To reduce environmental impacts at its manufacturing facilities and distribution centers, Mattel has implemented several projects aimed at reducing energy and water use, shrinking product packaging, and reducing waste, according to the firm’s 2009 Global Citizen Report (PDF).
Energy-saving projects at its manufacturing facilities include the installation of an evaporative air cooler on a painting line, which saves more then 130,000 kilowatt hours per year, and energy-saving lighting units, saving 20 percent on electricity costs. The company also replaced hydraulic injection molding machines with electrical machines, saving 40 percent on electricity costs, and installed more efficient molding process, saving more than $100,000 annually in energy costs.
Mattel also substituted electrical heaters at die-cast machines with liquid natural gas heaters, saving 25 percent on electricity costs, and eliminated compressed air leaks in the plant, saving almost $70,000 annually in energy costs.
Water-saving projects include the installation of a rain water collection tank, which saves 20,000 cubic meters of water per year, and faucet replacements with more efficient models, saving almost $2,500 per year.
Mattel has developed a system to reclaim as much zinc as possible for reuse in the manufacturing cycle. The company reduced the volume of zinc ash waste by separating the ash from alloy, reducing disposal costs by 30 percent.
Mattel installed a machining oil purification system for injection molding equipment, reducing the consumption of oil and saving approximately $45,000 per year, and reclaimed almost 61 tons of excess plastic in 2008.
The Mattel distribution centers reduced electricity use by more than 30 percent by using skylights to naturally illuminate a large warehouse and using lighting fixtures only when necessary for supplemental light.
The distribution centers installed energy-efficient lighting in dock areas, set timers to control light usage and used skylights. Overall energy use for the first half of 2009 is approximately 10 percent less than that same period last year, according to the report.
In the area of transportation and logistics, Mattel participates in several initiatives including the Carbon Footprint Initiative-SEER Project, MaxLoad, the Pier Pass Off-Peak Program and the EPA Smartway Program, all designed to reduce fuel use and cut emissions.
Mattel also implemented its Full Mix Distribution Center Program, which enables the company to use more efficient routes and reduce the number of trucks and total miles products must travel from the warehouse to its retail customer. In the U.S., the distribution system has reduced CO2 emissions by 30 percent.
The company is also working to reduce the size and amount of materials used in its product packaging, increase the recycled content of its packaging, and incorporate sustainable packaging into the design of new products.
As an example, Mattel’s Barbie Thumbelina line of toys uses 100 percent recyclable cardboard in packaging and provides instructions on how to recycle.
In 2008, Mattel and Amazon.com partnered on a packaging initiative to eliminate unnecessary packaging by completely removing all materials secondary to protecting packages during shipping and warehousing.
In 2008, Mattel increased the post-consumer fiber in both its catalogs and magazines saving approx 9,100 trees. In addition, from 2006 to 2008 Mattel reduced its total paper used for the catalog by six percent.
The company’s assessment of its environmental performance from 2004 to 2008 remains generally flat, according to the report. The overall 10 percent increase in environmental impact, is attributable to the 2007 acquisition of the Radica electronic gaming business and factory. Under its present system, the baseline year has not been adjusted to reflect the acquisition.
The one exception to the general trend was an increase in the generation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by approximately 50 percent. The company attributes this to several factors, including improved data collection, shifts in product mix and the acquisition.