New partnership advances child rights in the toy industry

Published on: 11th April 2019

The Ethical Toy Program and Save the Children will work collaboratively to bring about change. 

The new partnership will broaden well-being programmes to support migrant parent workers, and will launch a webinar series exploring innovation, opportunities and best practices to support child rights in the toy industry.

Taking the Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) as a framework, Save the Children and Ethical Toy Program will engage the toy industry at a global level to expand existing programmes and identify new opportunities to maximise positive impacts on children and families throughout the toy industry supply chain.

The CRBPs are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and are aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Principles provide a comprehensive framework for understanding and addressing the impact of business on the rights and well-being of children, requiring business to respect and support children’s rights by both preventing harm and actively safeguarding children’s interests.

For more than 20 years, Save the Children has worked actively with business to advance children’s rights through advocacy, capability building, and education. The Ethical Toy Program is the responsible supply chain programme for toys and children’s products. The Program brings 15 years’ experience of raising ethical standards at factories for workers through factory certification, training and capability building courses, and initiatives to enhance worker well-being.

Since 2016, Ethical Toy Program has partnered with the Centre for Child Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR), a subsidiary of Save the Children, on programmes to support migrant parent factory workers with left-behind children in China. Together, they have established Family-Friendly Spaces (aka Child-Friendly Spaces) to reunite migrant parent workers with their left-behind children and delivered migrant parents training to strengthen the remote parenting skills of over a thousand workers.

Ethical Toy Program and Save the Children will engage the toy industry to identify further opportunities to embed the CRBPs in the toy industry. The partnership will start with a series of webinars exploring some of the aspects of how children are impacted through the life cycle of a toy and updating companies on actions they can take to respect and support children’s rights. The first webinar in the series will take place on 2nd May and will introduce and present how the Children’s Rights and Business Principles are relevant for the toy and entertainment industry, together with examples of practical actions in China.

The partnership will also see both organisations scale existing collaboration to deliver programmes to support migrant parents with left-behind children at toy factories in China. Starting from a two-factory pilot in 2016, the Family-Friendly Spaces programme will be expanded to cover 30 factories in 2019 reuniting thousand more workers with their left behind children and strengthening childcare provision for factory workers.

Charlotta Sterky, executive director Child Rights and Business at Save the Children, said: “Children are crucial stakeholders of business in their roles as consumers, family members of employees, future employees and business leaders, and as citizens in the communities and environments in which business operates. Businesses – whether large or small – therefore inevitably interact with and affect the lives of children in direct and indirect ways. We are delighted to partner with the Ethical Toy Program to support the global toy industry in its work to advance and implement the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.”

Commenting on the partnership, Mark Robertson, senior vice president at the Ethical Toy Program, added: “We are proud of the progress we’ve achieved with the toy industry to advance worker well-being in the global toy supply chain, and working with Save the Children, we look forward to extending these programs to benefit thousands more factory workers and their families. We are excited to partner with Save the Children to guide our members as they work to respect and support children’s rights through their core business strategies and operations.”


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