News Flash News
ICFAL President & CEO, Christian Ewert, led the seminar as part of ICFAL's ongoing stakeholder outreach efforts. Held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, it was organized by the Hong Kong Trade Department Council, Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Hong Kong Toys Council and Toy Manufacturers Association of Hong Kong.
Mr. Ewert cited the progress made by the ICTI CARE Process in 2012, including a 5% increase in factory commitment and a 93% increase in factory transparency. Audit redundancy was reduced by 140 fewer man-days. The ICP Helpline received 8,205 worker enquiries and handled 704 serious cases. Of the 539 factories surveyed, 72% indicated that most of their top clients recognize the ICP Seal. Mr. Ewert also spoke about the ICP Factory Improvement and Support (IFIS) Program, the new "A-60" seal class, the new ICP Participant Support Program, and the new ICP Factory Fee Schedule.
Participants, including brand, retailer and factory representatives, took an active part in the Q&A session. Most questions focused on the "A-60" seal class, the needs and costs of occupational health checks as well as the level of customer recognition of the ICP Seal.
On December 18, 2012, the ICFAL technical team, supported by the SGS Vietnam office, conducted its first factory training session in Ho Chi Minh City. The purpose was to introduce local toy manufacturers to basic ICP audit standards, procedures and local law updates.
The full-day program was attended by 31 senior managers of nine factories, plus four accredited auditors who welcomed the face-to-face training. Participants received training on five key topics:
The technical team additionally accompanied two audit firms on one shadow audit and two factory visits on December 17th and 19th. The ICP team was able to observe the performance of local auditors and to advise them on how to improve their audit quality. Factories additionally had an opportunity to learn more about ICP audit standards to achieve sustainable compliance.
In response to demand, ICFAL will conduct training sessions and meetings with factories and audit firms throughout 2013.
ICFAL hosted IRCA certified auditor training on 14-16 January in Shenzhen and will host another training session on 28- 30 January in response to increased demand by audit firms to have their auditors accredited. Twenty more auditors from three audit firms will be accredited to the ICTI CARE Process once they receive certification on completion of the program. ICFAL will additionally host refresher training on February 27-28 for accredited auditors to ensure consistent interpretation of ICP policies and standards updates, auditor ethics and professionalism, communication and skill development.
Auditors are now required to obtain a signed statement from a factory representative during the initial meeting indicating that management is aware of the main components of the ICTI CARE Process and their respective duties and obligations. To read the entire statement click here (English) or here (Chinese). To read the Emergency Action Plan for Serious Factory incidents click here (English) or here (Chinese).
ICFAL is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. P.W. Ip as Acting Director of Operations, effective 14 January 2013. "P.W. has extensive experience with the ICTI CARE Process that goes back to when he was a founding member of the Asia Technical Advisory Board that helped draft the ICP auditing protocol and guidelines. We are delighted that he has joined us," said Christian Ewert, President & CEO of the ICTI CARE Foundation.
Mr. Ip assumes, on a temporary basis, the position formerly held by Ms. Rosie Zhang, who left ICFAL on 31 December 2012 to pursue other opportunities. During her tenure, Mr. Ewert said, she greatly contributed to the progress and improvement of the ICTI CARE Process and we thank her for her valuable contribution. Mr. Ip will serve until a permanent replacement is found.
The ICTI CARE Foundation recently released its Review of ICTI CARE Process Activities 2011/12, "Advancing the ICTI CARE Process". The report outlines the solid growth of the industry's ethical manufacturing program and the steps taken to ensure children's and juvenile products are manufactured in a safe and humane environment. Click here to read the full report.
The seventeen members of the ICP Governance Board met in Hong Kong on 9-11 January 2012. Board deliberations focused on progress made in 2012, strategic planning for the next three years, expansion of the education and training programs, and ways to further engage brands about their purchasing practices and Date Certain commitments. Personnel changes were also discussed, including the resignation of Rosie Zhang as Director of Operations, Asia, and the temporary appointment of P.W. Ip as the Acting Director of Operations. He is to serve until a permanent replacement is found. The next Governance Board meeting will be of the Executive Committee in New York in April.
A reception took place the evening of 10 January at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong which allowed ICF Governance Board members to engage with and thank the ICFAL staff and Technical Advisory Council members for their contributions and to welcome new members.
The ICFAL Hong Kong office will close February 11-13 for the Chinese New Year holiday and reopen on February 14th. To ensure ICP audit quality, and for the convenience of the factories, ICFAL will hold a Chinese New Year black-out period from Feb 2- 24, during which time no audits will be conducted in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Wishing you Good Fortune - health, wealth, and happiness
Gung Xi Fa Chai (Mandarin) / Gung Hay Fat Choy (Cantonese)
|January||30-February 4||Nuremberg International Toy Fair 2013|
|February||10-13||American International Toy Fair 2013 (New York)|
|ICP Update at TIA AGM (New York)|
|Auditor Refresher Training (Shenzhen)|
|28||Auditor Refresher Training (Shenzhen)|
|March||12||Open Day Event (Nanjing)|
|13||Auditor Refresher Training (Shanghai)|
|13-15||Accredited Auditor Training (Shenzhen)|
|April||2-3||China Toy Industry Sustainability Summit 2013, (Shanghai)|
As 2012 comes to a close, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you at this holiday season. Your support over the past year has helped us expand our reach to thousands of factory staff and workers, increase audit capacity, and strengthen the ICTI CARE Process training and monitoring programs to achieve greater audit integrity, factory transparency, and better working conditions.
The toy industry has faced many challenges: rising labor and material costs plus a shrinking labor force and uneven global economic recovery. Nevertheless, we remain very optimistic for the future, and with your support in 2013, we will continue to lead in social compliance, engage our stakeholders to meet industry challenges, and successfully carry out our mission — ensuring that children's and juvenile products are manufactured in safe and humane conditions, and in a hazard-free and sustainable factory environment.
Thank you to all our employees and stakeholders and may you all have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
President and CEO
The ICTI CARE Process (ICP) will soon begin to recognize factories that achieve a 60-hour workweek within the ICP Class A Seal of Compliance. Initially intended for less seasonal industries, the A60 seal will also serve as an aspirational goal for all ICP factories. It is expected to be launched during Q1 of 2013.
The ICP's Continuous Improvement Process facilitated good progress in bringing toy industry working hours in line with international standards. Given ICP's growing involvement with the much less seasonal juvenile products industry, it has become necessary to establish the A60 standard more in line with the industry's work patterns. Since there was no reason to restrict this opportunity to the juvenile products industry, it was decided to offer the A60 standard as an aspirational goal, but not mandatory for the toy industry.
Toy buyers may request factories to move toward a 60-hour workweek, but would be expected to support this development by changed order patterns, adjusted prices, etc.
