Deterioration of Mattel's Labor Conditions: An Investigation of Four ...

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Deterioration of Mattel's Labor Conditions: An Investigation of Four ...

Deterioration of Mattel’s Labor Conditions China Labor Watch

Introduction

As attention is focused on the sweatshops of Apple, Foxconn, and the electronics

industry, the toy industry is facing a deterioration of labor conditions, and workers

in this industry are facing serious violations of their rights.

Mattel, the world’s largest toy company, had revenues of $6.3 billion and profits of

$768 million in 2011. Given its profits, it would seem reasonable to assume that

such a large corporation as Mattel would treat well the workers who make its

products. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and this report stands as testimony to

the empty promise that is Mattel’s corporate social responsibility.

This report has four parts. First, we examine Mattel’s corporate social responsibility

(CSR) profile. Second, we introduce the main findings of China Labor Watch’s latest

investigative report, based on October and November investigations of four

factories producing Mattel toys. Third, we provide measures that Mattel must take

to rectify the myriad violations in these factories. Finally, we provide the individual

investigative reports for each of the four factories.

Empty promises: Mattel’s CSR

15 years ago, Mattel was one of the first brand companies to establish Global

Manufacturing Principles. For five years up to 2012, the company has been named

one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”, and for years it has

been named one the “100 Best Corporate Citizen” by Corporate Responsibility

Magazine.

Its consecutive years of honors make Mattel out to be a leader in CSR, and Mattel

certainly promotes such a view. But when we take a closer look at Mattel’s annual

reports from 2009 to 2011, we discover that not one of the 120 pages is committed

to CSR. And nowhere on its website or in its Global Citizenship reports does Mattel

provide information on the CSR compliance of its supplier factories. This emptiness

is a persistent feature of Mattel’s CSR profile.

On the Corporate Responsibility portion of its website, Mattel promises that it will

conduct unannounced audits at all directly-operated and supplier factories overseas.

Mattel also cooperates with the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI) to

conduct annual audits in all of its factories as part of the ICTI Care Process (ICP).

Mattel promises a “zero-tolerance” policy for those factories discovered to be using

child labor, forced labor, or human trafficking, and the company promises that

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