Toys By: Biobased toys - Harald Kaeb narocon Berlin, Germany The intense debate on plastics, their deficiencies and drawbacks when it comes to sustainability and circularity, is centred around packaging. However, the discussion is not limited to this biggest sector of consumption. In this article, Harald Kaeb, inventor and co-organiser of the first bio!TOY conference examines the options for a wider use of renewable raw materials and biobased plastics in the toy sector. He also analyses the supply chain practices in the sector, exploring how it could become an emerging market and outlet for biobased polymers. The ideas and findings discussed in this article were the basis for the bio!TOY conference concept. Looking back at the event - the first encounter between the toy sector and the biobased plastics industry – the feedback from participants confirms that, as a concept, this was a success. Moreover, it offered scope for opening the door for collaborative development, hopefully based on strategic considerations. The toy sector - a user analysis Five years ago, a UNEP report was published examining the role and use of plastics in different sectors, including the toy industry . The report revealed that “toy manufacturers have the highest plastic intensity in the consumer goods sector, at 48 tonnes of CO 2 equivalents per USD1 million revenue, due to their use of plastic in products (incl. packaging). As a result, they have the highest value at risk at 3.9% of annual revenue. This would wipe out the profits of several companies if they had to pay the full cost of environmental damage caused by plastic. That is a finding that should make the chief financial officer sit up and take note”. In other words: The toy industry ranks #1 due to its heavy use of plastics, with famous toy brands shown to be indifferent to environmental issues, and, more so than any other consumer sector, to have no thought for the financial consequences of this irresponsible behaviour. Any awareness of the fact that, if these external costs were internalised, their economic model and financial stability would be at risk, seems lacking. Such disregard for environmental responsibility can be fatal to an industry’s image. This obliviousness to environmental concerns, while at the same time continuing to be a heavy (ab)user, will become even more risky with the increasing visibility of climate change and the public outrage this has awakened. Children and young people have taken to the streets to call for strict and powerful action, as they see climate change as the biggest threat to their future. In a survey conducted among almost 11,000 people aged 15-30, climate change ranked as the number one concern . Toy makers who respond to issues by reviewing the materials they use in the light of sustainability performance criteria, Figure 1 Total natural capital cost and intensity of selected sectors Source  18,000 23% 4% TOTAL NATURAL CAPITAL COST ( $m) 16,000 14,000 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 12% 10% 9% 9% 8% 6% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 1% 1% 1% 3% 2% 1% PERCENTAGE OF REVENUE AT RISK 0 FOOD SOFT DRINKS NON-DURABLE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AUTOMOBILES FURNITURE RETAIL DURABLE HOUSEHOLD GOODS FOOTWEAR CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES TOYS PERSONAL PRODUCTS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ATHLETIC GOODS RESTAURANTS TOBACCO MEDICAL AND PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS 0% TOTAL NATURAL CAPITAL COST PERCENTAGE OF REVENUE AT RISK 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/19] Vol. 14 Corresponds approximately to over 80 million tonnes of plastic. Trucost calculations derived from, but not limited to, World Bank ; PlasticsEurope ; Eurostat , and the US EPA  datasets (full set of references and methodologies available in appendices 3 and 4 of this report).
Toys A perfect win win? An analysis of the supply side and user sector i.e. longevity, circularity and greenhouse gas emissions, will benefit from a growing green consumerism. Failure to find an adequate response may put the whole business at risk - as climate change will surely trigger measures to internalise such costs, e.g. through CO 2 tariffs. Pioneers like the famous toy brand LEGO, with its clear commitment to making the transition to sustainable materials, will push others to take action. The bio!TOY conference showed how many brands and players from the toy industry are already searching for solutions. The sector is ready for development partnerships. The biobased industry - supply side analysis For a long time, the plastics market remained almost untouched by issues such as pollution and over-consumption. Single-use food service packaging and many other shortlife plastic products abounded. As public and legal concerns mounted, the food service packaging sector increasingly turned to biodegradable and compostable plastics and is by far the biggest application segment for this type of plastic today. The study “Consumption of biodegradable plastics in Europe 2015 / 2020”  revealed that around 80% of the sales were bags and serviceware like drinking cups or cutlery. Now, however, service packaging is being hit by new regulations: products made from biodegradable plastics are currently not exempt from recently PRIORITIES FOR THE EU Priorities for the EU Source:  1 2 3 4 For young people, the main priorities for EU action in the 10 years to come are: PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE 67% 1 Women 71% 15-19 yo 70% IMPROVING EDUCATION & TRAINING, including the free movement of students, apprentices or pupils 56% 2 Men 63% 25-30 yo 64% … who stayed abroad 61% …those still studying 72% FIGHTING POVERTY , … involved in volunteering ECONOMIC & 60% SOCIAL INEQUALITIES 56% 3 BOOSTING EMPLOYMENT AND TACKLING UNEMPLOYMENT 49% 4 adopted EU legislation on the reduction of certain single use plastics items in the environment, which is a threat to the bioplastics industry as a whole. With bans and reduction targets almost everywhere around the globe, the biggest market for biodegradable plastics is up for discussion. Future growth perspectives now rely on how biodegradability will be treated under the new legislation – and whether such products will be exempt from reduction measures . Biobased plastics are facing other challenges as well. The EU Circular Economy policy and its related plastic strategy rank recyclability and the uptake of recycled materials as priority number #1 amongst the envisaged measures. The perspectives of biobased and biodegradable polymers in its #1 market - packaging - will strongly depend on whether full compatibility with existing (!) recycling schemes is achieved or not. Products which are hard to recycle, and where recycled content is hard to realise will be also reviewed, and changes in design or materials are likely to occur. As a consequence, the biobased plastics industry needs to review and re-position itself according to these heavy-weighing, global drivers (#NewPlasticEconomy). One element which biodegradable or non-biodegradable plastic products have in common is the renewable or biobased content, which usually results in a low carbon polymer profile. Young people most likely to see this as a priority are… Young people most likely to see this as a priority are those… … living in small towns 52% … who have a negative opinion about the EU 56% 1 In 11 countries more than two thirds of young people believe environment and climate change should be a priority: Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, Czechia, Ireland and Spain 2 In 17 countries more than half young people believe that education and training should be a priority at EU level. Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Germany, Bulgaria, France, UK, Ireland, Luxembourg, Austria, Spain, Romania, Latvia, Greece, Denmark, Czechia, Belgium 3 In 20 countries half of young people or more believe that fighting poverty economic and social inequalities should be a priority at EU level. Portugal, Germany, Luxembourg, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Cyprus, France, Denmark, Spain, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Ireland, Bulgaria, Netherlands, UK, Croatia, Malta, Slovenia 4 In 15 countries, half or more of young people believe that boosting employment and tackling unemployment should be a priority at EU level. Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/19] Vol. 14 11
05/05/17 11:39 ... is read in 92 co
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