ICFAL will update its non-refundable fee schedule as well as the fixed audit man-day fees charged by the auditing firms, effective 1st January 2013. It is intended to create a fairer and simpler allocation of costs to factories and of audit man-day fees to audit firms. At the same time, the ICP is announcing its new Participant Support Program, which will spread investment in new factory and worker education and training across all participants, including brands, retailers and licensors. Detailed information can be found by clicking here.
Since the November 5th launch of the ICTI Factory Improvement and Support (IFIS) Program, different departments of the ICP team have worked closely together with INFACT and the 14 factories participating in this pilot project to ensure each of them has the same level of understanding about the program and its upcoming activities.
The IFIS Program differs from the standard factory audit as it focuses on helping factories improve their overall capacity through sustainable development. As a result, factories can either receive an ICP Seal or improve their ICP Seal classification by meeting the program requirements.
To help expand factory knowledge about the ICP program, the ICTI CARE Process team hosted a webinar for all factories in November, a meeting in Shenzhen with factories located in the south, as well as a conference call for the factories based in the north. Separate training sessions were additionally provided for the INFACT team members in southern and northern China.
By December 11th the ICP team and INFACT consultants had together visited seven factories from the north and four from the south. Senior factory managers acknowledged that the constructive suggestions they received had immediately improved their production capacity. They also cited new concepts on human resource management practices that they said would help to retain workers and reduce turnover rate.
One factory owner noted that, "I was very upset when my factory was put on probation, but after the factory visit by ICP and INFACT consulting teams, I believe we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the IFIS Program".
The ICTI CARE Process technical team was invited to facilitate training sessions organized by both Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and the Sears Holding Corporation.
Wal-Mart hosted an internal training session for 40 members of its Global Sourcing Team in Shenzhen on November 13. It focused on giving the team a better understanding of the ICP program as well as more confidence that ICP Seal holder factories in fact comply with ICP standards.
The Sears Holding Corporation hosted its Annual Vendor and Supply Conference in Shenzhen on December 12. At a morning training session for more than 140 attendees, including Sear's toy and sports equipment suppliers, the ICP team held forth on the ICP Program, its initiatives, appeal procedure, the new fee structure and the requirements to qualify for an ICP Seal.
The first ICTI CARE Process Helpline Roundtable was held November 22nd at the Four Points Hotel by Sheraton in Shenzhen. Participants included twenty-five representatives from ICFAL, labor service and hotline operating organizations, toy brands, CSR consulting firms and labor law experts.
The forum provided a platform to exchange ideas on environmental health and safety, labor rights, worker communications as well as the challenges of running the labor service hotline. The program started with a welcoming message from Christian Ewert, CEO of ICFAL, followed by an ICP Helpline Operations presentation delivered by Ms. Litchi Ling, ICFAL Training and Capacity Building, and Ms. Zhihua He, Project Coordinator for Occupational Health Consultation Services (OHCS), and finished with three panel discussion sessions.
The event was held under Chatham House Rules to encourage open discussion and sharing of information. Some of the topics discussed were:
The workers' helpline is a vital ICTI CARE Process tool for improving communications between factory management and workers and an effective mechanism to monitor factories' social compliance performance on an ongoing basis. The roundtable provided important feedback that will be used to enhance the quality of the worker's helpline service in the future.
In early November ICFAL invited member factories to participate in the 2012 Annual ICP Survey. A total of 539 respondents replied by December 7th, completing all 76 questions, a substantial increase over the 400 responses received last year.
The increased factory participation, suggestions and opinions received are greatly valued and will help to shape future thinking about the ICTI CARE Process. An analysis of the 2012 survey responses is now underway. A summary of the results will be published on the ICP website in Q1 of 2013.
|Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2013|
Jan 30-Feb 4
|Nuremberg Toy Fair 2013|
|Feb 10-13||Toy Fair New York 2013|
|Apr 2-3||China Toy Industry Sustainability Summit 2013, Shanghai|
Over the past three years, the ICTI CARE Process (ICP) has invited member factories to participate in our annual survey, which is designed to assess their expectations in the areas of monitoring, training and communications. INFACT Global Partners Ltd., an independent third party organization will, once again, carry out the survey which will be launched the first week of November.
A priority of this year's study will be to examine the impact of ICP seal recognition and seal acceptance by brands and buyers, along with the outcomes resulting from the new ICP Working Hours Policy amendment.
Factories are encouraged to participate in the survey and provide their opinions. The feedback and suggestions received will be used to advance the ICP program.
A summary of the 2012 ICP survey will be published on our website in early March 2013. Click here for the 2011 survey summary.
On 12 October, four team members from ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Ltd. (ICFAL) Operations met with INFACT Global Partners' management and about 10 consultants at their Shanghai Office in order to familiarize the consultants with ICP standards, methodologies and new policies. ICFAL welcomed the opportunity to build mutual understanding and find ways to strengthen joint research projects, to improve capacity building and enhance collaboration to advance their mutual objective of improving factory working conditions.
ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Limited (ICFAL), in cooperation with the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (TJPA), held its first ICTI CARE Process annual seminar during the 11th International Toys and Hobby Trade Fair on October 11 in Shanghai.
The seminar was attended by the Co-Chair of the ICTI CARE Foundation Governance Board, Alan Hassenfeld; the Secretary General of TJPA, Ms. May Liang, U.S. Toy Industry Association President Carter Keithley and Executive VP of External Affairs, Ed Desmond, and more than 230 representatives of toy associations, brands, ICP accredited audit firms and toy factories from various regions of China. Mr. Hassenfeld stated that "this vibrant forum provided a great opportunity for all participants to gain important insights into our plans for the ICTI CARE Process."
ICT CARE Foundation, ICFAL Operations and GIZ representatives.
Participants were briefed on challenges that factories may face during an audit by ICP-certified factory representatives, Alex Liu, of Bestway Group, and Ji Wei Bing, of Hape International. Following the seminar, 153 factory representatives were asked to provide feedback through an online survey. Of the fifty-two participants who responded, 98.1% were satisfied with the overall program. Seminar topics in order of interest were the new ICP policy requirements, how to meet ICP requirements, training and capacity building opportunities, ICF strategy development and the experiences of a certified factory. Factories additionally stated that the top three ways they would prefer to communicates with ICFAL in the future is through Open Day events that include a Q & A session, individual meetings and large scale seminars.
On September 20, ICFAL and the Shenzhen Toys Industry Association (SZTIA) hosted an Open Day event for 52 representatives from 31 factories. Ms. Rosie Zhang, COO of ICFAL, along with five technical and communication team members led, a Q&A session that focused on compensation, annual leave and audits. "These events are designed to support our goal of direct communication between factories and the ICTI CARE Process," noted Ms. Zhang.
Group photo at Open Day event.
ICFAL technical team answer questions from toy factory representatives.
