Shannon L. Stevens
BUS250: Corporate and Social Responsibility (ABU1441A)
Instructor: Ryan Horner
November 10, 2014
The Final Case Analysis In August of 2007, Mattel, the world’s largest toy company announced the biggest recall in its history, and the maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars, recalled nearly one million toys in the United States because the products are covered in lead paint. All the toys were made by a contract manufacturer in China. This recall is the second biggest in the year of 2007 that involved toys. More than 300,000 of the tainted toys have been bought by consumers in the United States (Story, 2007). So who is responsible for these toys being distributed and/or bought by consumers? Is it Mattel or is it China, and what could have Mattel done differently?
Do you believe that Mattel acted in a socially responsible and ethical manner with regard to the safety of its toys? Why or why not? What should or could Mattel have done differently, if anything? I do believe that Mattel did act socially responsible and in an ethical manner, because in 2007 they had to issue a voluntary recall for the toys that were made by Fisher Price products when the company found out that these toys contained too much lead (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). The company then addressed it to their overseas production facilities and took all the steps necessary to keep lead paint off of its products. This ensures quality items that are not of any danger to the children that come in contact with it. What could they have done differently? Well maybe double check the safety of the toys; not just for small parts but for certain things like lead and other harmful toxins that could affect people. They will continue to try and strengthen the safety of their products (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). Under federal rules, manufacturers with a few exceptions must report all claims of potentially hazardous product defects within 24 hours. Mattel reportedly took months to gather information and privately investigate problems after becoming aware of them (Consumer News, 2012).
Who or what do you believe was responsible for the fact that children were exposed to potentially dangerous toys? Why do you think so? In 2007, the finger pointing was towards China; which were the ones that manufactured these toys. However it wasn’t just Mattel toys; it was also tainted pet food, tooth paste, and tires manufactured there. These other items that were found hazardous to the consumers are what made lead paint on certain Mattel toys stick out. But there were other reasons that Mattel had over 17 billion items recalled, and not just lead paint (Palmeri, 2007). It seems to me that China has a lot of problems when it comes to manufacturing toys and other domestic items to the United States. I also think that even though China was the ones who were making these tainted toys, the items had to come through the United States before being sold to the consumers and should have been checked thoroughly.
What is the best way to ensure the safety of children’s toys? In responding, please consider how the following groups would answer this question: government regulators (in the U.S. and China); consumer advocates, the toy industry, children’s product retailers; and standard-setting organizations. What might explain the differences in their point of view? Mattel’s CEO; Robert Eckert stated, “The best way to ensure the safety of children’s toys is to meet their standards and ensure that this never happens again by implementing a strengthened 3-point safety check system to enforce compliance with all regulations and standards applicable to lead paint” (Lawrence & Weber, 2011). The consumer advocates and the toy industries were to conduct broader testing of imported toys and urged consumers not to overreact about the recalls. In China however; factories can use whatever kind of paint they want to use according to