SUSTAINABILITY

We strive to run our business in an ethical way. This means taking responsibility for our actions throughout the value chain and for our most important stakeholders – the children who play with our products.

Products you can trust
Our sustainability priorities are defined by what we consider material for us as a company with children as the end-consumers: making sure that our customers can trust our products and our marketing.

Our customers should be able to trust that toys bought in our stores are safe for their children to play with, meet all applicable national and international legislation and have been produced under responsible conditions for factory workers. In addition, when children come in our stores or browse our catalogues, they should not be exposed to products or marketing that could affect them negatively. For this reason, we avoid stereotyping, sexualisation and products that promote gambling, for example.

OUR SUSTAINABILITY PRIORITIES

Important priorities across our supply chain are:

Our employees and the communities we are part of are equally important to our business. For this reason, we also focus on:

Our priorities and the UN Global Compact

As part of our commitment to responsibility, we have been signatories of the UN Global Compact since 2010. As illustrated below, we consider and work with the UN Global Compact principles at all stages of our value chain.

UN, UNICEF and Save the Children have developed the Children’s Rights and Business Principles that guide us in prioritising our sustainability activities throughout our value chain. We focus primarily on:

  • Principle 1 – respect and support children’s rights
  • Principle 2 – contribute to the elimination of child labour
  • Principle 3 – provide decent work for young workers, parents and caregivers,
  • Principle 5 – ensure that products and services are safe
  • Principle 6 – use marketing and advertising that respect and support children’s rights.

SAFE PLAY

Children have a right to safe play. The safety of the children who play with our products is at the very top of our priorities.

We work systematically to integrate safety in a product’s entire lifecycle. All our products have been tested thoroughly to make sure they are safe to play with, and our toys naturally always comply with all relevant EU and national safety regulations. In the case of chemical content and for some toys aimed at children under the age of three, we set ourselves higher standards than those of the EU Toy Safety Directive.

We help support good and meaningful safety regulations by collaborating with the European Committee for the Standardisation of Toys (CEN TC 52) and the Danish Standardisation Agency. We also encourage market surveillance by relevant authorities to ensure a level playing field.

Chemical safety – our promise

We make sure our toys do not contain chemicals that are harmful to children.

All ingredients are carefully evaluated and must be approved by our product safety experts before toys are allowed on the shelves of our BR stores.

  • None of our toys contain phthalates, which are sometimes used in toys to make mainly PVC softer and more flexible. Three phthalates are banned in all toys due to concerns about hormonal effects, while three other phthalates are banned in very small toys that children may put in their mouth. In this area, we go above and beyond legal requirements by removing all phthalates from our toys.
  • We test our products to strict levels for formaldehyde.
  • Our crayons, paints, play doughs and play cosmetics never contain preservatives known to cause allergy.
  • We do not use propylparaben, butylparaben, isopropylparaben or isobutylparaben in any of our products, because they are believed to influence hormones.
  • None of our products contain more than 0.1% Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC).
  • None of our drinking bottles or lunch boxes contain BPA
  • When it comes to liquids and powders that a small child may eat, our toys contain materials safe enough for a child to eat without developing noteworthy symptoms.

Mechanical product safety – testing example

Example of mechanical product safety tests: The BR stacking soldier is intended for children from 18 months of age and has been subject to mechanical durability tests based on internationally recognised test methods.

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Tension test

Toys can suffer heavy-handed treatment by energetic children. The BR soldier has to withstand a tension test to ensure it is strong enough to withstand pulling by children. The BR soldier is attached to a pull force gauge to determine the ability of the elastic band to withstand pulling for 10 seconds at a force of 22 pounds.

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Item drop test

Another way we determine the robustness of the BR soldier is through an item drop test. The BR soldier is dropped 10 times from a height of 140cm. No small parts should break off or sharp edges be formed due to the drop.

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Soaking test

Small children often put toys in their mouth. This is why the BR soldier has to meet the requirements of a soaking test. It should be able to become wet and dry again repeatedly, without breaking, becoming unglued or fading in colour. We submerge the BR soldier in water, pull it out again, shake off excess water and keep it at room temperature. No small parts should come off after repeating the test cycle four times.

