Zuru Toys details plans to make all Five Surprise products from recycled plastics

Zuru Toys has revealed plans to make its two largest global brands under the Five Surprise banner – Mini Brands and Mini Toys – 100 per cent virgin plastic free.

Its latest stride in the company’s ongoing mission for better sustainability measures and a reduction of its own carbon footprint on the planet, the global toy maker has today confirmed that it will be introducing 100 per cent certified, traceable recycled plastic across the brands.

The announcement was made during last week’s Sustainability in Licensing Conference, an online event focusing on the sustainability developments and measures of some of the world’s leading brands names and retailers.

Speaking at the conference, Zuru’s co-founder and CEO, detailed the company’s move to implement new sustainability measures across its leading Five Surprise brands: Five Surprise Mini Brands, and Five Surprise Mini Toys, the number one and number five toy brands in the US markets, respectively.

The move will prevent an estimated 180 tonnes of virgin plastics from entering the environment and will match the recent environmental moves made across its wildly popular Bunch O Balloons brand. Combined, the latest measures will prevent around 3,000 tonnes of virgin plastics from entering the environment.

“Sustainability is a big passion of mine, and is crucial to the longevity and prosperity of all companies,” said Anna Mowbray, CEO and co-founder of Zuru Toys. “It’s not only important to me in business, but also as the parent of young children who are growing up to inherit all that lay down.

“Bunch O Balloons had been our biggest transition towards sustainability within our products to date, but I am super excited to announce our most recent initiative in this space, introducing measures to make every single unit across our Five Surprise brands entirely from certified, traceable recycled plastic.”

Zuru Toys has taken the sustainability message to the next level in recent months with the first roll out of its ‘summer just got greener’ campaign for its leading seasonal product, Bunch O Balloons, highlighting the company’s move to more sustainable production methods by using 100 per cent certified and traceable recycled plastics to make its stems and caps.

The company also switched its balloon pieces to be made from natural rubber (derived from plants).

The original goal was to remove 500 tonnes of virgin plastics from entering the environment, but Zuru subsequently doubled the number of its original target this summer season.

Mowbray added: “Our goals for the future are mapped out across manufacturing, packaging, product, and the supply chain, and include key components such as making our packaging across all ranges 100 per cent recyclable, transitioning three major brands to 100 per cent recycled plastic and packaging, and all of this we want to do by 2025.”

SILC21 | The Insights Family: “Kids are becoming leaders in sustainable consumption”

Children’s consumption habits are changing and a new generation of consumers are looking to become leaders in shopping sustainably, is the message to emerge from day one of two of this week’s Sustainability in Licensing Conference.

An opening presentation given by The Insights Family’s chief product officer, Jonathan Watson, highlighted that today’s children will be the next leaders in sustainability, and that it was the responsibility of the kids’ entertainment industry to “empower them to do so.”

The two day Sustainability in Licensing Conference (SILC21) kicked off on Thursday, June 24th with a line up of representatives and change makers from across industries, including those from The Eden Project, Tesco, and George at Asda among others, each showcasing the latest developments in the nationwide (and global) drive for better sustainability practices within the business of consumer products.

The session was opened with a presentation from the insights and family intelligence specialist, The Insight Family who offered a deep dive into the most recent data from across the global markets on the children’s and family sector’s relationship with the topic of environmentalism and sustainability.

Key to the presentation were findings around children’s growing understanding of the sustainability conversation, highlighting that it was now a global concern for kids aged six to 12, and that this was filtering down to spending habits today.

Currently over 45 per cent of children aged six to 18 in the UK say they would spend more on something that is environmentally friendly or sustainable. At the same time, youngsters are engaging with the topic far more actively across social media platforms such as Twtich and Discord as they seek out like-minded individuals to talk about the topics.

