President’s Letter – January 17, 2012: ICTI CARE: A Jewel in the Toy Industry Crown

I just returned from a meeting of the Governance Board of the ICTI CARE Foundation in Hong Kong.  As TIA President, I attend these meetings as an observer, while the Board itself consists of toy industry statesmen and independent representatives of highly-regarded NGOs focused on fair labor and youth-related causes.  

I have had the pleasure of observing the work of the ICTI CARE Board since I commenced my career with TIA in 2006.  During that time, the ICTI CARE program has matured into nothing less than the “gold standard” of industry programs that aim to assure the ethical treatment of factory workers producing products sold in the U.S. market and elsewhere.  I have accompanied the ICTI CARE Board on factory tours and seen first-hand how worker conditions have improved in toy production factories over the past six years.

The ICTI CARE program originated under the auspices of the International Council of Toy Industries (hence ICTI), which is a confederation of 20 toy industry associations throughout the world.  The ICTI CARE Foundation, however, was established as an independent organization with participation and oversight from non-industry interests to assure the credibility and integrity of the program. 

The global toy industry provided nearly $5 million in capital to establish the program, but in recent years the program has become self-funding through factory audit fees paid by toy producers who want to assure their customers that they are treating their workers fairly.  TIA members and members of other global toy industry associations are required to source their products from factories that comply with the ICTI CARE Code. 

The toy industry has many things of which it may be proud, and in my book, the implementation of this successful program to assure that workers in toy factories enjoy good conditions and fair treatment is one of the industry’s greatest achievements.

Warm regards to all,

Carter Keithley