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Colour fastening test (3M tape test)

The paint on the BR soldier should not peel off during play. This is checked through a colour fastening test. We apply and remove adhesive tape to ensure the paint is firmly attached to the BR soldier.

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Impact test

Small inquisitive children often examine things by putting them in their mouth. Using an impact test, we make sure the BR solider can withstand pressure without small parts breaking off. The head and body of the BR soldier are struck by a 1kg weight at a height of 15cm.

SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE WORKING CONDITIONS IN OUR SUPPLY CHAIN

We take our responsibility to respect human and labour rights seriously. Through our social compliance programme, we work continuously to ensure our products are made under responsible conditions with respect for international human rights and labour standards. Our products are only produced by factories that have been audited in accordance with our social compliance standards.

We do not own any factories ourselves but collaborate with our suppliers to make sure the people, who make our toys, have safe, humane and healthy working conditions, where their rights are respected.

We monitor our suppliers’ performance via social audits. We screen the working conditions of all supplier factories through a step-wise approval process, and an order cannot be placed before the factory is approved. On average we screen 800 factories a year.

In 2015, we initiated a dialogue with the Centre for Children’s Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR) to assess our human rights impact in our supply chain, with special focus on young and migrant workers. We are now assessing the best way to include the learnings from this cooperation in our social compliance programme.

Our use of third party audits

Factory performance and progress audits are primarily conducted by third party auditing bodies, such as the ICTI Care ProcessSA8000 Certification and the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).

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Sourcing from Asia

Our key sourcing markets are China and several other Asian countries. Around 70% of our product volume comes from these markets, where the biggest toy producers in the world are located.

The toy industry is very labour intensive, contributing to job creation and substantial economic growth. At the same time, there are several challenges related to labour standards and human rights. By concentrating our efforts on our Asian sourcing countries, we believe we can have the biggest impact on driving factory improvements.

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ETHICAL PRODUCT OFFERING AND MARKETING

It is through our products and marketing that we directly engage with children and their families. Children experience our marketing and product offering when they browse our catalogues and visit our stores.  As children are our target group, we have an even greater responsibility to be ethical in terms of both product offering and marketing. Customers should feel confident that children will not be exposed to products that may affect them negatively, for example by sending inappropriate signals or causing emotional or physical harm. For this reason, we developed our Ethical Product Offering Policy in 2015 to define products we will not include in our assortment.

Some concrete examples of our positions:

Safe play
We offer personal protection equipment along with products such as bikes, skateboards and roller skates, for example. We also make sure that the use of relevant personal protection equipment is shown when promoting these products.

Tobacco and alcohol
We do not offer products that can be perceived as promoting the use of tobacco or alcohol. As far as possible, this also applies to the reproduction of related logos on, for example, football trading cards and model-scale vehicles.

Right impression of product features
We promote products in a way that gives children the right impression of product features. This avoids disappointing the children.

Gender, marketing and product offering

We want to give children the opportunity to wish for products and play with toys of their choice. In our experience, girls and boys often like to play with many different toys across traditional and stereotypical gender categories. This is why we always strive to give our customers the opportunity to buy and play with the toys of their own choice regardless of gender.

This principle is also reflected in our marketing, where we work to portray children playing together with products across categories, both in our catalogues and when we produce other commercial material.

We also make efforts to avoid stereotyping in our store design. In all BR stores and new TOYS”R”US stores, the sections are not categorised according to gender but according to product categories such as interactive play, creativity and learning, classic toys, baby and toddler products, and so on.

Although we work continuously to ensure we portray modern ways of playing without stereotyping, we acknowledge that this takes time and that things do not change overnight.

ENVIRONMENT

We are committed to minimising our overall impact on the environment while striving to promote environmentally responsible behaviour among our employees, suppliers and business partners. We operate in a global context where we need to focus our environment-related efforts on those areas where we can make the most positive change. Since we do not own any manufacturing or production sites, our biggest direct environmental impact comes from our distribution set-up and retail stores. Our environmental policy focuses on the following six priority areas where we believe we can bring about the most positive change: Energy and emissions, product packaging, waste, transportation, product suppliers, and investments and purchases.

Energy and emissions

We aim to reduce our energy consumption and emissions in our stores and distribution centre.

