Nuremberg Association Fair Toys
Nuremberg can look back on a long tradition as a “city of toys”, and still today is a place where toys are manufactured and traded. Not least it is the venue for the annual “International Toy Fair”, the world’s biggest trade fair for the toy business. As a “City of Peace and Human Rights”, Nuremberg has reason to look closely at the often inhuman working conditions in the toy factories of South East Asia. Extremely long working hours, not uncommonly seven days per week, are often the rule there. Frequently, there is no protection against unlawful dismissal, legal minimum wages are undercut, and occupational safety measures are severely violated.
The Goals of the Alliance
Against this backdrop, several church and municipal institutions as well as human rights groups got together in 2001 and formed the “Nuremberg Alliance for Fair Toys ” in order to fight together for fair and human working conditions in toy manufacturing. Meanwhile the Alliance has also joined the “Aktion fair spielt’ (“Action Fair Play”) established by the church aid organisation Misereor and other partners.
Using study days, press conferences and public activities, “fair spielt” and the Nuremberg Alliance strive to raise awareness. The goal of their commitment is to give consumers an understanding of the situation of the workers in Asian toy factories and to promote their willingness to spend a little bit more money for human working conditions. Since currently there is no standard for “fair toys”, it is nearly impossible for consumers to find out which products satisfy minimum requirements in this respect. In order to facilitate customers’ purchasing decisions in favour of fairly manufactured toys, the “Action fair spielt” and the Nuremberg Alliance are working on documentation of the present situation and on possible improvements in Asian factories. For more information visit
The Round Table with Companies from the Toy Trade
Nuremberg wants to make its contribution to changing the insupportable conditions in Asian toy factories. In early 2002, the city’s Human Rights Office, together with the “Nuremberg Alliance for Fair Toys”, therefore established a Round Table with companies from the German Toy Trade. Today, nine leading companies and the German Toy Trade Association have become involved in this Round Table. The discussions aim at motivating companies to adopt the Code of Conduct devised by the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI), implement it with their Asian suppliers, and consent to independent auditing procedures. Measures prescribed by this Code of Conduct include maximum working hours, minimum wages and measures for health and safety at work.
Right from the beginning the goal was finding ways, together with the companies, to improve the situation for the workers in Asia. The Round Table is therefore an attempt at solving this problem co-operatively, rather than by church institutions and human rights organisations confronting companies and trade associations.
So far the progress of this attempt has been encouraging, with equally positive developments in the toy trade in the past few years, made with significant contributions from both the lobbying of the “Aktion fair spielt” and the efforts of the trade associations. More and more companies have declared their willingness to support the ICTI Code of Conduct and to have the working conditions of their suppliers in Asia examined by independent audits.
An important demand from the manufacturers’ side remains the inclusion of the toy trading companies in the ICTI Care Process.
At present the brief is mainly that those companies taking part in the certification process will implement this in a credible, verifiable and sustainable manner. There is still no transparency concerning the “black sheep” in the toy trade.
Members of the "Nuremberg Association Fair Toys“:
- “Fenster zur Welt” (Window on the World) of the Catholic City Church
- Youth Academy in the Caritas-Pirckheimer-Haus
- Catholic Workers' Movement (KAB)
- Church Development Service in Bavaria
- Lorenzer Laden (St Lawrence One World Shop) e.V.
- City of Nuremberg Human Rights Office
- Nuremberg Human Rights Centre e.V.
- City of Nuremberg Toy Museum
- Stadtmission (City Mission) Nuremberg e.V.