The exchange helped to increase factory confidence in ICP certification with better understanding of the monitoring, capacity building and continuous improvement activities and transparency requirements.
The Executive Committee of the ICTI CARE Foundation's Governance Board met in New York City in early October to discuss the 2013-2015 Strategic Plan for the ICTI CARE Process and a new financial model to fund education and training programs. They also considered ICP progress in the Global Social Compliance (GSCP) Equivalence Process aimed at addressing the need for consistency in working conditions in the shared supply chain. The full Board will meet in Hong Kong in January 2013.
The ICTI Factory Improvement and Support (IFIS) Program will be officially launched on 5th November with 14 toy factories participating. This pilot program is co-funded by ICFAL and by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. A launch ceremony celebrating the cooperation between ICFAL, GIZ and INFACT Global Partners was held during the first ICTI CARE Process annual seminar in Shanghai on 11 Oct.
|From left to right: Christian Ewert, CEO, ICFAL; Ines Kaempfer, Director, Learning and Capacity, INFACT Global Partners; and Andreas Edele, Senior Project Manager, GIZ.|
The IFIS program addresses the most frequent instances of factory non-compliance and provides an 11-month training period to help factories remedy their shortcomings. There are five training modules:
The social accountabilities/ICP standards and worker-management dialogue modules will be developed and overseen by ICFAL.
The IFIS program is designed to go beyond the audit requirements. Its goal is to build sustainable improvement for the toy factories to either receive an ICP seal or improve their ICP Seal classification. The fee for this program is similar to the cost of two audits (excluding audit firm travel costs), and will include access to eight E-Learning sessions for all factory staff, four in-depth face-to-face training sessions for two factory staff, three onsite factory visits by HR, production and EHS experts as well as KPI tracking, ongoing communication and support (email, phone, QQ). It is an innovative program that melds the social compliance monitoring program into the capacity development of the factories.
In order to have a well-rounded assessment of this pilot program, ICFAL has carefully selected 14 factories, seven in southern China and seven in the north, that were recommended by the technical team. They are located in Shenzhen.
The ICTI CARE Foundation (ICF) has asked Shift to help it assess the implications of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights for its work. Through a combination of desk-based research and interviews with representatives of key stakeholder groups, including in China, Shift is conducting a high-level gap analysis designed to review and assess the general strengths and weaknesses of the ICTI CARE Process against the UN Guiding Principles. Through this review and assessment, Shift will develop concrete conclusions and recommendations for consideration by the management and Governance Board of the ICTI CARE Foundation, with particular attention to any education and capacity-building needs required to meet ICP's objectives. The results of the analysis are expected by year end.
|Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2013|
Jan 30-Feb 4
|Nuremberg Toy Fair 2013|
|Feb 10-13||Toy Fair New York 2013|
The ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Ltd. is pleased to report that the IRCA certified training program it hosted for overseas auditors resulted in twelve new auditors being accredited to the ICTI CARE Process (ICP). The training session, which took place June 20-22 in Hong Kong, was scheduled in response to increasing demand for auditors plus the growth of factories that are now by ICP outside of China. Audit firms from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Taiwan sent trainees. For the first time, India and Taiwan will be able to provide local auditing services.
ICP auditors are currently certified in China, Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, and are able to provide their services to neighboring countries as well. With the expansion of its teams of international auditors, ICP is prepared for future growth in overseas markets, with better local knowledge, quicker response time and lower travel costs. Please visit our website for a complete list of ICTI CARE Process accredited auditors.
Factories or companies interested in ICP overseas certification service and standards may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or local third party monitoring firms for additional information.
The Enablon database system, which is an improved software platform tailor-made for the ICTI CARE Process, went live the second week of July. This new user-friendly system will enable users to manage their work processes more effectively. "Companies live by their reputation and ability to meet ethical business standards. End products available at retailers are provided by brands and their supply chain. In this context, the ICTI CARE Foundation platform powered by Enablon helps brands and retailers get real-time visibility on their supplier's performance and level of compliance. Hence, they can follow the ICTI CARE Seal of Compliance approval process and improve the overall ethical performance of the toy industry" says Dan Vogel, co-founder and CEO of Enablon.
Factories and auditors are now being trained on the new Enablon system to guarantee a smooth transition. A full day of system training has already taken place for 26 technical mangers or project coordinators from eight audit firms in China. Overall feedback has been positive, especially with regard to the level of sophistication of the audit and data security functions.
It is anticipated that the system will have run successfully for three months by October, and that a number of audits will have been completed on the new system enabling ICFAL to utilize the data mining capabilities the system offers. Following this three month ramp up period, brands, retailers and licensors will be invited to use the different access options available to them. "The ability to offer our program partners access to this new dimension of information, especially the data mining capabilities is a very exciting development," said Christian Ewert, President of the ICTI CARE Foundation.
Now that the Enablon system has been successfully launched, the priority is to channel as much "real" workflow into it as possible over the next few months before releasing it to external stakeholders. Meanwhile, the ICTI CARE Process will remain linked to World Data to reflect each factory's Seal of Compliance status until Enablon contains sufficient accurate data for stakeholders' access.
In response to factory requests for more information about ICP procedures, ICP member factories were invited to an "Open Day" event as a way to establish zero-distance communication. Organized with the assistance of the Shenzhen Toys Industry Association (SZTIA) and Dongguan Toys Association of China (DGTA), the first events took place on June 15th and 28th, with 70 participants from 48 member factories of SZTIA and 32 from 15 member factories of DGTA.
Participants at the Open Day event.
During the Q and A session, ICP seal holding factories as well as new registers asked mostly about technical requirements and, in their replies, ICFAL staff shared the background of best practices with them. These two associations are scheduling further once-a-month "Open Day" events in 2012 according to the following table.
The ICP Operations and Technical team visited eight factories located in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces in mid-June to collect feedback about new ICP policies and to conduct Quality Control audits.
One of the visits took place at Bestway Shanghai on June 16, where ICFAL COO, Rosie Zhang, and technical staff members Rose Zhu and Pel Wong met with company vice president, Alex Liu and his team. They expressed their appreciation that three factories in the Group had achieved certification. They also commented senior toy factory managers might be better advised that they could improve their CSR performance by regularly taking part in ICP seminars and visiting the ICP website instead of using unethical consultants to conceal authentic records.
Both the ICFAL and Bestway teams agreed about the importance of worker training and factory capacity building, continuous improvement, as well as use of an external and internal helpline system. Alex stated that, "The ICP program is a valuable tool in the evolution of Chinese toy manufacturers' social awareness. The management and HR systems, together with the communication and grievance channels, help to improve competitiveness in the global market. Our team will continue to support the ICTI CARE Process and strive to become of one of the best factories in the program."
