TIA Environmental Sustainability Committee Re-launched; Definitions and Best Practices Set as Priority Topics

June 10, 2014 | Sustainable metrics and materials for eco-friendly products and packaging, the development of an industry-wide definition of “sustainability,” and consumer trends and engagement on environmental issues were among the topics discussed today at the inaugural meeting of the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) newly re-launched Environmental Sustainability Committee.

Social Responsibility Webinar – June 12

The Toy Industry, Social Responsibility and the Supply Chain webinar will take place this Thursday (June 12) to provide toy companies with an overview of the leading social responsibility issues that are attracting attention from NGOs, legislators and regulators – including environmental sustainability, conflict minerals, fair labor practices/workplace safety, and slavery/human trafficking. The session is free for TIA members; $49 for non-members. Registration is now open.

As previously reported, TIA announced earlier this spring that it would re-launch its Environmental Sustainability Committee with a renewed focus on helping to monitor and impact a growing number of domestic and global environmental issues affecting the toy industry, and to assist toy companies that would like to introduce eco-friendly programs and practices at their companies and/or increase the sustainability of their products.

To aid in prioritizing the issues that would be addressed by the committee, TIA circulated an online member survey in May and early June. The following is an overview of the survey’s key results, which were discussed during today’s meeting and will continue to help guide committee discussions and objectives through 2015:

  • When asked which definition of “sustainability” most resonated with their company, more than half (53%) of survey respondents agreed that it should be defined as an activity that creates long-term value and includes “taking actions to align the production of our products to create economic, environmental and social value.”

  • When asked which areas of focus should be explored by the Environmental Sustainability Committee, nearly half (47%) of respondents ranked “consumer trends/expectations and engagement” as “Very Important.”  More than 80% of survey participants ranked “sustainable metrics/tools/materials for products & packaging” as either “Important” or “Very Important” topics to be explored in-depth.

  • When asked to identify topics for which TIA should develop an established industry-wide position, 71% of respondents said that there should be an industry-wide definition of “sustainability and/or sustainable materials, while 65% percent of survey participants said there should be an industry-wide position on product and packaging labeling.

  • When asked how TIA could provide value to the sustainability efforts of its members, 76% of respondents indicated that it would be “Valuable” or “Very Valuable” for TIA to develop and share best practices and reference materials – including benchmarks, codes of practice and toolkits. Nearly 60% of respondents indicated that it would be “Valuable” or “Very Valuable” for TIA to develop cross-industry collaborations on common sustainability interests.

During the meeting, TIA’s Alan Kaufman, SVP of technical affairs and Rachel Hedge, director of federal government affairs, staff liaisons to the committee, also provided the committee with a brief regulatory update and a consumer trend presentation. The group will reconvene in August to begin its work on developing tools, metrics, and best practices for the industry.

"We are excited to re-engage the environmental committee through TIA,” said Jennifer DuBuisson, Committee Chair and Sr. Manager of Environmental Sustainability at LEGO Group. “We hope this committee can serve as a collaborative forum where we can drive forward sustainability in the toy industry."

TIA regular members who would like to help set the strategic direction of the Environmental Sustainability Committee and build their network of contacts are invited to submit nominations for qualified candidates to serve on the committee.

Information regarding all TIA policy committees is available online.