Rental, second-hand, recycling… How the games and toys industry reinvented itself this year

On the occasion of Industry Week, Le Figaro looked at the innovations carried out since the start of the year by the sector, particularly in terms of sustainable development.

At the end of the year, games and toys are at the heart of families’ concerns: parents are looking for the best gift while their children are already starting to write their letter to Santa Claus. Although they only see the finished products, behind the scenes, the sector has continued to innovate in recent months, starting with sustainable development issues. For Florent Leroux, president of the French Federation
of the Childcare Toy Industries (FJP), it is a “an unavoidable issue and above all a major responsibility towards future generations“. An observation shared by Philippe Gueydon, co-president of the Federation of Trade Specialists in Toys and Children’s Products (FCJPE): “We take an active part in implementing more responsible consumption patterns.»

On the distributor side, several measures have made it possible to partially reduce their environmental impact. Starting with the Spark solution, adopted by King Cadeau last September, which allows packages to be adapted to the dimensions of the products they contain. Concretely, this automated machine “helps reduce the volume of vacuum transported by 45%“. In addition to cardboard, brands have also thought about saving paper, while large retailers have been called for several months to stop using paper catalogs. PlayedClub has printed 10 million copies this year, compared to 11 million in 2022. Its counterpart King Cadeau has reduced the number of printings of its toy catalogs by 30% over three years, “a saving of around 600 tonnes of paper», Specifies a report from the FJP, the FCJPE and Ecomaison. The Kingtoy brand also managed to reduce its energy consumption by 25% in 2023, compared to 2022.

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Game rental in the spotlight

On the shelves, customers have a front row seat to the innovations carried out by games and toy companies. They now have access to second-hand products, which are less expensive and more environmentally friendly. JouéClub notably launched its Troc O’ Joué system last March, in around a hundred stores. If consumers can buy second-hand toys, they can also deposit them and receive vouchers in exchange. This year, King Toy also extended its second-hand offering on its site and strengthened its spare parts allow customers to extend the life of their toys“.

Occasionally, we also add the rental of new games, “which is growing more and more this year», notes sector specialists. The Toys Sajou brand rolled out its rental service this year with around a hundred board games available. If retirees and families are there, schools are also getting involved “to play in cl with students with a learning objective», underlines Laurent Gaucher, brand manager. The French brand Oxybul éveil et jeux also offers around forty references for rental. The opportunity to test several games, without cluttering your home with dozens of stacked boxes.

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Environmental objectives

Brands are also playing the recycling game, thanks to the partnership with the company EcoMaison. “With more than 1,700 toy manufacturers and distributors committed to Ecomaison and nearly 5,000 collection points deployed in 2023, the toy industry is there.», Rejoices Dominique Mignon, president of this state-approved eco-organization. Brands have also accelerated a more virtuous design of their products, like JouéClub and KingJouet which use more FSC wood, from legal forestry. Oxybul éveil et jeux uses recycled polyester in the filling of toys for toddlers.

This year, manufacturers also announced several ambitious goals. Lego thus wishes to achieve a carbon reduction of 37% by 2032 and a “net zero carbon» across its entire supply chain «no later than 2050“. The wooden games brand Ecoiffier is financing the reforestation of a 10-hectare plot of forest. Other brands have chosen to relocate their production, such as Asmodée which has placed 70% of its Asian production under European control, in Belgium, Germany and Eastern Europe. PiouPiou et Merveilles has relocated certain stages of its production to France, such as filling, seams, finishing, labeling or testing of its references.

To measure the eco-responsibility of games and toys, King Toy has set up a label to measure three criteria: materials, packaging and origin. Out of 1,600 products, 400 are equipped with them in the brand’s 380 stores. While the initiatives launched in 2023 by manufacturers and distributors are laudable, there is still room for improvement to further transform this sector from top to bottom.

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