ICFAL and Bestway staff members
The Executive Committee of the ICTI CARE Foundation's Governance Board met at Runnymede, near London on 14 May, just before the ICTI Annual General Meeting held nearby in Egham. Key matters discussed included a review of the draft 2013-2015 Strategic Plan for the ICTI CARE Process, due to be presented to the full Board in January. Within that, development of a new financial model to fund education and training programs was also discussed, with a first draft due at the next Executive Committee meeting. It was agreed that, going forward, there would be two Executive Committee meetings a year - one in the spring and one in the fall -- and one full Board meeting each January. The next Executive Committee meeting will be in New York in early October; the next full Board meeting will be in Hong Kong in January; and the next Executive Committee meeting after that will be in April 2013 in New York. Final financial results for 2012 were approved and summaries of those and the meeting minutes will be published on the website.
Auditing and Monitoring
New policy updates and amendments concerning working hours, probation and termination issues effective April 1st are already showing positive effects when it comes to on-site factory transparency. Factories have welcomed the changes, which they say created a clearer understanding of what was expected of them and more opportunities for improvement. Thirty-five factories have already been granted a 'probation seal' after disclosing their genuine records to ICP.
Differences can also be seen in integrity quality control, with ten factories having been terminated for bribery attempts within a three month period. Zero tolerance of unethical behavior has been strongly re-emphasized, and the data show that factories understand that ICP takes integrity of both auditors and factories seriously. Any violations of zero tolerance will lead to immediate termination.
In addition to policy amendments and more stringent rule enforcement, we have beefed up the audit quality control process with a growing number of QC audits. In the first half of 2012, 127 QC audits were conducted for internal quality control and investigation of allegations against a factory, representing a 69% increase over the same period in 2011. The increased level of QC audits will continue throughout the remainder of 2012.
|Safer Consumer Product Summit, San Jose, CA|
|Toyzeria, Toys, License, Games and Gaming Equipments Fair,
Istanbul Expo Center, Halls 9-10 and 11
Announcement: New Factory Training
To learn more about ICFAL's upcoming factory training programs covering recent ICTI CARE Process policy updates, click on the location nearest you to view the details:
Hong Kong on April 25th (Completed: 107 factory representatives from 63 factories, and other interested parties, attended)
Nanjing on March 6th (Completed: 141 factory representatives from 72 factories attended)
Dongguan on March 13th (Completed: 262 factory representatives from 129 factories attended)
Shenzhen on March 14th (Completed: 367 factory representatives from 206 factories attended)
Our dedicated team looks forward to meeting your specific needs.
More than 400 factories participated in the Third Annual ICP Factory Survey carried out by INFACT Global Partners. The 2011 survey results provided a great deal of insight into the expectations and challenges of factories in toy and related industries that are part of the ICP program. Four key themes stood out:
Overall, it is clear that the toy industry in China continues to experience tremendous pressure from both external factors (e.g. purchasing practices, lower prices, poor economic environment) as well as internal factors (e.g. labor shortage, higher wage rates). As such, the toy industry may continue to experience further consolidation, as some factories find it increasingly difficult to operate under such conditions. To assist ICP members and supporters, the ICP will examine steps it can take to encourage a healthier balance between corporate social responsibility and business performance.
ICTI CARE Foundation President, Christian Ewert noted that, "The ongoing objective of the annual surveys is to better understand the changing circumstances and challenges that China's toy factories face, as well as how the ICTI CARE Process can meet member factories' expectations concerning monitoring, training and communication."
To read the summary of the ICTI CARE Process Third Annual Factory Survey Report, click here.
The first issue brief titled, "ICP Helpline: Successfully Addressing Factory Worker Concerns", was disseminated in April 2012. The paper lays the foundation for understanding how workers use, and various stakeholders' benefit from, the Helpline service based on data received to date. To read the entire document, click here.
Training and Education
A series of four factory training events focused on ICP policy updates were successfully carried out in Nanjing, Dongguan, and Shenzhen and completed at the April 25th session in Hong Kong. This half-day event was co-organized by the Hong Kong Toy Council and the Toy Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong and held at the Federation of Hong Kong Toy Industry office. Participants included 107 members of both associations representing 63 factories, brands and other parties.
Attendees responded positively in the post-event survey reflecting satisfaction with the presentation topics and the speakers' professionalism. One of the prominent featured speakers was Yujuan Zhai, Professor of Law, Director of Labor Law and Social Security Law Research Institute and a licensed PRC Labor Lawyer, who gave a speech on "How to improve relationships and management of employees."
At a souvenir exchange ceremony, Bernie Ting and T.C. Cheung presented speakers with a copy of the highly regarded book, "The Toy Town", which depicts the development of the Hong Kong Toy Industry.
ICFAL is excited to announce that the new Enablon GXP solution has been installed and will shortly 'go-live'. Enablon is an integrated reporting and management solution for corporate responsibility (CR), environment, health and safety and enterprise risk management solutions. It will replace the current World Data database system.
Extensive customization work has been carried out to create a new and significantly improved software platform tailor made to the ICTI CARE Process social compliance processes. This new user-friendly tool will include factory registration, factory information collection, audit scheduling, audit questionnaire completion and Seal of Compliance (SOC) compliance management along with back-office support.
From the actual go-live date until the end of June 2012, the management of the audit and Seal of Compliance (SOC) processes will be conducted under both the existing World Data and new Enablon systems. Factories and auditors are being informed about the new process and will be trained over the next few weeks to achieve a smooth changeover of the ICP database system. Once the go-live process is successfully completed, ICFAL will provide the training schedule to ICP factories and auditors.
The ICP team, supported by Enablon, will deploy the necessary resources to ensure that different users can manage the new system and work processes as easily as possible. We appreciate your patience and support during the transition period and look forward to providing an even more transparent and effective management solution.
Terry Liu joined ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Ltd. (ICFAL) in April 2012 as an Assistant Manager for Social Compliance. He is responsible for supporting the Continuous Improvement Process of ICP factories, executing the GSCP Equivalence Process and managing daily operation of the new ICP Database platform (powered by Enablon). Terry has over ten years of social compliance work experience in the toy industry having previously worked as a Senior Engineer for a major U.S. buying office and as a Social Compliance Auditor for a major U.S. toy brand. Terry received a Bachelor's Degree in Safety Engineering from the China University of Geosciences in 2006.
The ICFAL Operations office in Hong Kong is adding new positions to ensure ICTI CARE Process ethical manufacturing standards are met in toy factories. It is seeking highly motivated individuals to fill jobs in the areas of social compliance auditing (China based), technical support, database management, training and communication. To learn more about these job opportunities, click here.
|ICTI CARE Foundation Governance Board Executive Committee Meeting, UK|
|Joint INFACT and CCR CSR Training Course, Managing Student Workers,
As part of its own process of continuous improvement, the ICTI CARE Process has updated its Working Hours Policy and Probation & Termination Policy effective April 1, 2012. The key changes are focused on clarifying the existing Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) and better reflecting seasonal realities in the worldwide toy industry.
