What is ICTI
Established in 1975, the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI) is a not-for-profit membership organization of the worldwide toy, play, games, and youth entertainment industry. Its membership is comprised of established national toy associations from roughly 20 countries; each national association has own membership made up of brands operating within its geography.
ICTI and its member associations are committed to championing the value of play at all ages; advancing standards that support the rights and well-being of factory workers; promoting responsible toy safety standards; reducing or eliminating barriers to trade; and advancing social responsibility across the industry.
The ICTI organization was formed in 1975 when toy industry representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States first met to establish a global trade association.
The primary motivation for the new association was to discuss toy safety standards being developed in the U.S. and Europe and to share best practices. ICTI was formed as a mechanism for the harmonization of standards and established a network of international toy safety experts. Among ICTI’s early accomplishments was the coordination of a world toy safety standard that harmonized work being done elsewhere. This promoted the availability of safe toys in markets throughout the world while facilitating trade between nations.
Soon after, the scope of ICTI’s activities began to widen dramatically, along with its membership. With its increasingly global network, ICTI became a forum for the industry to collaborate on a range of subjects that have been ICTI priorities ever since, including, promoting the developmental benefits and importance of play, social responsibility, ethical manufacturing principles (including those for factory safety), fair working conditions, environmental responsibility, sharing product safety concerns and recall information between nations, working to reduce trade barriers and the sale of counterfeit products, and the responsible marketing of toys.
ICTI works to promote the developmental value of play in children’s lives and also supports children’s causes. Each year, ICTI recognizes one children’s charity for its unique work to support children and their families.
Among its most notable accomplishments, ICTI has also been at the forefront of corporate social responsibility efforts, developing an ICTI Code of Conduct and an expanded ICTI Code of Business Practices for the global toy industry in the 1990s. This program was so groundbreaking that other industries and multinational manufacturing companies, used ICTI’s work as a model for developing their own CSR efforts.
The next major step forward was taken at ICTI’s 28th annual general meeting in Beijing in 2002. ICTI unanimously agreed to launch a worldwide auditing process to implement and certify the ICTI Code of Business Practices, with the goal of driving convergence, raising standards, and reducing duplication of social audits in the global toy industry supply chain.
In 2004, the ICTI CARE Foundation was created as an independent, not-for-profit organization, to oversee the implementation and certification of the ICTI Code of Business Practices.
After more than a decade of progress, the ICTI CARE Foundation unveiled a new ambitious strategic plan with updated factory assessments and ratings, a new model of engagement for toy brands and retailers, and a refreshed brand to deliver t in January 2018. The renamed ICTI Ethical Toy Program marked the next generation of the ethical manufacturing program for the toy industry.
In 2004, ICTI presented the first annual ICTI Award to Concerned Children’s Advertisers based in Toronto. The ICTI Award was created to recognize program for outstanding achievement in improving the well-being of children.
ICTI’s first code of conduct read as follows:
“The International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI) and its member associations are committed to the promotion of a safe play environment for children and to do all things necessary to achieve this in the areas of adherence to all industry toy safety standards, the observation of ethical advertising of toys and the maintenance of free and fair trade in toys throughout the world.
All member associations of the Council are subscribers to the following ICTI Code of Conduct:
- We are firmly committed to the promotion of a safe play environment for children.
- We accept completely the need for toy manufacturers to recognize and adhere strictly to national and international toy safety standards and to take prompt, effective and appropriate action should a toy safety problem arise.
- We regard as repugnant the practice of counterfeiting of toys not only as an unfair trading practice but one which may also expose children to product which does not comply with toy safety standards.
- We are committed to the principle that toy manufacturers should observe good standards in regard to the advertising of toys (for example, the U.S. Children’s Advertising Review Unit’s Guidelines or the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce Code).
- We shall strive to promote free and fair trade in toys throughout the world.
- We seek to encourage the development of toys for children who have special needs.
- We shall actively support children’s causes.”