Southern California environment news and trends

Corporate social responsibility; or, Mattel finally speaks to KPCC about deforestation, APP, Greenpeace stunt

Greenpeace's Barbie Protest

Grant Slater/KPCC

Sometimes people do ask corporations to be responsible citizens. Sometimes corporations do. Outside Mattel HQ, El Segundo, CA.

I was just listening through the tape from last Friday’s Grammy corporate sustainability event one more time. Not to start a fight with myself, but after I raised questions about the responsibility we ask from corporations, I found an example where people did just that. 

You may remember that last spring Greenpeace campaigned to get Mattel to source its packaging more responsibly: that is, they wanted Mattel to stop using pulp from Asia Pulp & Paper and its associates. (See here for more from last October, when Mattel did develop sustainability rules.)

Well, when I realized Mattel was at this event, I asked Jennifer Miller DuBuisson, the company’s associate manager of global sustainability, whether the Greenpeace campaign took them by surprise. “I mean, it definitely shows where social media is today. A pretty amazing campaign,” DuBuisson said gamely, quipping about the quality of the color scheme in the protest-stunt props. DuBuisson emphasized that Mattel did not approve of the action’s potential for harm to Greenpeace protesters and Mattel employees.   

“You know it is a great lesson,” DuBuisson said, continuing, “It’s important to know that as a Fortune 500 company that makes products for children, there are expectations by shareholders. And NGOs and consumers all around that you’re In a responsible manner. And there’s a cost to doing business and an associated transparency that needs to be there.”

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