Future refinements will be made to the Working Hours Policy as needed to ensure it meets its goal of bringing all ICP factories into compliance with National labor law over a reasonable period of time. Click here to read the ICP Statement on the Working Hours Policy Amendment.
At the same time, the ICP has also updated its Probation and Termination Policy, effective 1 April 2012. The objective has been to strengthen and clarify it, building in stronger incentives for factory records transparency and factory commitment to the Continuous Improvement Program. As part of the policy update, the terms "Probation" and "Termination" have themselves been clarified, along with the zero tolerance and critical violations that would lead to them. The "Suspension" category has been eliminated in order to streamline the certification process; and the opportunity for early release from the standard 12-month probationary period after passing two consecutive Surveillance Audits has been added. Click here to read the full policy revision.
The ICTI CARE Process (ICP) works hard to ensure that toys sourced in China are produced in toy factories that meet its health, safety and labor standards for workers. As such, it welcomes the extra step taken by the U.S. Toy Industry Association (TIA) to add the following declaration to its annual membership renewal form, and to require members to affirmatively make this declaration in order to continue as a TIA member:
Our company supports the ICTI CARE Process for ethical treatment of workers and affirms that wherever that Process is operational, we source substantially all of our product (95% or more) from factories that either:
- Have an ICTI CARE Seal (Level A, B or Conditional)
- Are on probation but commit for continuous improvement within a required time period
- Are registered and awaiting audit
New members in TIA must confirm that within 12 months of joining the association they will source substantially all of their products from factories in the ICTI CARE Process in countries where the ICP operates. Further, the TIA notifies the ICTI CARE Foundation Secretariat when a company ends its membership in the Association so that, based upon affirmation of their sourcing, the Secretariat may offer the company the opportunity to continue to be listed as an ICTI CARE Process conforming company.
Other associations are encouraged to adopt the same requirements for their members.
To address the need for consistency in working and environmental conditions in an often-shared supply chain, and to allow for more focus on the resolution of the root causes of non-compliances, leading global buying companies created the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP). The ICTI CARE Process has agreed to participate in the GSCP Equivalence Process and has proceeded with the first step, the self-assessment performed by its technical staff. With the aim to reduce differences and to harmonize the two systems, ICP will explore possible amendments followed by entering in the second step, the equivalence assessment conducted by GSCP experts. The GSCP Equivalence Process will be completed in Q4.
A partnership based Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between ICFAL and the Shenzhen Toy Association at the March 14th 2012 ICP New Polices Training Session in Shenzhen. The two organizations agreed to build an equal, sustainable collaboration through transparent communication channels in the areas of communications and publishing, complaint and appeal, and ICP mail box and representative presence.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Shenzhen Toy Association will assign delegates to support ICP designated duties and present any member grievances through official letters. Both organizations agree to meet on a regular basis, hold joint events and to include regular ICP updates in the association publication to promote better transparency and understanding between both sides.
Christian Ewert noted that, "This collaboration will help enhance factory participation in the ICTI CARE Process and advance our mutual goals of improved performance and working conditions in the region's toy factories."
TÜV Rheinland was selected as a newly accredited audit firm qualified to carry out ICP certification audits beginning January 2012. Selection took place following a thorough review of the applications and proposals submitted by 15 different audit firms seeking ICP accreditation, plus a further candidate assessment process conducted by the Technical Advisory Committee, ICFAL Operations and Technical Team. This process included detailed presentations and on-site audit observation to assess the applicant's professionalism and knowledge of ICP requirements.
The ICP selects the best auditors based on their audit capacity, professionalism, integrity, audit skills and techniques, opportunities to partner with its seven ICP accredited firms and their commitment to strong professional training programs for auditors. An 'Auditor and Audit Firm Handbook 2012' will be published during Q2 of this year in order to provide updated, uniform standards, clarify audit execution and reporting policies and procedures.
The next RFP review process is scheduled to take place two years from now but could be implemented sooner depending upon the audit capacity needs of the ICTI CARE Process.
The ICP, with local support by one of its accredited auditors, conducted its first-ever audit in India in early March. The factory audited was located in Andhra Pradesh and will be recommended for a Class A Seal.
At present, ICP has expanded its audit coverage beyond Greater China into seven other Asian countries and regions including India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, certifying over 40 factories annually outside China.
Outside of Asia, ICP audits have been conducted in Tunisia with further audit requests received from Russia, Latin America, Nepal and Cambodia. These cases will be studied to determine whether further expansion is possible.
During March, three factory trainings were successfully completed in the cities of Nanjing, Dongguan and Shenzhen covering the nine major toy manufacturing provinces and regions in China. The training sessions were co-organized by the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, Jiangsu Toy Association, Dongguan Toy Association and Shenzhen Toy Association. The training concentrated on the updated ICTI CARE Process Working Hours Policy meant to facilitate implementation of the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP).
Other topics addressed at the training sessions included new ICP policies for working hours (A/B/C/Probation Seal), probation and termination, on-site transparency, zero tolerance and critical violations, wage and working hour calculation, common findings and root cause analysis.
The training programs generated widespread interest and attendance by a larger than anticipated number of participants who totaled 770 for all three events. Mattel, Walmart, Hasbro, Hallmark, Leap Frog, LEGO, Vivid Imagination, Tomy, Sainsbury and Sears were among the major brands and retailers that participated.
Two technical representatives (Charlene Lin and James Song) from UL-STR and SGS, both accredited third party ICP audit firms, gave in-depth presentations on working hours and wages as well as common findings and remediation actions in ICP audits. They specifically addressed the most common questions or difficulties factories face during the auditing process, as raised by the factories themselves.
The panelists also held a Q&A session to further enhance the interaction between ICFAL and the factories. Participants indicated strong interest in having more training sessions on the audit process, working hours and other issues in the near future. The post-training survey revealed that over 92% of the attendees were satisfied by the professionalism and contents of training materials and over 60% were happy with the interactions during the trainings.
The next half-day factory training session will be held April 25th in Hong Kong and co-organized by the Hong Kong Toys Council (HKTC). Please contact the HKTC for further information.
In February, three Auditor Refresher Training sessions were successfully conducted; two in Shenzhen and one in Shanghai. Over 130 auditors, report reviewers and technical support staff participated in all three sessions augmenting their overall knowledge of recent ICP policy updates and requirements, improving their auditing skills and enhancing their professionalism.
ICFAL and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH), a German Government-owned corporation in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development, held an International Exchange Meeting in Beijing on 16th March. Participants examined the results and outcomes generated from their Public Private Partnership (PPP) Project on "Factory worker education and capacity building in the Chinese toy industry" jointly implemented by GIZ, DVSI (German Toy association) and ICFAL. There was also an informative exchange of ideas and experiences on promoting health, safety and labor standards in labor-intensive industries, with a special focus on establishing cross-sector learning and information-sharing mechanisms among different industries.
