President’s Letter:  How ICTI Works for You and Your Company

In keeping with the U.S. toy and play industry’s increasingly global view, The Toy Association is focused on effectively addressing emerging threats, regulatory pressures, and barriers to trade around the world. Our ongoing efforts are greatly aided by working with the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), the industry association for the worldwide toy industry that is made up of national toy associations from 20 countries. I can say that we’re proud and honored to be a part of this collaborative.

Many in the toy and play community may not know that a group of nations came together in 1975 to form ICTI in an effort to help protect and promote toy companies and the people who work within them. 

Since that time, ICTI and its member associations have been committed to the promotion of toy safety standards, the reduction or elimination of barriers to trade, consistency in standards, and the advancement of social responsibility in the industry. Its programs address environmental concerns, fair and lawful employment practices, and workplace safety. Internal task forces work on these issues throughout the year and action steps are agreed upon at the group’s Annual General Meeting. The last ICTI AGM was held in Sydney, Australia this past June.

ICTI is currently led by May Liang of the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, who will serve as the organization’s president through June 2018. ICTI has three area vice presidents:  David Hendy of the Australian Toy Association, representing the Asia-Pacific region; Michel Moggio of Fédération Française des Industries Jouet-Puericulture (FJP), representing the European region; and Miguel Angel Martin of Asociacion Mexicana de la Industria del Juguete, A.C., representing the Americas region.  The Toy Association is proud to serve as secretariat to ICTI.

So, what’s the difference between ICTI and ICTI CARE?

As the name implies, ICTI was responsible for the formation of the ICTI CARE (Caring, Awareness, Responsible, Ethical) Process, the name given to the toy industry’s primary ethical manufacturing program aimed at ensuring safe and humane workplace environments for toy factory workers worldwide.  As the industry’s program of choice, ICTI CARE provides a single, fair, thorough, and consistent program to monitor toy factories' compliance with ICTI's Code of Business Practices (the "Code" owned by ICTI). ICTI CARE is a separate nonprofit organization providing education, training, and a single, fair, thorough, and consistent monitoring program for toy factories.

Looking to the future

We all agree the business of toys and play is becoming ever more complicated. Companies are seeking opportunities for expansion to new markets, nations across the globe are looking to create new and independent toy standards, barriers to trade are being created, manufacturing is diversifying to more and more nations, retail structures are changing, and consumer buying habits are evolving, just to name a few.  By working together, communicating, and searching for common ground through collaboratives like ICTI, we can continue to be more effective at mastering these challenges. 

As for action steps, I submit there are two.  First, if your company is doing business around the world, make certain those national toy associations are members of ICTI.  If they are not, kindly encourage them to join.  Secondly, please support the ICTI CARE Committed Brands PLUS program by making your company a member.  The PLUS program offers toy brands and retailers a range of services, suite of tools, and a powerful supply chain management platform, to manage ethical risks at the toy factories from which you source.   

The Toy Association is hosting the next ICTI Annual General Meeting  in Nashville, TN from June 3-5, 2018.

All good wishes,

Steve Pasierb
Follow my toy and play musings on Twitter @StevePasierb