Home > Cases, Trends and perspectives > Sustainability, vendor management and communication

Sustainability, vendor management and communication

KenSome months ago a short movie was published providing support to Ken (yeah, Ken…Barbie’s friend) to leave Barbie. No treason was involved in the case but deforestation. The video in fact was published by Greenpeace to sustain their campaign against Mattle policy on buying paper for packaging from suppliers that were purchasing basic materials from sub-suppliers involved in rainforest deforestation.

Rainforest deforestation

The case is an interesting example of vendor management problem: how can you be sure from where your components come? You may claim you are adopting a sustainable policy, but what is happening in your supply chain? this issue makes ir rather complex for companies to be sure about what they are communicating outside: are you sure about your behavior? The Mattel case is rather well known and in general the entire toy industry has been under deep investigation on this issues, but this is rather general problem. Another well know case appeared on HBR and focused on the same issue faced by Timberland.  The issue was due to Brazilian cattle farmers that were illegally clear-cutting Amazon rain forests to create pastures, and the leather from their cows might be winding up in shoes—including Timberland’s. The issue is again: how can you trust your supply chain?

More recently Mattel announced the definition of Sustainable Sourcing Principles. In these principles Mattel explicitly avoids to source virgin fiber from controversial sources. Similar actions have been undertaken also from other producers; for example Golden Agri Resources has committed itself to source palm oil only from reliable countries (i.e. where deforestation is not a critical concern). LEGO has similarly decided to close any relationship with APP (Asian Pulp and Paper) as long as the multinational company of paper production will not guarantee the protection of Indonesian forests.

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