Rolf Dietmar, Director of Sino-German Corporate Social Responsibility Project, GIZ, remarked that "The PPP Project enjoyed excellent collaboration and achieved all of its targets."
Over 28 guests from Chinese business associations, international organizations, foreign embassies, foreign chambers of commerce, and academia active in the CSR field participated at the event including presenter Ines Kämpfer from INFACT Global Partners and guests Cao Jun, Head of China Programmes, International Business Leaders Forum; National Project Officer, Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises, Jie Zhou, International Labour Organisation, Camilla Goldbeck-Löwe, Project Manager, CSR Center, Embassy of Sweden Project Officer; and Shi Weiwei, China International Center for Economic and Shan Zhan, Director, China Electronics Standardization Association. To view the program agenda click here.
ICFAL and GIZ had also previously organized another information event titled, "Advancing Social Compliance in Toy Manufacturing", which was held during the Nuremberg Toy Fair in February 2012.
|Giftionery Taipei - Taipei Int'l Gift & Stationery Spring Show|
|ICTI CARE Foundation Governance Executive Committee Meeting, UK|
|Factories Registered in the ICTI CARE Process:
(representing approximately 1.7 million workers)
|Factories with an ICTI Seal of Compliance:||
|Companies committed to Date Certain:||
(22 national toy associations, plus 9 other countries):
Announcement: New Factory Training
To learn more about ICFAL's upcoming factory training programs covering recent ICTI CARE Process policy updates, click on the location nearest you to view the details:
Nanjing on March 6th (Completed: 141 factory representatives from 72 factories attended)
Dongguan on March 13th (Completed: 262 factory representatives from 129 factories attended)
Shenzhen on March 14th (Completed: 367 factory representatives from 206 factories attended)
Hong Kong on April 25th
Our dedicated team looks forward to meeting your specific needs.
Fourteen members of the ICP Governance Board met in Hong Kong on 10-13 January 2012. The meetings began with a visit to the Intex and Hi-Tech (Bluebox) factories in Dongguan, where board members were able to see first-hand the working environment in an ICP-certified factory.
In what has now become a regular practice, the board meeting itself began with a panel discussion on topics of importance to the toy industry. This year, the subject was "The Environment in which the ICP is Operating Today," featuring Jeffrey Lam of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong speaking on the economic and regulatory environment, Dimitri Kessler of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) talking about the NGO environment and David Horlock of ITC covering the factory auditing environment. Moderated by the Governance Board's Co-Chair, Maria Cattaui, the discussion and ensuing Q&A session focused on the growing emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility in China and especially within government, the achievements of the ICP in the toy industry and the need for the ICP to communicate better -- more broadly and more frequently -- about what it has achieved. This has now been strengthened in the 2012 ICP Operations Agenda.
During the board meeting, two new members were elected: Lisa Klein of Mattel and Shi Xiaoguang, Independent Board Member of Good Baby Child Products Co. Ltd., both in the active industry category. Board discussions focused on Education and Training programs, a revision of the working hour's policy, communications efforts and strategic planning. The next meeting will be of the Executive Committee in the UK in May, followed by a meeting of the full board in Hong Kong in January 2013.
To better understand the changing circumstances and challenges that China's toy factories face, along with our member factories' expectations concerning monitoring, training and communication, ICP engaged INFACT Global Partners to conduct the third annual ICP factory member survey. More than 400 factories participated in the latest survey. Once analysis of the survey results is completed, a summary of the results, including new trends and constructive feedback by our factory members, will be published on the ICP website.
A pilot train-the-trainer program, which trained over 3,600 factory workers and managers in seven factories, was successfully completed in January 2012. The development partnership among ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Ltd (ICFAL), the German Toy Association (DVSI) and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), trained staff to provide in-factory training to their own workers using the program's methods, materials and innovative training videos focused on three content areas:
Upon completion of the program, an in-depth assessment was carried out by INFACT Global Partners. The results will be used to strengthen this ICTI CARE Process training and capacity building program which will be made available to more ICP factories in the future. For more information about the factory worker training program and how it can be used to improve social compliance, please contact the ICFAL office.
A panel discussion titled, "Advancing Social Compliance in Toy Manufacturing" will be hosted by the ICTI CARE Foundation and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on Friday, February 3rd at 9:30am at the Nuremburg Toy Fair/Spielwarenmesse Trade Show, Singapur Room, NCC OST, Level 3. GIZ is a German development agency, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Development. To view the program and register for this free event click here.
SGS conducted three Certification Audits on behalf of the ICTI CARE Process (ICP) in Sri Lanka. These were the first ICP audits in that country. All three factories were audited in mid-December and belonged to the Toy/Electronic/Printing & Packaging industry. One factory was recommended for a Seal of Compliance, the other two require a desk top review follow-up.
ICFAL's ICP technical team will also conduct its first Certification Audit in India in February with local support by a selected third party auditor.
The ICTI CARE Process participated in a multi-industry questionnaire-based workers' income and expense survey launched by Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in December 2011. The factories completed the survey before the Chinese New Year holiday, many of which responded with positive feedback and interest in the coming report that will compare results to other industries. Data entry will be completed in February 2012. The comprehensive cross-industry analysis report is expected by the end of Q1. A multi-level interaction and collaboration with factories is currently being developed through the ICTI CARE Process.
The ICTI CARE Process understands factory concerns when record inconsistencies are detected during the ICP audit process. To encourage greater transparency and audit effectiveness, record inconsistencies must be communicated to the factory before or during the closing meeting at all ICP audits beginning February 1st, 2012. Factories that choose to be transparent with third party ICP auditors or an internal technical team may provide authentic records prior to the end of the audit but with ONLY ONE opportunity. Auditors will note this in the 'Remarks' for ICP Technical Team Review. After the Operations' review, any factory that shows complete transparency on-site will be considered for the 'Probation' Seal.
Effective 1 January 2012, the name of the appointed audit firm for certified factories shall be printed on the Seal of Compliance document in both English and Chinese in a blue color.
To unify and update auditor understanding of the latest ICP auditing policies, three Refresher Training sessions will be conducted for over 130 auditors in February; two sessions will be held in Shenzhen (9 & 10 February) and one in Shanghai (date to be confirmed). Key topics that will be addressed at this training are:
Both the ICP Operations Head and the Technical Team will participate in this Refresher training. In the future, ICP will schedule the refresher training in the first two weeks after the Chinese New Year. Only auditors who participate in the refresher training may work on ICP audits in the coming year.
At this event, ICP will announce the new 'Good Performance Awards' for an ICP auditor, Technical Manager and Programme Supporter.
Two staff changes have taken place within our team.
