ActionAid's response to Mattel
ActionAid France and China Labor Watch are disappointed to see that many of the allegations in the report were not evidenced in IETP’s follow-up audits. But we are not surprised since we have pointed out repeatedly that third party audits have proven to be ineffective in uncovering many of the rights violations in the factories such as violations regarding the freedom of association, discrimination or gender based violences.
IETP’s standards are problematic since they do not align with Chinese Labor Laws. If IETP cannot even adhere to Chinese Labor Laws, this ultimately destroys the credibility of the certification program in being able to ensure that factories have ethical working conditions. In addition, China Labor Watch and ActionAid believe there are fundamental flaws in IETP’s process of conducting third party audits which do not effectively involve workers voices and fail to increase the accountability of purchasing companies.
More importantly, ActionAid France and China Labor Watch want to point out that Mattel’s participation in the IETP program does not offset its failure to respect human rights throughout its operations. This means Mattel should avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through its own activities and address such impacts when they occur. Addressing human rights violations goes beyond merely asking IETP for an audit and requires taking adequate steps for prevention, mitigation and remediation.
ActionAid and China Labor Watch are particularly concerned this year by sexual harassment testimonies from many workers. We hope Mattel will take this issue very seriously and once again ask Mattel to make its sexual harassment policy public. In addition, ActionAid France and China labor Watch ask Mattel to provide detailed information on how the company ensure this policy is implemented throughout the supply chain.
[The full rejoinder in French can be found here]