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Sustainability in the Toy Industry is More Than Just a Buzzword

When it comes to greening your toys, it's not just about adding a label. It's about making changes to the way your company does business—and it's about being able to show that these changes are real.

Young boy playing with a toy sailboat

April 18, 2022

According to Capgemini Research Institute, eight out of 10 consumers make purchase decisions based on sustainability. As a result, sustainability has become one of the main business strategies for major brands and retailers in recent years. The toy industry is no exception.

The need to show sustainability efforts has resulted in many brands releasing statements and articles that are often vague, irrelevant or unsubstantiated. This practice of misleading consumers about a product or service’s environmental benefits is called greenwashing and has made customers skeptical of what companies say about their products. 

A European Commission and National Consumer Authorities study found that 42% of green claims were exaggerated, false or deceptive. Consequently, several global regulatory and quasi-regulatory organizations have taken steps to help regulate and correct this situation and share guidance on the use of green claims.

The publication of the ISO 14021 standard specifies requirements for self-declared environmental claims and describes a general evaluation and verification methodology for self-declared environmental claims.

Other regulatory bodies are taking notice and action when it comes to “unfair or deceptive” advertising and have issued guidance, such as the U.K.’s Green Claims Code, to help companies avoid inaccurate statements.  

Against this backdrop, toy companies should ask: How will greenwashing affect my business? Simple: You might lose the trust and loyalty of your customers and risk fines by regulators by making unsubstantiated green claims.

Transparency is key for sustainability initiatives

Transparency requires companies to share insight about what their products contain, how they are made and their impact on the community, environment and users.

A growing number of greener product marketing programs and labelling schemes make it difficult to sort defensible claims from empty promises. That’s where UL can help. Don’t just say your toys are green: prove it!

From recycled and biobased material to recyclability rate, UL’s Environmental Claim Validation service lets you prove to the marketplace that your product fulfills environmental claims. We help toy manufacturers communicate their products' environmentally preferable attributes clearly and credibly, equipping them with a powerful tool for differentiation in an increasingly cluttered marketplace.


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