: This innovative initiative is a step towards a circular economy. By recycling toys, Mattel ensures that fewer materials end up in landfills, promoting a culture of reuse and recycling.
  • American Girl Doll Hospital: Beyond recycling, repair is a crucial aspect of sustainability. The American Girl Doll Hospital emphasises the value of fixing over discarding, teaching children the importance of longevity and care.

Read more: Net zero and a circular economy: Top 3 opportunities and challenges

Nature-based solutions: a partnership with purpose

The collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute demonstrates Barbie's unwavering commitment to nature. The Dr Jane Goodall Inspiring Woman Doll is made primarily from recycled plastic and has been certified carbon neutral. Dr Jane Goodall, renowned for her transformative work in conservation and environmental advocacy, is an emblem of what this partnership aims to achieve. 

While DGB Group wholeheartedly supports and encourages alliances with nature conservation charities, it's crucial to stress the tangible impact of verified plastic and carbon credits that are generated by nature-based solutions. Unlike generic donations, these credits offer a quantifiable, measurable approach to environmental conservation. By channelling investments into plastic and carbon credits, we're not merely offsetting emissions; we're actively contributing to initiatives that prioritise habitat preservation, biodiversity enhancement, and community empowerment. It's a comprehensive approach to environmental care, ensuring that each purchased credit creates a cascade of positive impacts, touching every facet of nature and society.

Explore opportunities to make a positive impact

Towards a zero-plastic future

Today, where sustainability is not just a buzzword but a necessity, every company must adopt a strategy that focuses on measuring, reducing, and offsetting their environmental footprint. Barbie has commendably reduced her plastic footprint, but the journey doesn't end there. The next step is to offset the remaining plastic footprint by investing in global plastic mitigation projects. 

Measure your environmental impact 

As our planet faces the escalating crisis of plastic pollution, plastic credits emerge as a sustainable solution. These credits symbolise the extraction of a specific amount of plastic waste from our environment, ensuring it doesn't contaminate our oceans or landfills. 

Read more: The ultimate guide to plastic credits 

Our vision for a zero-plastic future is clear and steadfast. By channelling resources into plastic credits, we're not just reacting to the current scenario; we're proactively working to minimise plastic waste, champion recycling, and foster innovations in sustainable material usage. This vision transcends mere offsetting; it paints a picture of a world where plastic use coexists with nature responsibly, where recycling is second nature, and our ecosystems flourish, unburdened by plastic debris.

Mattel's broader vision for sustainability

While Barbie's initiatives are noteworthy, they are part of Mattel's broader vision for sustainability. The company understands its influential position in the market and is leveraging it to drive positive change. From using sustainable materials in packaging to reducing plastic use, Mattel is setting industry standards.

Barbie's transformation is not just a business strategy; it's a reflection of a global awakening. As challenges like deforestation, pollution, and biodiversity loss intensify, it's imperative for influential brands like Barbie to lead the charge. Through her sustainable initiatives, Barbie is ensuring a greener planet and inspiring millions of children worldwide—proving that green is indeed the new pink.

DGB Group: positively impacting the environment through plastic credits

With DGB Group’s plastic credits, you can also join the green movement. Our plastic credits represent 1,000 kg of plastic cleaned up and recycled, reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans. With our programme, you support initiatives that work to remove plastic from the environment and prevent harm to marine life and other habitats.

Reduce your plastic impact with DGB's plastic credits

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