Telling our story in 2023 – a word from TIE’s chairman

Sanjay Luthra, TIE Chairman and Executive Vice President & Managing Director at Mattel EMEA

Toymakers recently came together at one of the great gatherings of our industry: Spielwarenmesse in Germany. We saw innovation from well-known brands and from startups. We did business. We played. And we explored the future of our sector.

Numerous conversations about the future involved government regulation that impacts our industry. At TIE we know that 2023 will be a pivotal year with a wave of new EU rules that will influence how toy companies operate.

This year the EU will update its flagship legislation on toy safety – the Toy Safety Directive. Today, it’s one of the strictest toy safety laws in the world. Any toy that meets the requirements of the directive is safe.

As reputable manufacturers, TIE members see it as a safety bible.

As the process to revise the rules begins, TIE wants to work with policymakers to ensure that the new legislation continues to be a role model in enabling a wide choice of safe, affordable toys for children.

We’ll be advocating for the EU to maintain the rigorous scientific approach on which today’s rules are based. We will continue to make policymakers aware that there are too many rogue toy traders, ignoring safety regulations. None are reputable manufacturers and none are members of TIE.

They do not care about today’s safety rules and neither will they care about tomorrow’s. That’s why we will advise the European Commission on the most effective action to weed out those rogue traders and avoid unfair burdens on reputable manufacturers.

As part of the EU’s Green Deal strategy, a range of sustainability issues will come under the spotlight in 2023.  One of these is packaging: the European Commission has proposed a revision of the packaging and packaging waste directive. This affects a multitude of sectors including toys. Our industry can really get behind actions such as a common EU label for sorting waste. We’re also advocating for the right balance between safety and sustainability.  New packaging rules should hit sustainability targets without putting the safety of toys into question.

I would strongly encourage the sector to keep a close eye on regulation. TIE has identified almost 60 current and upcoming sets of rules that involve our industry to a lesser or greater degree.  These rules cover areas such as chemicals, microplastics, eco-design, consumer empowerment, advertising, and batteries. During this period of major regulatory change, it’s crucial that the toy industry is vocal and visible. That’s why TIE actively engages with policymakers. We want rules to achieve their goals of safety and sustainability but to be successful, those rules must be workable – especially in a sector where 99% are SMEs. We must tell our story – about a sector that is innovative, that helps children play and develop, that supports European values, and that is purpose-driven.