UN Sustainable Development Goals

Mark Robertson, Senior Vice President, Communications & Stakeholder Engagement, Ethical Toy Program

Formally adopted at the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encompass seventeen goals focused on transforming the global economy so it works without violating workers’ rights and harming the environment.

The SDGs call on businesses to work in partnership with governments and civil society to be part of the solution to a broad range of sustainability issues - from labor standards to inequality, social justice to climate change, gender equality to environmental issues.

The SDGs are for businesses of all sizes, across all sectors, and are particularly relevant for those managing an international supply chain. For toy brands, retailers and manufacturers, the SDGs offer a platform from which to drive performance on sustainability issues and inspire supply chain partners to get on board with responsible sourcing commitments.

Whilst some of the SDGs are sector specific, many are of relevance to the toy industry supply chain. For example, Goal Eight includes targets to achieve full employment for all, protect labor rights and tackle the NEET (people not in education, employment or training) crisis. It also requires that economic growth be decoupled from environmental degradation.

The targets set out by the SDGs are an opportunity for toy companies to position themselves to make a positive difference over the coming decades, either by benchmarking the SDGs against their existing company policies and practices, or using the SDGs to inform responsible sourcing strategy development.  

To narrow down which goals your company can tackle, start by looking at your supply chain to understand where the weaknesses are around each of the seventeen Goals, then identify the targets that are most relevant to your manufacturing base.

ICTI CARE Certification already covers many of the sustainability and development issues included in the SDGs. Toy brands, retailers and manufacturers can work, via our program, towards implementation of the Goals. We will consider the SDGs as part of a broader strategic benchmark review of the ICTI CARE program which is currently underway.