First, Ian Anderson, a trusted and valued advisor, retired from his duties as Senior Advisor in December 2011. Ian spearheaded the development of the ICFAL Hong Kong Operations office and team from 2009 to May 2011 as VP of Operations.
Second, we would like to welcome Kevin Huang who joined ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Limited (ICFAL) as the Assistant Training and Capacity Building Manager in December 2011. He is responsible for developing training projects on socially compliant management systems, coordinating training activities and forecasting potential training demands. A key focus of the training will be to support factory management as they make positive and sustainable changes that enable compliance with ICTI CARE Process requirements, and also to support their other business needs. With seven years' prior work experience in the corporate social responsibility field, Kevin has solid knowledge and skill in social management training and health and safety assessment. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law from East China University School of Law and Politics.
In addition, we are currently recruiting for three new positions:
The ICFAL office held its annual team building event for the entire staff and their families at Hong Kong Disneyland. The full-day trip provided a great opportunity for everyone to play and enjoy some team building.
ICP Participated in ETI Survey
In December 2011, ICTI "CARE" Process participated in a multi-industry questionnaire-based workers' income and expense survey launched by Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). Through this survey, we aim to identify trends in workers' living condition and employment development. We also hope to explore issues like how much workers spend on dependents and leisure, how workers' perspective on long-term residence and employment is evolving, and the kinds of employment benefits employees would like to see from employers.
With the support from China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (TJPA) and brands, we have sent invitation letter to 50 factories, in which half in the South and half in the North. In each factory, 40 workers, 5 supervisors and 5 office staff were randomly selected by the survey software from the employee roster at the opening meeting. This is a completely voluntary-based survey. The survey result shall not affect the factories' Seal of Compliance condition and it is not an audit nor worker interview.
We hereby express our appreciation for the effort made by the factories and all involved parties. We look forward to working more with you in the year of 2012.
ICTI CARE Foundation 2010 Report Now Available
We are pleased to announce the release of our new report, "Because We CARE: Improving Labor Conditions for Workers", a Review of ICTI CARE Process Activities 2010. Click to read or download the report in English and Chinese.
New Committee Formed to Develop ICF Programs and Grant Outreach
The new Education, Training and Grants Committee, chaired by William Reese and reporting to the ICTI CARE Foundation Governance Board, had its first meeting in September. The members of the committee are Jane Nelson, Paul Rice and Auret van Heerden. This committee was established to focus fundraising efforts for the foundation's education and training programs. The committee ratified its Terms of Reference at the September meeting. Its first task is to develop a general education and training program followed by a grant outreach program.
ICTI and ICP Meet with China Government Officials
ICTI President Arnie Rubin, ICTI CARE Foundation Chairman Alan Hassenfeld, US Toy Industry Association President Carter Keithley and ICTI CARE Process President/CEO Christian Ewert went to Beijing last month to meet with senior officials at MOFCOM's Department of Foreign Trade, at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Department of Consumer Products and with AQSIQ's Department of Supervision and Inspection.
There were very constructive exchanges of information and the toy industry brought the government representatives up to date on ICTI CARE Process achievements and plans. These were the latest in a series of regular meetings conducted over the last 10 years.
ICTI Annual General Meeting Held in Hong Kong
ICTI held its 37th Annual General Meeting in Hong Kong this year. The meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Tokyo in April but was postponed and moved to Hong Kong following the tragic tsunami. At the meeting the national association leadership discussed the results of the strategic planning process and plans for implementation. The Annual ICTI Award for 2011 was presented to the Japanese Toy Library Association and to the Japan Toy Library Fund. The next meeting will be held in the United Kingdom in May 2012.
Meetings Held with Heads of China Toy Associations in Shanghai during the Shanghai Toy Fair
Constructive meetings were held by Alan Hassenfeld, Christian Ewert, Rosie Zhang and Carter Keithley with the heads of the China Toy and Juvenile Products Association and major regional associations such as Dongguan, Shenzhen, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shanghai to discuss the progress of the ICTI CARE Process, audit procedures, audit integrity and the Continuous Improvement Process. There was shared impression that the ICP is improving steadily through open dialogue, stakeholder engagement, and quality assurance. The transparent communication leveraged by the local toy associations contributes to a better understanding among the existing and potential ICP factories to enter and stay with the process.
ICP Present at Successful China Toy Expo in Shanghai
ICTI CARE Foundation President/CEO, Christian Ewert attended the China Toy Expo held in Shanghai during October. It is the largest toy fair held in mainland China and it is estimated that over the three day period, the expo, together with two concurrent events (China Kids Expo and China Licensing Show), reached a new record high attracting over 55,000 buyers, trade guests, retailers and visitors from around the world.
Organized by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (TJPA), the China Toy Expo provides a wide range of sourcing opportunities in toys, juvenile products, hobby and licensing. Juvenile products currently enjoy global buyers' market confidence and are an area in which the ICTI CARE Process will increasingly focus its monitoring activities. Mr. Ewert commented that, "It's encouraging to see that despite the rising costs of raw material and labor, Chinese enterprises are continually upgrading their product quality, innovation and market competitiveness." According to China's latest customs figures, total exports of Chinese toys reached 17.6 billion US dollars in the first nine months, a 17% increase over last year, among which ICP member factories contributed a good number.
ICP Factories Demonstrate Steady Progress and First 22 Factories Received 18 Months Class "A" Seal
There are 22 factories that have earned an extended A seal. Approximately 194 more have already obtained their A seal for the 2nd consecutive year, moving towards qualification for an 18 months extended A Seal. This required that there be no major faults, that there is full transparency as to wages and working hour practices, that the factory achieves a Class A Seal for two consecutive years and that it continuously maintain the Class A Seal. Factories that have obtained an A seal for two years, and which avoid backsliding and manage to demonstrate continued improvement over the third year, will be eligible to obtain a third Class A Seal during their third audit cycle. Factories that achieve a Class A Seal three years in a row will greatly benefit by having their audit cycle automatically extended from 12 months to 18 months, thereby reducing audit expense. We welcome the progress made by ICP factories and encourage them to maintain their positive efforts over the next year.
2011 Supplier Survey to be Launched
As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the ICP monitoring, education and training programs, the third annual ICTI CARE Process Supplier Survey conducted by INFACT Global Partners will be disseminated to factories during November 2011. This year's survey will continue to assess worker satisfaction, wages and expenses, working hours and leisure, education and training, health and safety, grievance and helpline access and the audit process but will also include more questions about the environment and sustainability. It is also expected that the final analysis will incorporate more information about industry trends.
ICFAL Hires New Technical Manager and CRM Database Support Administrator
Two new staff joined the ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Ltd. (ICFAL) team adding valuable support for the ICTI CARE Process monitoring program.
