Even as far back as 2011, the Spielwarenmesse recognised the immense importance of the topic of sustainability and set up a special show all about sustainable products. As one of the three toy trends for 2020, Spielwarenmesse presented Toys 4 Future: a variety of toys that bring children closer to the issues of sustainability and environmental awareness. This trend was very well received by visitors, exhibitors and the international press.
For us, this is one reason to give sustainability an even bigger platform in 2022 and to devote ourselves fully to this topic digitally and on site. Concisely and clearly condensed background knowledge, interesting data and facts on the subject of sustainability as well as talks by experts round off the special Toys go Green area in Hall 3A.
Together with experts, we have defined four different categories.
Made by Nature
At some time in their life, almost every child has created a new world using wooden blocks, building everything from a simple tower to a car racing track or circus – basically anything the child's imagination can think of. Wooden toys are already among the most important toys in children's bedrooms during the early childhood development phase. In addition, there are now countless other natural materials that can be used to make toys. The palette ranges from bamboo to wool and rubber via cork or corn.
Inspired by Nature
What do certain sandpit toys, diggers or dolls have in common with maize, sugar cane or wood? A strange connection, at first glance. But it is possible to produce plastics with all these renewable raw materials. Normally, crude oil, coal or natural gas are used to produce plastic. However, these fossil resources are not going to be available forever and are slowly becoming scarce. Making use of renewable raw materials protects the environment and reduces harmful CO2 emissions.
How does a wind turbine actually work? How can we help the endangered bees? And where does the rubbish in the sea come from? Whether it’s children’s books, experimental kits or board games, toys can be used to explain renewable energies, recycling and the like in a very simple and child-friendly way. You can’t start making even the youngest children aware of the topics of environmental protection and sustainability early enough.
Recycle & Create
Nature shows us that everything natural is part of a cycle. Nothing that dies remains as waste, but serves as food for other living creatures or decomposes and releases nutrients. This principle can also be applied to products: a toy would be particularly sustainable if it were made of renewable or recycled raw materials and could be recycled into new products at the end of its life. Already today, many toys are made from recycled water bottles or refrigerators, for example.
Sustainability around the world
This year, the Spielwarenmesse TrendCommittee agreed that ecological toys are continuing to gain in importance. But how important is the topic of sustainability in the different countries around the world? Our TrendCommittee members tell us:
Jane Wong is Deputy Editorial Director of TOY INDUSTRY, the largest monthly magazine for the Chinese toy industry. Based in Guangdong Province, home to the largest number of toy manufacturers in the world, she has direct access to the latest and hottest news on products, manufacturers and industry trends.
Axel Dammler is managing partner of iconkids & youth, Germany's largest specialised institute for child and youth research. He has been working with young target groups since 1992 and has since conducted numerous studies on national and international media and consumer goods markets. He also works as a consultant and has published several books in addition to more than 50 articles. His book "Pink Knights, Black Princesses" on the gender discussion was published in October 2011.
Gabriela Kaiser studied textile technology with a focus on design and worked as a designer for almost 6 years before setting up her own trend agency. Since 2002, she has been working as a trend scout and consultant throughout Germany and has since counted well-known companies from industry and trade as well as trade fairs and trade magazines among her clients. Gabriela Kaiser always keeps the entire lifestyle in mind when researching new trends.
Philippe Guinaudeau is CEO of market research companies Kidz Global and BrandTrends and has over 30 years of experience in market research. Prior to founding Kidz Global and Melipan, he was in management at NPD Group, a global cross-industry leader in consumer and retail data. There, as well as during his tenure as a consumer durables consultant at AC Nielsen, Philippe Guinaudeau gained extensive experience in the toy and games market as well as the licensing and entertainment industry in North America, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia.
John Baulch has more than 35 years' experience in the UK toy trade press. In June 2011, he founded his own trade magazine called Toy World, which quickly became the leading toy publication in the UK. It is renowned for keeping its finger on the pulse of the fast-moving toy business. John also publishes a popular weekly blog which appears every Friday on the Toy World website.
Daniele Caroli has been a journalist since 1970. In parallel with his work as editor-in-chief of the baby products industry magazine Il Giornale dell'Infanzia (1994-2018) and the toy trade publication Giochi & Giocattoli (2000-2013), he was president of the International Baby Magazines Association BCMI (2004-2007) and the International Toy Magazines Association ITMA (2008-2012). Since August 2018, he has been Editor-in-Chief of Parents' Choice, a baby products magazine published in Moscow in Russian and English.
Urszula Kaszubowska is editor-in-chief of Branza Dziecieca, the largest Polish trade journal for toys and baby articles. She is also a member of the selection jury for the Toy of the Year competition, which is held annually in Poland. Urszula Kaszubowska also has publishing experience, as she has been working for one of the largest Polish publishing houses for 17 years, among other things as publishing manager for hobby magazines.
Lena Hedö is editor-in-chief of Lek & Babyrevyn, a Swedish trade magazine for toys and baby products. She is Co-President at ITMA (International Toy Trade Magazine Association) and has more than 40 years of experience in the toy industry, most of which she spent in a family business with 13 toy shops. When the company was sold to Brio in 2002, Lena Hedö became CEO of the Swedish Toy Trade Association.
Clara Blasco has a Master's degree in Product Design and is a design and trend researcher at AIJU, the Technology Centre for Children's and Leisure Products in Spain. She has already worked as a toy designer, UX researcher and lecturer. She has more than ten years of industry experience and focuses her research on tracking user preferences and trends.
Sujin Lee is the founder and CEO of Gem Factory, with which he has implemented numerous challenging projects since its foundation in 2014. Since 2018, he has been working on a data platform project where he is responsible for product development, brand building and marketing.
Currently, Gem Factory operates the following platforms: Gem Toys (platform for marketing children's products), Kyckkyck (system for content-based data analysis) and Gembox (system for analysing trends in the market for children).
With the help of these platforms, the company links data from accessed content with purchase data and educational data to derive the latest trends.
Jackie Breyer is the editorial director at Adventure Media and Events. For 19 years, she has reported on retail and toy industry trends in the Toy Book and the Toy Insider. She has made appearances on numerous television shows and networks including CNBC's Power Lunch, NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC, China Global Television Network, Cheddar, Fox & Friends and the Netflix series The Toys That Made Us. In 2012, Jackie Breyer was awarded the Wonder Woman in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment award in journalism and social media.
Steven Ekstract is founder and managing director of Global Licensing Advisors, a media, marketing and licensing consultancy based in New York. Previously, he was brand director at Informa Markets Global Licensing Group, which includes Licensing Expo Las Vegas, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo China, Licensing Expo Japan, the Licensing Leadership Summit and License Global, the leading information service for the global licensing industry. Steven Ekstract was also the founder and Group Publisher of License Global magazine, the premier publication for the global licensing business. He speaks regularly on licensing topics at conferences around the world and has authored Licensing for Dummies, an introduction to licensing published in paperback by John Wiley & Sons.
Reyne Rice is always on the lookout for the latest toy trends worldwide. She is vice-chair of ITMA, works as a journalist and as an editor and author of numerous international publications. Reyne Rice serves as a consultant, broadcaster, speaker, industry analyst and jury member on numerous committees. She attends 24 trade shows worldwide each year to track and report on the latest and most important trends in toys & games, entertainment and licensing, and technology for children and families. Since 2003, she has been the owner of the Toy Trends consultancy in New York.