“Far from being passive observers, kids are thinking about their purchases more than ever, and becoming leaders in sustainable consumption,” said Watson. “Many are now willing to pay an increased price, showing how building sustainability into your business can not only result in increased brand advocacy and financial growth, but can save the planet along the way.”

The discussion spanned the topics of food consumption – the environment is now a major consideration for 22 per cent of UK children’s food choices – to the removal of children’s magazines containing plastic throw-away toys from Waitrose.

“Data has shown that 32 per cent of parents who shop at Waitrose say the environment is their biggest concern. That’s twice as many as the average,” explained Watson. “They are more likely to be the parents teaching their kids about their actions and the environment.

“Likewise, we asked kids why they purchase a magazine. The number that say it’s for the free toy on the front has been reducing over the last few quarters. However, it is still the number one reason for their choice.”

This will be a conflict that many brands in the children’s magazine sector will have to negotiate over the next few years.

Watson concluded: “Making sustainability easier for kids, teens and parents to understand is imperative. It’s important to be empathetic, practical and inclusive of parents so that consumers feel like they are empowered.

“Kids want to make a change, and we need to make it easier for them to do this.”

The Sustainability in Licensing Conference will continue today with speakers from ZURU Toys and LEGO taking to the stage among others.

Sustainability in Licensing | Toy industry sustainability needs ‘relentless innovation’, says ZURU

Sustainability in the toy industry will not be achieved in one move, but through ‘consistent and incremental improvements’, as well as relentless innovation, is the message being promoted by the international toy maker, ZURU, ahead of the Sustainability in Licensing Conference this week.

Speaking with ToyNews before the online conference kicks off on June 24th, Amelia Jory, global marketing manager for seasonal, preschool, and celebrations at ZURU, has intoned that when it comes to sustainability within the toy industry, it’s an area ‘in which there is a lot to learn and implement.’

ZURU Toys has taken the sustainability message to the next level in recent months with the first roll out of its ‘summer just got greener’ campaign for its leading seasonal product, Bunch O Balloons, highlighting the company’s move to more sustainable production methods by using 100 per cent certified and traceable recycled plastics to make its stems and caps. The company also switched its balloon pieces to be made from natural rubber (derived from plants).

The company’s original goal was to remove 500 tonnes of virgin plastics from entering the environment. ZURU has subsequently doubled the number of its original target this summer season.

“We have begun on our path towards products and innovations that have a lesser impact on our environment by approaching our business with a vision of preparing for the future – the world in which children will one day live and play,” said Jory. “We view sustainability as a commitment, to leave this world better than when we were brought into it.

“Sustainability is an area in which there is a lot to learn and implement. There isn’t just one single thing that needs to change and it will have fixed or combated the climate crisis. We believe sustainability is about consistent and incremental improvements and being relentless about innovating to ensure we are moving towards a greener and more sustainable future.”

Jory suggests that the social conscience of the firm has grown in tandem with the social conscience of society and is a company fuelled by the passions of its team to adopt and implement new steps towards the sustainability movement.

“We are constantly looking at how we can incorporate sustainable practices into our business, products and future lines of toys and consumer goods,” said Jory. “Our key sustainability leaders in the business will be speaking at the SILC event; including myself and our CEO; Anna Mowbray, Global Marketing Director; Henry Gordon; Seasonal Marketing manager and Head of product; Aneisha Vieria.

“We believe that sustainability is a collective effort that starts internally and is fostered as a part of organisational culture which leads to greater external initiatives and impacts.”

New targets have now been set by the firm in the continued journey towards better sustainability, but these won’t be revealed until the Sustainability in Licensing Conference this week.

SILC21 has been recognised as a platform for leading players in the toy and licensing industry to share key insights into what has worked for them on their own sustainability journeys.

“For such an important and time sensitive topic, it’s important we all share insights and collaborate to achieve the common goal of better our planet. Sustainability is no longer a ‘nice to have’ initiative rather, one that is absolutely crucial to the future of our environment and business,” concluded Jory.

