Making a difference with social initiatives • The toy book

The IETP launched the Family-Friendly Spaces program to create child-friendly places in factories. | Source: IETP


through SARAH NG, Head of Corporate Communications, ICTI Ethical Toy Program

Many companies integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives in their corporate DNA and are looking for ideas to create an impact in these areas. You may be familiar with the ICTI Ethical Toy (IETP) program for our certification and audits that support companies by providing assurance on standards and working conditions in their supply chains. What you may not know is that the IETP is also working with many brands, retailers, factories and other organizations to develop social impact programs tailored to the needs of the manufacturing industry.

Factory workers are critical to the success of the toy and gaming industry, and the IETP has recommendations for corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that companies of all sizes and categories should consider. adopt in their value chains.

Empower workers through the voice of workers

Feedback is an important part of achieving effective improvement. A union initiative enables workers to provide crucial real-time information on working conditions inside a factory. A reliable and confidential worker voice mechanism helps uncover issues that might otherwise be difficult to raise directly with management. It is also important that workers know that their questions and concerns are recognized by established procedures.

International brands, manufacturers and standards organizations seek to create reliable communication mechanisms to increase supply chain transparency. As a result, they also seek to improve working conditions and mitigate work and reputational risks.

The IETP Worker Helpline is a trusted communication channel for factory workers. It provides free and confidential information and advice to more than 500,000 factory workers employed in more than 1,000 factories in the IETP program. Popular with workers, factories and buyers, our hotline also goes beyond the work-related issues covered by most worker voice programs to provide personal support with relationships, homesickness and health problems.

Family-friendly workplaces

While millions of migrant domestic workers in China find work in big cities, many cannot take their children with them, leaving them in smaller villages with their grandparents. Since these families often meet only once a year during the Chinese New Year holidays, migrant parents face tremendous pressure to balance their family and work obligations, especially during the peak summer season, when the parents are children are the most likely to be left unattended.

Extracurricular Centers (ASCs) remain open year round to provide a safe place for children while their parents are working. | Source: IETP

To help improve workforce stability and community needs, the IETP launched the Family-Friendly Spaces (FFS) program, which helps reunite migrant families during the summer months in creating safe, secure and well-equipped spaces in factories for children to learn. and play while their parents are working.

Over the past five years, 71 family spaces have welcomed more than 3,000 children, allowing 3,145 participating workers to spend precious time with their families. Each year, the number of factories participating in the program increases due to the positive impact of the FFS on families and the factories themselves.

After School Centers (ASCs) are factory facilities where children of workers are cared for after school until their parents have finished working. This supports local workers and migrant workers who can now bring their children with them after moving to work. Unlike FFS, ASC remains open year round, providing ongoing support and relief to working parents.

FFS and ASC have proven to be sustainable role models for businesses of all sizes, producing measurable impacts and meaningful engagement for everyone involved.

Training of migrant parents

Not all brands and factories can offer FFS or ASC to the workforce, which is why the Migrant Parent Training (MPT) program is designed for these companies. MPT offers training and support to help migrant parents overcome the stress and challenges associated with separating their children, as well as educate parents on how to provide support from a distance.

Since 2016, MPT has supported nearly 5,000 workers and their families. “I felt that in the past, communication between my children and I was often ineffective and unnecessary. After the training, I will call my children more often, talk less and listen more, ”said a participating father.

MPT is a great starting point for investing to make an impact. The duration of the program is comparatively short and the positive impacts it has on workers and their children are significant.

The worker wellness initiatives shared in this article are accessible to businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to global giants. Every business can support workers in their supply chains and positively impact the communities the business relies on.

Contact [email protected] for more information on how to join this collaborative effort.

This article originally appeared in the October 2021 edition of the toy book. Click here to read the full issue!

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