China: Major toy brands accused of sourcing from factories with poor working & living conditions

China Labor Watch has released a report based on research into four Chinese toy factories that supply Hasbro, Disney, Mattel and Lego, as well as German makers Simba Dickie Group, Schleich and Ravensburger. The findings reveal:

  • Excessive overtime (up to 175 hours per month) and breaks below minimum duration.
  • Minimum wages that are below living costs
  • Insufficient protective equipment on site: shortage of masks and gloves and defective quality, absence of training for handling of toxic chemical materials and operation of industrial machinery
  • Living condition below decent standards: overcrowded and unsanitary dormitories and sanitary facilities
  • Insufficient social insurance and claim calculations based on understated wages
  • Lack of independent worker organizations and formal complaint mechanisms.

Read the full report here

The articles below contain comments from Disney, Mattel and Lego.

In December 2018, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Hasbro, Simba Dickie Group, Schleich and Ravensburger to respond to the allegations. Hasbro and Ravensburger responded and their responses are included. Simba Dickie Group and Schleich did not respond.


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Company non-response
18 December 2018

Simba Dickie Group declined to respond

Company non-response
17 December 2018

Schleich did not respond

Company response
13 December 2018

Hasbro's response

Author: Hasbro

Ethical Sourcing is a top priority at Hasbro. We are dedicated to ensuring every worker in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect and is working in safe, fair, and legal working conditions. Hasbro has a rigorous ethical sourcing monitoring program, which includes unannounced audits at each of our third-party suppliers. We have reviewed the China Labor Watch report and can confirm that Hasbro products are manufactured at two of the facilities mentioned, Jetta and Herald. The allegations in the report are not substantiated by Hasbro’s extensive monitoring and audits conducted throughout 2018, and both suppliers are in good standing with Hasbro’s robust ethical souring requirements. Finally, Hasbro is deeply committed to advancing female factory workers and has two programs in place across its supply chain to help them succeed both within the workplace and in their daily lives.

7 December 2018

Lego denies association with Chinese toy factories accused of 'nightmare' working conditions

Author: Chloe Taylor, CNBC

"'Nightmare' conditions at Chinese factories where Hasbro and Disney toys are made", 7 December 2018

Chinese factory workers producing toys for Hasbro, Disney, and Mattel and are being subjected to “nightmare” working conditions in the run-up to Christmas, an investigation has alleged... Investigators found there were serious violations at the factories which were endangering workers...

The report also named Danish toy production company The Lego Group to have been associated with these factories but a spokesperson from Lego told CNBC via email that the Group does not use any of the suppliers featured in the report...

Read the full post here

Company response
7 December 2018

Ravensburger's response

Author: Ravensburger

  1. Ravensburger is one of the few European toy brands whose products are 90% manufactured in its own factories in Ravensburg and Polička, Czech Republic. In-house production enables us to monitor product and service quality in the best possible way. As a paper and cardboard specialist company, we cannot manufacture all components ourselves, which is why we source 10% of our goods from China.
  2. One of the factories mentioned in the report - "Lovable Products" - supplied Ravensburger in 2018 with only a few product components, which account for approx. two per mille (0.2 %) of our total production volume.
  3. The small proportion of goods that we receive from China comes from few suppliers who have been certified by the ICTI and BSCI social compliance initiatives. They monitor the working conditions of toy suppliers in China. Ravensburger has joined both initiatives and is a co-initiator of ICTI. We are also involved in discussions with NGOs. We also disclose our suppliers to "fair spielt".
  4. We cannot yet evaluate or comment on the statements in the Toys Report 2018. In principle, Ravensburger firstly expects its suppliers to comply with fair working conditions and addresses this there. Secondly, Ravensburger expects the ICTI and BSCI social compliance initiatives, which Ravensburger has joined, to carry out flawless on-site inspections of working conditions.
  5. We take this issue seriously and have immediately made contact with the supplier and the auditing organisations. We expect a clarification of the facts and, if necessary, improvement measures to remedy the deficiencies.
  6. In summary: For generations, the business model of Ravensburger toys has been based on quality, which is guaranteed by production in our own factories. Wherever possible, we produce these toys ourselves. Where necessary, we have suppliers that are certified by ICTI and BSCI for humane working conditions and we report this also to "fair spielt".

6 December 2018

China: NGO alleges widespread abuses in four factories supplying to international toy retailers

Author: China Labor Watch

"A Nightmare for Workers: Appalling Conditions in Toy Factories Persist", 6 December 2018

...This report reveals violations found in four factories that produce, among others, for the biggest toy brands Hasbro, Disney, Mattel, and Lego but also for German manufacturers such as Simba Dickie, Schleich and Ravensburger... The report identifies the causes of poor working conditions and calls on multinational companies to take responsibility in their production facilities to combat this exploitation.

...China Labor Watch dispatched undercover investigators into four factories... Dongguan Lovable Toy Products Ltd., Dongguan Herald Metal and Plastic Works Ltd., Jetta (Guangzhou) Industries Co. Ltd., Wah Tung (He Yuan) Toy Products Ltd...

Read the full post here

6 December 2018

International Council of Toy Industries & companies respond to abuse allegations in Chinese toy factories

Author: Gethin Chamberlain, The Guardian

"Revealed: Disney's £35 Ariel doll earns a Chinese worker 1p", 6 December 2018

Undercover investigation exposes illegally long working hours and low wages for staff at factory producing toys for Disney... Mattel’s Fisher Price brand and other international toy companies.

Staff at the Wah Tung factory... said that they worked 175 hours of overtime in a month, with only one day off over that period...

Many of the biggest toy makers – including Disney and Mattel – are members of the International Council of Toy Industries Ethical Toy Program, which sets out expected industry standards intended... to improve working conditions in toy factories.

The Wah Tung factory is certified by the ETP. ...ETP spokesman Mark Robertson said: “The allegations highlighted from the... report contravene ethical toy programme’s own requirements on working hours, wages, holiday pay and annual leave. We will work directly with factories to address any issues identified...

A spokesman for Disney said the brand was a member of the ethical toy programme’s committed brands plus programme, which it used alongside others “as part of our responsible sourcing approach”.

He referred to a statement from ETP in which the council said it welcomed “any robust investigation which increases our understanding of working conditions at toy factories”.

Mattel said it had no current production in the factories mentioned in the CLW report...

Read the full post here