Alex Cheung joined ICFAL in November as a Social Compliance Manager, directly reporting to the COO. He is leading the audit teams in both Hong Kong and China and is responsible for overseeing the ICTI CARE Process auditing process, as well as evaluating and monitoring the performance of ICP accredited audit firms. He has acquired good knowledge in China Labor Law and EHS. He was also involved in the early development phase of the ICTI CARE Process. Alex holds a Professional Diploma of Occupational Safety and Health and a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering.
Chris Wan was also hired in November and is working as a CRM Database Support Administrator. She is responsible for providing front desk support service to both internal and external users of Enablon's database system. With many years of toy industry experience, Chris is knowledgeable about China factories and supply chain. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Contemporary English Language and a Master of Science in Global Supply.
Please join us in welcoming ICFAL's newest staff members.
ICF and CLW to Conduct Factory Worker Survey
The ICTI CARE Foundation and China Labor Watch will design a research project that will be conducted among 500 factory workers at 15 factories in China. The goal of the research project is to gain a better understanding of worker satisfaction with their factory working conditions, along with their expectations for future improvement.
The research will take into account generational and gender differences.
Questions will focus on two key areas of interest:
The interviews will take place outside of the factories.
The survey results and analysis will be finalized in October and used to inform ICTI CARE Process policy development and auditing, education, training and capacity building programs put in place to improve working conditions.
ICFAL Hires Two New Staff Auditors
We are delighted to announce the addition of two new seasoned auditors to the ICFAL technical team in China. Rose Zhu is a Senior Compliance Specialist who was formerly employed by a global auditing firm where she worked as an accredited ICP lead auditor. Tony Chen will serve as an Assistant Technical Manager and Senior Compliance Specialist responsible for managing the technical team in China. He was previously employed as a Compliance Supervisor for a major U.S. brand. Both Rose and Tony are China based, will report to the Chief Operating Officer, Rosie Zhang, and greatly enhance the Hong Kong Operation team's social compliance auditing capacity and resources. Please join us in welcoming them to the team.
Big Lots Stores Inc., the largest broad line closeout retailer in the United States, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recognizing ICTI CARE Process (ICP) certification. The ICP Seal of Compliance is now considered an approved program that satisfies Big Lots’ requirements for social compliance by toy and game manufacturers. Big Lots operates more than 1,400 retail stores carrying brand-name products from 3,000 manufacturers.
Christian Ewert, President and CEO of the ICTI CARE Foundation noted that, "We are pleased to partner with such a significant retailer as Big Lots. This cooperation will generate benefits for both organizations and help to ensure better conditions for many workers in the toy industry supply chain."
The ICTI CARE Foundation today announced that effective June 1st Rosie Zhang will become the ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Limited’s new Chief Operating Officer. For the past 5 years Ms. Zhang served as the International Compliance Group’s Director of Asia Operations with responsibility for conducting social compliance audits and investigations throughout Asia, offering regional compliance solutions, managing ICG’s Far East operations and site offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Ho Chi Minh City, along with global strategic business development. Prior to that, she was employed as the Director of Operations at ALGI where she established its Shanghai and Shenzhen offices and developed new clients and service products. She additionally worked as an attorney for King & Wood PRC Lawyers specializing in Corporate Law, M&A and Employment Law.
Ms. Zhang will work with current ICFAL programs continuing the organization’s rapid growth and further expansion of its service offerings. Her hands-on experience in social compliance monitoring, consulting work for multinational brands, licensees, importers and vendors, plus her legal expertise will make her a valuable asset in managing ICFAL’s programs and expanding its capabilities in international social compliance.
Please join us in welcoming Rosie to the team.
Effective May 3rd, the ICTI CARE Foundation Asia Ltd. (ICFAL) moved to a larger office at its current address, Suite 518 on the fifth floor. “The new premises fit in with ICFAL’s plans for further business development and expansion,” noted Ian Anderson, Vice President Operations.
Unit 518, Star House, 3 Salisbury Road,
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, H.K.
Tel: (852) 2111 2462 Fax: (852) 2111 2126
(The telephone and facsimile numbers remain unchanged.)
A summary of the ICTI CARE Process Survey Report 2010 is now available. “The goal of the survey, carried out by INFACT Global Partners (Hong Kong), is to provide a better understanding of the issues that affect working conditions in toy factories in order to continue to improve the ICTI CARE Process,” noted ICTI CARE Foundation President, Christian Ewert.
A total of 423 factory managers anonymously participated in the survey designed to gauge the economic, commercial, and social compliance challenges faced by Chinese toy factories. Key findings showed that:
Articles recently appeared in a news report on the Global Times English website (www.globaltimes.cn), supposedly describing statements regarding the ICTI CARE Process made at a meeting at the Canton Toy Fair in April. The Global Times article is totally false and could be considered libelous. Portions of the article were picked up in the USA by Toy Book and the Bloom Report.
When confronted, the Global Times admitted that there had been an “editorial error, and a serious misunderstanding of the original text (from the Xinhua Chinese website),” and apologized for the error.
The problem actually began in February, with an article regarding what supposedly transpired at a meeting between members of the ICTI CARE Foundation’s Governance Board and representatives of the Hong Kong and various Chinese toy associations. The article, which appeared in The Guangdong Toy Association’s Toy Industry publication, extensively quoted Mr. Li Zhuoming, Executive Vice President of the Guangdong Toy Association,
Mr. Li, who was also quoted in the article, stated he had never been interviewed on this subject by the Global Times and issued a statement, posted on the Guangdong Toy Association website, denying that he had been interviewed and saying he had never made any public statements of the kind ascribed to him in the article.
The Swedish Retailers Association and the supplier’s organization have joined forces to strengthen and develop the industry. The new Chairman, Magnus Stuart, stated that, “We now have a powerful organization that can work on the industry's key issues while giving us a broad interface with government, other organizations and the media. This is a big step we have taken and I am especially pleased that we have prepared the merger so thoroughly.”
“The old division between retailers and suppliers is no longer relevant. We work in the same industry, have the same goal and often the same partners. As a single entity we carry more weight behind our comments and statements,” said Lena Hedo, head of information and Editor of Swedish Toy Revue.
Klas Elm says the new organization will be even more focused on safety. “The industry wants to supply safe, non toxic, environmentally sound and ethically produced toys. The new Swedish Toy Association will become even better at helping all the industry players to take on this responsibility.”
The kick off on the 24th of February was a hit with more than 100 participants who listened to Ulrich Brobeil from DVSI talk about two German projects; the Children’s Day and Games in Schools. Catherine van Reeth, Toy Industry of Europe, spoke about the industry’s role in the European Union, Christian Ewert also provided an update on the latest developments in the ICTI CARE Process.
The audience also heard speakers from the Swedish Government, Swedish authorities, the gaming industry and also a critical Swedish NGO.
“The day was a big success,” says Klas Elm who observed that the government, authorities and media welcome one strong industry organization, instead of several smaller ones.