Sustainability in Licensing | “The UK and EU have the chance to be world leaders in plastic management”

The UK and the EU have the opportunity to be world leaders in plastic resource management, when legislative changes in packaging and plastics finally kick in, ‘but only if we get it right.’

This is the message being promoted by Stuart Foster, CEO at RECOUP and director of EPRO (the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisations) as he prepares to join a panel of experts at this year’s Sustainability in Licensing Conference.

Foster has stated that the current set of policy and legislation proposals made by the government “represent a once in a generation opportunity to deliver change and accelerate the move towards plastic circularity”; with the first signs of the environmental benefits showing green shoots from as early as 2022.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Waste Management and MD of PPS Recovery Systems, Foster will be taking to the digital stage next week, to join the second SILC conference taking place online across Wednesday, June 24th and Thursday, June 25th. 

He will be joined by representatives from the likes of LEGO, ZURU, Asda, Tesco, The Eden Project, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Hannah Mills, and The Insights Family in sharing valuable insight on topics including sourcing, fabrics, technology, and the upcoming packaging rules and crucial regulatory changes.

“Plastic is a key material with many environmental benefits, which is why it is so widely used, but this will only remains the case if we can significantly improve current sustainability and recycling credentials and reduce the leakage into the environment,” Foster told Licensing.biz.

“The proposed UK government policies set out in recent consultations on waste prevention, extended producer responsibility, recycled content tax and single use plastics are robust and cover a wide range of areas. So, all efforts should be focused on refining and developing those proposals, understanding the best approaches and committing to the deadlines for delivery.

“If we get it right, the UK and EU has the opportunity to be world leaders in plastic resource management.”

In his SILC21 session, Foster will also underline the importance of acknowledging the environmental benefits of plastic use, remarking on the need for an “evidenced policy making process which takes all environmental and business factors into account and avoids anti-plastic sentiment.”

He said: “We have a responsibility to implement the right systems and drivers to achieve circularity in plastics (and all materials), and then also work internationally to share and support best practice to deliver global change.”

SILC21 will take place online next week (June 24th to 25th). Two-day virtual passes are priced at £100, with a 20 per cent discount for Products of Change members.

Sustainability in Licensing Conference confirms its return for 2021

The Sustainability in Licensing Conference has confirmed its return for 2021 with plans to take place at The British Library in London while dual-cast digitally across the SILC21 digital platform.

Breaking new ground in the licensing industry when it launched last year, the 2021 edition of the conference is scheduled to take place on June 24 this year. The event is once again aimed at everyone in the licensing arena, from retailers to licensors, licensees to trade suppliers.

Launched by Max Publishing along with Products of Change (the online membership platform for sustainable advancement within the industry) and curated by Helena Mansell-Stopher – an experienced licensing executive and founder of Products of Change, SILC 2021 will aim to inspire and inform as to how the sector can continue to innovate and grow commercially while not costing the planet.

The agenda will see leading lights and visionaries from outside and within the industry as well as retail experts, all sharing their inspiring achievements and demonstrating the gains, both environmentally and financially, that can be made.

“It has been amazing to learn of the businesses that were inspired by the speakers last year and have since implemented those learnings into actionable sustainable change, and it’s because of this I am extremely proud to curate the 2021 line up,” said Mansell-Stopher.

“To drive sustainable growth within the licensing industry over the next few decades will require a radical approach to business practices, be it through embracing new materials and production techniques, re-engineering packaging or adopting new marketing methods, all without sacrificing financial growth. Our aim with SILC 2021 is to help both future-proof our industry and our world.”

Already, a number of leading companies have pledged their official support to SILC 2021, underlining their commitment to change within the industry, including BBC Studios, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Natural History Museum, ViacomCBS, Hasbro, Character World, TDP Textiles, Dreamtex, Amscan and GB Eye with more due to be announced in the coming weeks.

Products of Change is the headline supporter of SILC 2021.