The majority (10) of the 17 respondents rely on certification from third-party laboratories in the country of manufacture to ensure the toys comply with relevant standards and regulations (this is common industry practice). Four do their own testing and two both require third-party certification and do random tests themselves. When the imported toys arrive in Australia, about half the respondents carry out no additional tests, while the other half do random checks.
The ICTI Care Process
This is the ethical manufacturing program set up in 2004 by the International Council of Toy Industries (of which the Australian Toy Association is a member), to ensure that manufacturers comply with the ICTI Code of Business Practice, and to help those that don’t on their journey to compliance.
ICTI maintains a 'Date Certain’ database of companies that have undertaken, from a certain date, to buy all their toys from factories that are in the ICTI Care Process (manufacturing factories that must fulfil audit requirements and be reviewed annually). Of the 453 companies currently in this database, 43 are from Australia, including four of our survey respondents; they’re listed in italics under CSR issues, below.
While the ICTI Care Process can be criticised for weaknesses in certain areas, industry-wide initiatives have generally been successful in contributing to improved labour conditions in Chinese factories and reducing the burden of audits on individual manufacturers.
The companies that filled in our survey split into three levels of commitment to improving working conditions (italics indicate they’re on the ICTI Care ‘Date Certain’ database).
Source all toys from factories that operate under a code of conduct (company’s own or ICTI Care Process)
Hasbro Australia, The Lego Group, Target Australia (for the Coles Group of Companies, which includes Kmart), Funtastic (incl. JNH, Toy & Hobby, Dorcy Irwin, Judius), Hunter Overseas, Deerfield (uses only Disney suppliers), Moose Enterprise (is committed to sourcing only from ICTI factories from 2008, but isn’t on the database).
Source some toys from ICTI Care Process factories
Kids II Australia, Russ Australia, Woolworths (uses factory selection criteria and is developing a code)
No code of conduct
All Brands Toys & Collectibles, Kids Club/Merrigold Collections, NSR/ToyMonster, Toys’R’Us Australia, Ty Australia (uses certification required by its parent company), Wheelton & Associates/Fun’n Fashion (uses mostly Disney or Mattel suppliers), Wooden Toys and Dolls Houses/Timbertop Toys.
The following 44 companies sent no response or declined to participate in the survey
AKM Toys, Britz Marketing Australasia, Childsmart, Coco Australia, Colorific, Cork MCP (McPhersons), Crown & Andrews, David Jones, Educational Experience, Global Discovery Australia, Goldie, Head Start International, Hot Topic/Zac, Hunter Leisure, IS Gift (Independence Studios), Jasnor, Jolly Australia, Just Premiums, Kaleidoscope Australasia, Kate Finn, Kids Central / ELC Australia, Learning Can Be Fun, Mattel Australia, Mega Brands, Modern Brands, Myer, Peter Fish Toys, Playcorp, Playgro, Playworks International, RC2 / Learning Curve Australia, Rocket Box, TGA Unlimited, Timat Import, TNW Australia, Toy Traders, Toy Warehouse/Trans Austral Trading, TPF (The Promotions Factory), Tree Toys, U Games, Valiant, Vimwood Australia, Wild Republic (K&M Toys), Wotabout