Developing a sustainable product supply chain has long been viewed as one of the most important and challenging aspects of a global company’s commitment to corporate responsibility. Makers of all sorts of consumer products – from clothing and shoes to computers and telephones – confront the human rights issues raised when a company outsources production to contract factories in less developed countries.
Weighing in on the topic on Fox Television in the U.S. last night was The Simpsons, one of the most successful series in the history of the medium. In an opening credit sequence created by street artist Banksy, the animated family is portrayed as racing home to view their own program on TV.
What they see is a grim depiction of a supply chain for The Simpsons, with animation cels of the series made by hundreds of Asian workers in a dark rat-filled factory. A child laborer dips the cels by hand into a vat of dangerous-looking chemicals. Animals are thrown into a wood chipper to create stuffing for Bart Simpson dolls. DVDs of the series are made with the help of an imprisoned unicorn. The sequence closes with a gloomy credit to Twentieth Century Fox.
According to the Guardian, artist Banksy was said to have been inspired by reports that Simpsons characters are animated in Seoul, South Korea. Al Jeans, executive producer of the series, reportedly joked: “This is what you get when you outsource.”