Product packaging and material

We integrate environmental concerns in the packaging of our own brands, where we have the biggest influence on product design. We focus on reducing packaging materials and using sustainable packaging material. We also use FSC® wood in our wooden products.

Waste

We work to optimise our waste management in terms of sorting and volume. As part of these efforts, we have switched to more environmentally-friendly, longer-lasting banderole foil in our distribution centre, reducing consumption by 50%.

Transportation

Most of the products we sell are manufactured in Asia. For this reason, we continue to optimise transportation from the factories in Asia to our distribution centre in Denmark. For example, we always try to avoid air freight.

Factories

As part of our social compliance programme, we conduct factory audits. Our priority is social conditions. However, if during a factory audit we observe violations of environmental legislation, we will investigate them as well. We also focus on the use of chemicals in production, both from the perspective of employee health and safety and of the environment.

Investments and purchases

We have begun re-evaluating existing contracts for products and services that we buy but do not re-sell. The aim is to ensure the highest possible quality, that costs and consumption are reduced and that environmental solutions are implemented whenever possible.

Responsible BR product lines

We have integrated environmental concerns in the development of all our new BR product lines. Packaging is made of recycled cardboard with a UV coating that ensures quality and environmental standards are met. In addition, the BR Wood product series is made entirely of FSC® certified wood. In 2015/2016, we sold more than 135,000 BR Wood products and added 15 new products to this product line.

Implementing LED lighting in our warehouse and stores

One of the most important steps we have taken to reduce energy consumption and emissions is the implementation of LED lighting in our own facilities. At our distribution centre, this has saved approximately 710,000 kWh, corresponding to 300 tonnes of CO2 a year. At our BR stores, we have saved approximately 4.4 million kWh, corresponding to a 1,800 tonne reduction in CO2 and annual savings of DKK 3.2 million.

In 2015/2016, we implemented LED lighting in eight new TOYS”R”US stores. LED lighting will also be implemented in the remaining TOYS”R”US stores in the years ahead.

ENGAGING WITH OUR COMMUNITY AND STAKEHOLDERS

We engage with our stakeholders and the wider community. Our ongoing goal is to improve our business and become more responsible. We welcome feedback from our customers and other stakeholders.

Support and collaboration

We believe that most challenges are best faced together. This is why we support initiatives that promote responsible business and collaborate with relevant organisations that work for responsible manufacturing practices at industry level or for good and meaningful safety regulations.

We also collaborate with the European Committee for the Standardisation of Toys (CEN TC 52) and the Danish Standardisation Agency.

Community investment

As part of being a responsible company, we wish to invest in the communities we are part of to help children in need and make them smile. We wish to make sure that the organisations we support get the most out of our community investment, and we believe the best way to achieve this is through long-term strategic partnerships.

From 2009 to 2014, we supported the SOS children’s villages in Nanchang, China, primarily by selling plush dogs in our BR stores. During this period, we donated approximately DKK 11.5 million. In October 2016 we launched a new partnership between the Red Cross and our BR brand. We are in the process of establishing a partnership with our TOYS”R”US banner as well.

BR and Red Cross

The partnership between BR and the Red Cross is called “Play For Life”. The partnership has been formed in the recognition that playing is important for all children, but that play is often challenged – when disasters hit, when children are fleeing their home or when they grow up in deprived families. In these situations the Red Cross actively use play to improve the well-being of the affected children. Through the partnership BR supports these activities.

The Red Cross is supported through the sales of a Red Cross teddy, where all proceeds go to the Red Cross and their work with vulnerable children in the Nordic countries and the rest of the world. In addition customers can contribute further by donating 50 DKK through a partnership donation card. The partnership also raises awareness of the importance of play and the Red Cross’ use of play in their work.

The partnership currently involves BR stores and Red Cross organizations in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. The partnership was launched in October 2016 and the partnership agreement runs for 3 years.

Find more information about the partnership on our BR-web shops in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland

Read the press release from the partnership launch here.

TOP-TOY A/S | Delta Park 37 | DK-2665 Vallensbaek Strand | Denmark | +45 4616 3656
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TOYS“R”US, the TOYS“R”US & Star design and the Giraffe design are registered trademarks of Geoffrey, LLC. TOP-TOY A/S is a licensee of Geoffre y, LLC.