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Sustainability In Licensing: Mattel Exceeds Sustainability Goals For Packaging

Mattel continues to make huge strides toward a sustainable business model, saying the company exceeded its 2020 goal to achieve and maintain 95% recycled or FSC-certified content in the paper and wood fiber used in its products and packaging.

The play and entertainment company says it managed to source 97% of its content for products and packaging from recycled materials or wood fibre certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organization working at the intersection of business, agriculture, and forests. has independently verified the results.

Switching to highly sustainable packaging is a major thrust of Mattel’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy, says Mattel’s Head of Global Sustainability, Pamela Gill-Alabaster.

“Responsible and sustainable sourcing is a critical component of our updated ESG strategy, and Mattel packaging teams implement various eco-design and circular economy principles in the development of our products and packaging,” said Gill-Alabaster. “Our focus is to develop innovative products and experiences that are better for our world by integrating sustainable materials and principles of product stewardship and circular design.”

Mattel was also recognized this week by the Forest Stewardship Council with a 2021 Leadership Award for its excellence in the use of FSC-certified products and its commitment to responsible forest management.

The accolade reflects a decade of partnership between Mattel, including its packaging and procurement teams, and the Rainforest Alliance, which has supported the Company’s engagement, worked with its paperboard suppliers, and provided valuable training to help Mattel prepare for, achieve, and maintain FSC certification.

The Rainforest Alliance also audits Mattel’s annual paper packaging and wood fiber use by source, volume, and type.

“The Rainforest Alliance has been proudly collaborating with Mattel on their Responsible Wood/Fiber Procurement Program since 2011,” said Christopher N.H. Schwarz, Manager, Corporate Advisory, Rainforest Alliance. “Through our partnership, the company has developed and subsequently improved its sustainable sourcing principles and goals, driven forward responsible sourcing practices of sustainably produced forest materials, and has ever since demonstrated steady progress towards the achievement of its set principles and goals.”

Mattel says the company recognizes the critical importance of forests’ role in reducing carbon emissions and supporting life on earth. As a result, Mattel has also launched a reforestation Tree Equity partnership with American Forests aimed at addressing tree inequity in Los Angeles, near the Company’s headquarters.

Low-income neighborhoods across the country are often situated in areas where trees are sparse, preventing them from reaping the numerous benefits trees provide. This partnership program with American Forests is nature positive and provides city-dwelling communities with an improved infrastructure of trees, aiming to improve quality of life.

The inequitable distribution of trees in cities exacerbates social inequities, the company says.  Mattel’s partnership with American Forests is in support of the company’s aim to create positive social impact through purposeful play and by supporting diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities where we live, work, and play.

As previously reported in The Licensing Letter, Mattel has made several breakthroughs over the past year in its quest to adopt a sustainable business model that protects the planet from farm.

For example, Mattel has set a goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials in all products and packaging by 2030, and has taken several important steps to achieve that ambition.

In June, Mattel launched Barbie Loves the Ocean, its first fashion doll line made from recycled ocean-bound plastic.

Earlier this year Mattel also announced a program called Drive Toward a Better Future, its product roadmap to make all Matchbox die-cast cars, playsets, and packaging with 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastic materials by 2030.

Perhaps the most important initiative, however, is a toy take-back program called Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback program designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products.

For more information about the Company’s updated ESG strategy and goals, please see Mattel’s recently published 2020 Citizenship Report.

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