IETP recently had the opportunity to sit down with Bonnie Hall, former Crayola VP, to reflect on her career, changes she has witnessed in the Toy industry and her ambitions for the future of Toy & Play.
One of the toy industry’s leading lights on Quality and Social Compliance recently retired. After 24 years of service, Bonnie Hall left Crayola earlier this year. IETP had a wonderful working relationship with Bonnie, and we want to publicly thank her for her commitment to ensuring decent working standards for production workers, and for her support of IETP. Carmel Giblin, IETP President & CEO said; “It was an honour and pleasure to work with Bonnie, although we were actually in different companies it always felt like we were on the same team, working for the same objective. Bonnie helped develop the IETP program, specifically our presence in Vietnam, and we are forever grateful to her. She is much missed, but we are delighted to continue our work with Crayola, who remain as committed today as always to respecting workers in their supply chain. The entire team and I at IETP wish Bonnie a very long and happy retirement.”
We recently took the opportunity to sit down with Bonnie where she shared some reflections on her career, changes she has witnessed in the Toy industry and her ambitions for the future of Toy & Play.
I retired from Crayola in April as the Vice President of Global Quality Assurance after 24 years of service. I earned my degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University and spent the early part of my career in product development, first at Procter & Gamble and then at Crayola. In 2007, I assumed the leadership role for Crayola's Global Quality Assurance team which is also responsible for global social compliance.
As a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, social responsibility has always been important to the company and in 2007 Crayola signed on to IETP (then ICTI) as a "date certain company", pledging to require our suppliers to meet a global standard for CSR. Later, Crayola became a regular supporter by becoming a Buyer Member and funder of IETP’s Family-Friendly Spaces program and other Worker-Well Being programs, improving the lives of manufacturing workers. Personally, I view the ICTI-IETP organization as the best possible partner to help companies like Crayola achieve their goals. As we grew our relationship, I became more involved with the senior leadership of the IETP organization, working closely to address issues and provide my point of view on future needs. The partnership was absolutely critical -- I am a firm believer that no company should be outsourcing its social responsibility program. Rather, we built trust in each other that we were working toward the same end -- respect for workers.
So many changes!!! Social responsibility has gone from being an afterthought to the price of entry in the consumer goods space. With the rise of social media, there really are no secrets, so it’s essential companies have a pulse on the working conditions in their suppliers' factories. In the toy industry, the rapid diversification in manufacturing locations has certainly added complexity. At one time, having a CSR program in China was sufficient. Not anymore!
When I reflect on my career, I think I am most proud of the work we did in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam. When Crayola first started sourcing there, factories were just not familiar with the concept of social compliance, but they were more than willing to learn. With IETP as a partner, we established a strong presence to teach, coach and support new factories to help them meet our expectations. I believe we made a meaningful difference. I also had the pleasure of developing relationships with factory owners and experts in social compliance who were so strongly committed to doing the right thing.
Honestly, I'm still in the "honeymoon" phase of my retirement! I'm spending lots of time with my family, especially my three grandsons (ages 6, 4 and 6 months) and making travel plans for next year when my husband will be retired. Longer term, I'm looking forward to increasing my volunteer commitments in our community and thinking about new things I'd like to learn
Hopes for the Toy industry is a hard one…I would say keeping the commitment to respect workers while adapting to the rapidly changing supply dynamics.
Thanks again, Bonnie, from all of us at IETP, for your commitment to ensuring decent working standards for production workers, and for your unwavering support of IETP. We wish you a long & happy retirement!
The ICTI Ethical Toy Program (IETP) is a specialist responsible sourcing program. Originally designed for the needs of the global toy industry, it is now deployed in many sectors with all programs applicable to any industry. With 18 years’ experience, IETP is known for its robust Supplier Certification, remote Social Impact Assessment & Environmental Assessment, wide range of capability-building programs, and scalable worker wellbeing initiatives. We support businesses to measure and achieve their Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) objectives, mitigate labor risks and realize a safe and ethical workplace for workers, www.ethical.toys