Exclusive – Toy World speaks to Carmel Giblin of the Ethical Toy Program

Published on: 26th September 2019

The non-profit is celebrating 15 years of improving the lives of factory workers across the globe. 

Carmel Giblin.

In August, Toy World publisher John Baulch, and editor Rachael Simpson-Jones, sat down with Carmel Giblin, CEO & president of the ICTI Ethical Toy Program, to find out what has been achieved since the programme launched.

“We launched in 2004, but the toy industry had actually come together in 1995, the year the Code of Business Practices was first established by the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), to set out standards that toy manufacturers and factories were expected to meet if they were supplying products to toy companies and retailers,” explains Carmel. “The Ethical Toy Program was created to ensure that the code was being assessed and implemented effectively. Nowadays, factories are far better environments than they were when we started; hours are reduced, workers are financially better off, and some of the most egregious issues, such as child labour, are now almost unheard of in the 1st tier toy industry supply chain.”

The children of factory workers play happily in a designated Family Friendly Spaces area, thanks to the Ethical Toy Program.

She continues: “As an organisation, we’ve gone from a pioneering start-up to the world’s leading labour standards programme for the toy industry. We work with around 1,300 toy companies, vendors, brands and retailers, and about 1,200 of their factories, and we’ve achieved a huge amount in improving conditions and ensuring workers are treated with the respect that they deserve.”

The Ethical Toy Program has created a string of initiatives designed to improve the lives of workers, including Family Friendly Spaces. In China, where workers often travel far from their home villages to find work in the city, children may be left behind, only reuniting with their parents over Chinese New Year. With Family Friendly Spaces, parent workers and their children can spend quality time together in safe and stimulating environments that help them develop lifelong skills.

“We’ve received fantastic feedback also from our toy brand and retailer members which partner with us to support delivery of these programmes, and we’re excited to see them grow to benefit more families in 2020 and beyond,” says Carmel.

To read the full interview, which was published in the October issue of Toy World, click here.


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