80% of global toy market still not answering the call for better sustainability, says new whitepap



Despite the increase in awareness and consumer demand for better sustainability within the global toy industry, a startling 81 per cent of the market remains unmoved by the call to improve their commitment to the cause.

A new whitepaper produced to support the industry on its quest for sustainability has found that the majority of the market has shown zero or only anecdotal commitment or action towards its sustainability measures, despite recognition that action is ‘vital to success.’

Titled Changing the World Toy by Toy, the whitepaper has been written by the Impact and Sustainability consultant, Sonia Sanchez as a comprehensive study into toy industry sustainability efforts, based on the analysis of around 120 toy brands and their public sustainability reports, as well as toy industry media, surveys of 15 companies, and a series of expert interviews.

Among the results, the whitepaper has found that while 93 per cent of toy companies interviewed recognise that managing their impact was ‘very important’ or ‘vital’ for their success, only 13 per cent display a ‘comprehensive sustainability strategy.’

It found that six per cent of companies involved state a ‘solid commitment, but lack transparency’ on their sustainability strategy, while a staggering 81 per cent show zero or only anecdotal commitment towards to the cause.

Among the main challenges facing many of the companies in the toy market in attaining sustainability measures are things like ‘lack of solid sustainability strategy’ and the ‘scarcity and cost of sustainale materials.’ Highlighted by the whitepaper is the matter than many business models ‘promote overproduction and over consumption,’ while many are operating on tight margins.

However, the free whitepaper – available to download here – does highlight that the toy industry is seeing an emergence of purpose-led companies that have made it their mission to contribute to solving specific social and environmental challenges.

A professional in the childcare equipment industry for many years, Sanchez has played integral roles in the marketing and development of new products designed in Europe and manufactured in Asia. Recent years have seen Sanchez turn her attention to consultancy in a bid to help brands develop better sustainability around their products.

“Changing the World Toy By Toy seeks to encourage an open conversation within the toy industry,” Sanchez told ToyNews.

“It wants to acknowledge all the joy and learning opportunities that toys bring to children’s lives while putting the cards on the table and pointing to the issues that harm people and the planet:   overproduction, fast-moving trends, low recyclability and fostering the conditions for labour rights abuses, among others.

“The potential of toy brands to promote social change is enormous and absolutely exciting. The first step in the journey is to openly acknowledge what needs to change. The great news is that customers are eager for genuine purpose-led brands.”