In a move that stands in stark contrast to the theme product industry’s preference for cheap plastic, the forthcoming Jurassic World Dominion movie is opting instead for a sustainable collection.
Jurassic World Dominion, which hits theaters on June 10th, is all about dinosaurs—but its merchandise won’t be made from them, as Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment announced the film’s merchandise team has eschewed the common cheap fossil-fuel-based plastic trinkets and opted instead for fair trade and sustainable products. The artisan-crafted items will be available on the e-commerce platforms Accompany and Ten Thousand Villages.
The first-of-its-kind collaboration celebrates artisan crafters for the sixth and final installment of the Jurassic films.
“We see a huge opportunity to make a positive social impact on disempowered communities and nonprofits worldwide through mission-driven merchandising,” Jason Keehn, founder of Accompany, said in a statement.
“By harnessing the powerful pull of an entertainment property like the Jurassic World franchise, and connecting it to the demand for purposeful artisan goods in the home décor, fashion, and gifting categories, we believe we can spark a new, meaningful era in licensed consumer goods,” Keehn said.
The collection includes a range of home, living, and kitchenware items including wood carved bowls in the shape of dinosaur footprints and handwoven items including hooded kids’ towels, produced in India and Nepal. There are also dino teeth print tote bags among other items. Retail prices range from $13 to $100.
Film merchandise is big business for the industry, with toys leading the category. In 2019, merchandise sales reached $128.4 billion–up nearly $6 billion over 2018 sales, according to recent data from Statista.
A study published in February found that there’s already “too much” plastic on the planet—about 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year.
“The impacts that we’re starting to see today are large enough to be impacting crucial functions of planet Earth and its systems”, Bethanie Carney Almroth, co-author of a new study told AFP in an interview about the findings.
Plastic is a leading cause of ocean pollution. Recent research also discovered microplastics in the Arctic circle for the first time.
A growing number of toy manufacturers have begun working to reduce their carbon footprint.
As part of its shift toward sustainability, toy giant Mattel recently released a Tesla Matchbox car made from 99 percent recycled materials. It also recently greened its popular card game, Uno, made from recyclable paper. Last year, it launched Drive Toward a Better Future, which aims to make all of its Matchbox cars, playsets, and packaging from recyclable and renewable or recyclable materials by the end of this year. The products will also be certified Carbon Neutral.
It also launched “PlayBack,” a program that will take back Barbie, Matchbox, and Mega toys to keep them out of landfills.
“At Mattel, we are committed to managing the environmental impact of our products,” global head of sustainability Pamela Gill-Alabaster said in a statement last year. “The Mattel PlayBack program helps parents and caregivers ensure that materials stay in play and out of landfills, with the aim to repurpose these materials as recycled content in new toys.”
According to Mattel’s CEO Richard Dickson, the sustainability initiative is in line with the brand’s ethos: toys should be shared.
“A key part of our product design process is a relentless focus on innovation, and finding sustainable solutions is one significant way we are innovating,” Dickson said. “Our Mattel PlayBack program is a great example of this, enabling us to turn materials from toys that have lived their useful life into recycled materials for new products.”
The Jurassic World collection also comes on the heels of what’s being hailed as an ‘historic’ U.N. resolution to reduce global plastic production and increase efforts to recycle and upcycle existing plastic.
“Plastic pollution has grown into an epidemic. With today’s resolution we are officially on track for a cure,” Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s minister for climate and the environment and president of the UN Environment Assembly said during the third day of the biennial U.N. Environment Assembly in March.
“This is the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris accord,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program. “It is an insurance policy for this generation and future ones, so they may live with plastic and not be doomed by it.”
Last month, artisan-based platform Novica celebrated World Artisan Day—a tentpole it hopes will become a global annual event celebrating the world’s millions of artisans.
“Artisans are fundamental to our cultural identities—in every region of the world. Artisans who practice traditional art forms are the guardians of our cultural legacies. Artisans who create new styles unquestionably influence the trajectory of modernity,” Catherine Ryan, a Novica spokesperson, told Ethos via email. “Artisans are among the most important keepers of our world’s arts and cultures.”
The Jurassic World collection is inspired in part by the film’s feminist theme and support of women in science. The film’s marketing team worked with Sasha, a decentralized network of organizations working to strengthen, support, and expand market opportunities for artisans, which counts more than 5,000 artisans in India in its sphere, most of whom are women. It also worked with Nepal’s Finest, an organization focused on supporting thousands of artisans and their families.
“As founders of fair trade, we get excited when any industry takes a step toward more conscientious production practices,” Ten Thousand Villages says on its website. “We’re thrilled for this first-ever fair trade movie merchandise collection to shine a light on what fair trade production and partnerships can look like in this sphere.”