Codes of Conduct of the Toy Industry
Under pressure from consumers, campaigns and media big toy companies have developed codes of conduct during the last 10 years, which are supposed to include their suppliers.
ICTI, the International Council of Toy Industries has developed a common code of conduct for the toy industry with the ultimate aim to replace other existing codes. Such a common code would be very helpful for the supplying factories which produce for different toy brands and thus should respect many different codes. But ICTI’s Code is weak: It disregards Chinese labour law regarding the max. working hours per week, and brand-name firms arrange to get exceptions from the Chinese government to this law.
The ICTI CARE Process strives to ensure “safe and humane workplace environments for toy factory workers worldwide” (www.toy-icti.org). Toy factories that follow the required minimum standards receive the ICTI certificate.
The process works on two different levels: First on the level of brand-name companies, and secondly on the level of supplying factories.
The aim of the “Date Certain Process” is that from a specific date on, brand-name toy companies will only contract factories which participate in the ICTI CARE Process. These factories must either already hold the seal of compliance from ICTI or be in the process of certification. Currently, 674 brand-name companies are registered in the Date Certain Process. However, there is no official monitoring whether registered companies really contract accredited firms only. In the meantime, toy companies can enhance their good reputation by showing the “Seal of Commitment”.
1) Lack of transparency: The audits and monitoring are conducted by external audit-companies that are selected by ICTI, but results are not publicly available.
2) Way of awarding contracts: How can Chinese factories live up to the certification criteria when the big companies continue to impose unrealistic timelines and unsustainable prices for their orders?