Mattel Inc

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Question One: Do manufacturers of products for children have special responsibilities to consumers and society? What are these responsibilities and how well has Mattel met them? Provide evidence of Mattel’s strengths and weaknesses in this area.

Yes. As Mattel’s products are designed primarily for children, it must be sensitive to societal concerns about children’s rights. Strengths
Responsibility towards the community
* Mattel recognizes international environment, different legal systems and cultural expectations, and the use of technology especially with regard to consumer privacy and has taken steps to strengthen its commitment to business ethics and social responsibility. * Mattel recently published its first “Corporate Social Responsibility” report, including a strong statement about its commitment to economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities which includes commitment to product safety, volunteering in a community, developing a best practice or even treating colleagues with respect and dignity. * Another way they have done this is through philanthropic events by the Mattel Foundation * The Mattel foundation promotes philanthropy and community involvement among Mattel’s employees and makes charitable investments to help children in need. It is funded through mainly pre-tax corporate profits and helps a variety of children’s issues. One of the main goals is to open a Children’s Hospital at UCLA The Foundation also supports annual fundraising events such as Children affected by AIDS Foundation (established by an HIV-positive Mattel executive, the Mattel family learning program, the annual giving campaign targeted at Mattel employees. * Within the philanthropy is a Mattel Employee Volunteer Program. Employees are encouraged to volunteer and give back to their communities and to continue its commitment to help children. * Makers of American Girl collection provided $449,500 in grants to support children’s projects as environmental education for elementary school children, various cultural programs and a performing arts series for children. * The Barbie brand debuted a worldwide cause related-program called “Barbie Cares: Supporting children in the Arts” dedicated to supporting Arts education for children funded by a $2 million donation to the Entertainment Industry Foundation.

Responsibility towards children
* Mattel communicates with parents about its corporate marketing strategy. It has taken legal special steps to inform both children and adults about its philosophy regarding its Internet-based marketing tools. On website, parents are encourages to read and follow suggestions on Internet safety by providing full explanation on how it collects information, precautions it takes to protect information, and other issues relevant to parents and children. * Mattel does not collect and keep any information online from visitors or consumers unless they are 13 and older and volunteer it. Mattel does not collect and keep personal information online from children under the age of 13 without consent of a parent or legal guardian, except in limited circumstances authorized by law and described in the policy. * Mattel adheres to Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 and the guidelines of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. * In the late 1997, Mattel’s first full ethics audit indicated that the company was not using any child labour and those contractors who were found in violation of Mattel’s standards were forced to change their operations of lose Mattel’s significant business. Mattel instituted a code of conduct called Global Manufacturing Principles (GMP) as audited by Mattel Independent Monitoring Council (MIMCO) require all Mattel-owned and contracted manufacturing facilities to favour business partners who are committed to ethical standards that are compatible with Mattel’s....
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