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Mattel sets aggressive goals for sustainable sourcing of paper, wood fiber

Following pressure from Greenpeace, Mattel announces new sustainable sourcing principles for the procurement of paper and wood fiber for its packaging and products.


Mattel, Inc. as launched new sustainable sourcing principles to guide the company's procurement of paper and wood fiber used in its packaging and products. Mattel's new principles focus on three fundamental steps to advance sustainability, including maximizing post-consumer recycled content, where possible; avoiding virgin fiber from controversial sources; and seeking to increase the percentage of fiber that is certified by a credible third party.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times,  the initiative comes on the heels of vocal criticism of the company’s sourcing practices by Greenpeace. Says the article, “Mattel's move comes after Greenpeace tested packaging from the company’s toys, packaged in Indonesia, and found the cardboard contained significant amounts of timber from Indonesian rain forests. The group used Mattel's advertising campaign that featured a ‘reunion’ between Barbie and Ken to draw attention to the packaging, sending an activist dressed as Ken and another as Barbie, who drove a pink skip loader to the company's corporate office in June. They hung a banner from the building that read: ‘Barbie: It’s Over. I don’t date girls that are into deforestation.’”

Regarding the new sourcing policies, Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, vice president corporate affairs at Mattel, who also oversees the company's sustainability initiatives, says, "We are committed to advancing the use of sustainably sourced paper and wood fiber across our business, beginning with packaging. In developing these sourcing principles and setting goals, we applied a thoughtful and rigorous approach in evaluating our supply chain and identifying meaningful opportunities for continuous improvement."

Throughout the process to develop the sustainable sourcing principles, Mattel sought input from stakeholders throughout its supply chain and the environmental community. Earlier this year, Mattel directed its suppliers to exit known controversial sources. Mattel has already launched efforts to implement the new sustainable sourcing principles and established aggressive goals to measure progress on packaging as the focus of the company's initial implementation phase.

Sustainable sourcing goals:

• By the end of 2011, 70% of Mattel's paper packaging to be composed of recycled material or sustainable fiber.

• By year-end 2015, goal increases to 85%.

• Mattel will show preference, when feasible, for fiber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Implementation and reporting

A global team is taking steps to communicate and implement the company's expectations with suppliers, including Mattel's preference for "FSC-Certified Fiber." Bongiovanni adds that Mattel will take steps to encourage its suppliers to pursue appropriate chain-of-custody certification for their own operations. Progress toward sustainable sourcing goals will be reported through the company's Global Citizenship Reports. Mattel's fourth report is expected in mid-2012.

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