Melissa & Doug, the toy company known for its more than 30-year commitment to open-ended play through its mostly wooden toys, announced today a major new sustainability initiative focused on both environmental and social measures. The initiative, called “Project Restore,” will guide the company in its existing work on environmental responsibility, social equity, and inclusion, as well as its ambitious new plan to make the world a better place.
Project Restore formalizes Melissa & Doug’s continuing commitment to its vision “to make timeless, sustainable toys for a thriving and inclusive world” and more deeply integrate sustainability culture and practices across the organization. There are three major pillars the company will continuously build initiatives against, with Thriving Forests at the forefront:
- Thriving Forests: Wood is an essential part of Melissa & Doug’s heritage and because it’s both natural and renewable, the company uses wood as an important component of its toys. To contribute to thriving forests globally, Melissa & Doug aims to make several commitments in this space by:
- Partnering with One Tree Planted, a global reforestation program that will plant a tree for every tree used by the company each year.
- Ensuring 100% of paper products and more than half of its wood products will come from sustainable, responsibly managed forests and be FSC® certified by 2025.
- Further understanding its impact on the planet and making a commitment to become carbon neutral in its operations by the end of 2021.
- Timeless Toys: Melissa & Doug will continue to focus on its mission to make high quality, fun, and timeless toys that are made to be passed down from generation to generation or shared from family to family. By keeping toys in the hands of children and out of landfills, the company makes it possible to reduce waste. Melissa & Doug is also committed to continuous packaging improvements, including source reduction, recyclable materials, use of recycled materials, and partnering with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition® to add How2Recycle information to its labeling in 2022.
- Inclusive World: Melissa & Doug will continue its alliance with the American Academy of Pediatrics to encourage open-ended play and strong parent-child relationships for all children, and inclusivity by race, gender, and abilities is a central focus. In addition, the company will aim to drive greater representation of all children across its marketing content and within its innovation program.
“We understand that children are growing up aware of issues around them like climate change and inclusivity,” says Fernando Mercé, Chief Executive Officer of Melissa & Doug. “Children and parents are searching for positivity and hope in the face of environmental and social uncertainty. Expanding our brand purpose beyond nurturing children’s imaginations to nurturing the environment is a natural step. By ensuring our products and packaging help forests thrive and contribute to an inclusive world, we lay a better foundation for restoring play and children’s futures for generations to come.”
Recognized by parents as the #1 preschool brand for sustainable toys and for wooden toys, Melissa & Doug is launching Project Restore to further build on over three decades of caring for the environment. Melissa & Doug is a leader in the industry in responsible supply chain management, using mainly sustainable materials, such as wood and paper, across most of its toys. Last year, the company was the first major toy brand in the U.S. to earn Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) certification for its new stationery line, which was independently certified by SCS Global Services. Through its alliance with the American Academy of Pediatrics, it has committed to fostering early brain development in all children, regardless of gender, race, or ability.
“We’re extremely excited about this sustainability journey,” says Mercé. “It is something that has been part of our DNA as a company for years, and now Project Restore will help us take that commitment to the next level. We know consumers look to Melissa & Doug as a leader when it comes to wooden, sustainable toys and developmental learning and we take that position seriously. We look forward to sharing more details on what we think will be game-changing actions for our company, our retailers, the industry, and our greater Melissa & Doug community of families and children.”