compliance & Regulations
A NEW AGE OF RESPONSIBLE SOURCING TOOLS FOR TOYS ICTI CARE’s Committed Brands PLUS Program
by MARK ROBERTSON, director of communications and stakeholder relations, ICTI CARE Foundation RESPONSIBLE SOURCING IN THE TOY industry has reached an inflection point. Consumers want their favorite toy brands to act responsibly and source toys from factories with high ethical and labor standards. Expectations among regulators, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), employees, and investors are rising. A raft of recent legislation and global standards require that toy companies address key ethical issues in their supply chain. Whether a company is a small independent toy company or a global toy brand, being a company that executes high ethical standards in its supply chain creates opportunities to protect and enhance its brand. BUILDING CONSUMER TRUST WITH RESPONSIBLE SOURCING It can take many years to build consumer loyalty, which is also easily damaged. Consumers expect toy brands and retailers to behave in a responsible manner and be good corporate citizens. Part of this means sourcing from factories that comply with local laws and internationally recognized principles, guidelines, and standards. In previous years, there have been many cases where a brand’s reputation became damaged due to negative activities or controversies that took place somewhere in the supply chain. When a company engages in responsible sourcing, it shows commitment to respect human rights, the environment, the community, and the supply chain. Responsible sourcing brings various benefits, such as cost savings, increased worker retention and productivity, company reputation, compliance with the law, and competitive advantage. As the ethical supply chain program for the toy industry, ICTI CARE has a long history of helping toy companies achieve their responsible sourcing aims. ICTI CARE brings clarity on ethical supply chain issues, offering toy companies a vision and clear roadmap of
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how responsible sourcing can work for them. More than 1,500 toy brands and retailers across North America, Europe, and Asia now pledge to source from ICTI CARE Certified factories. While it’s an impressive start, ICTI CARE hopes to enable thousands of more toy brands and retailers to recognize the multiple benefits of responsible sourcing. CHOOSING ICTI CARE’S COMMITTED BRANDS PLUS PROGRAM Committed Brands PLUS is a new, simple, cost-effective, and efficient responsible sourcing solution for toy companies that provides tools to show how their supply chain performs. Specifically, it monitors toy factories and manages risks, identifies opportunities for improvement, and reports on progress. Joining ICTI CARE’s Committed Brands PLUS program is a demonstration of commitment and leadership on responsible sourcing. The service is flexible, scalable, and priced to be accessible to companies of all sizes. Committed Brand PLUS addresses the root causes of ethical sourcing issues with the following key features: • Complimentary training for factories that results in continuous improvements • Certifications that will mean no major non-compliances for buyers to resolve • A Special Investigations team responds to risks at factories • Access to investigative reports and enhanced support tackling critical issues • Stakeholder and NGO engagement The Committed Brands PLUS program offers exclusive access to the advanced ICPS Responsible Sourcing Platform, which is an easy-to-use, powerful online tool that offers businesses of all sizes everything they need to transform their supply chain management. ICTI CARE’s leading certification, auditing, and factory capability programs are specifically designed to give toy brands and retailers
confidence that supply chain standards are being met in key areas, such as labor standards, governance, health and safety, along with a host of other ethical issues of concern to them and their stakeholders. Joining ICTI CARE’s Committed Brands PLUS Program equips a company with leading responsible sourcing tools and technology to manage risk and protect reputation, and provides an opportunity to support work that improves conditions for workers in the global toy industry supply chain. By introducing clarity, simplicity, and affordability into responsible sourcing, ICTI CARE hopes to encourage many more companies to join Committed Brands PLUS. It will continue to collaborate with organizations across the board and develop tools to help toy companies go further in achieving their responsible sourcing ambitions. Further information is available at www. icti-care.org. » Mark Robertson has more than 15 years of experience with sustainability. He leads on global communications and stakeholder outreach at ICTI CARE Foundation, and is passionate about sustainability. t
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