From products based on The Child to inclusivity and sustainability, Mattel‘s President and Chief Operating Officer Richard Dickson spoke to the Toy Book about the company’s lineup for the year.

How important is sustainability for your products and packaging?
Environmental sustainability is a top priority for us. We have a dedicated, cross-functional team that is working to drive innovation to advance sustainability efforts across Mattel. In December of last year, we announced our goal to achieve 100% recycled, recyclable, or bio-based plastics materials in both our products and packaging by 2030. We have also announced two products aligned with this goal, including the Rock-a-Stack, one of our most iconic toys from Fisher-Price, which will be made from sugarcane-based plastics and packaged in 100% recycled or sustainably sourced materials, as well as Mega Bloks, our No.1-selling preschool construction product, which will feature three sets derived from bio-based resins.

Our commitment to sustainability isn’t new. Rather, it expands our Environmental Sustainable Sourcing Principles that were announced in 2011. Currently, we source 93% of the paper and wood fibers used in our packaging and products from recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) content. We have also adopted the How2Recycle label, a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public.

Consumer demand is immediate for merchandise based on viral sensations, such as The Child from The Mandalorian. What does it take to deliver products quickly without compromising quality?
It’s about being nimble. We have built an organization — from our design team to our commercial group — that can respond to business opportunities and trends with speed while ensuring we maintain the outstanding level of quality that consumers expect from us.

Mattel recently launched several new products last year that embraced inclusivity. How crucial is it to continue to offer these types of products to consumers?
It is extremely important. We are focused on designing toys that reflect the world kids see around them. Barbie is a great example. She has proven her staying power by remaining both timeless and timely, continuing to reinvent the fashion doll category through new product innovation, diverse doll options, and the celebration of female role models. Just last month, we introduced the latest in Barbie Fashionistas, a line that is all about representing global diversity by showcasing a multidimensional view of beauty and fashion.

Our approach to inclusivity goes beyond our heritage brands to include new brands, such as Creatable World, the first gender-inclusive doll line, which was named one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Inventions of 2019.

This State of the Industry Q&A response originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Toy Book. Click here to read more!