The Danish toy maker, Dantoy is looking to push the boundaries of both product development and consumer perception with the launch of its latest sustainable-developed toy line, Green Bean; a range of toys created directly from the waste material of the toy company’s own toy production methods.
The award-winning toy firm believes that the new launch will signify a real turning point in the consumer mind-set and its shift in gear towards the more eco-driven production methods. Green Bean products will go against the grain of traditional toy development and marketing as far as the brand will be a celebration of imperfection.
“Because each product in the Green Bean range is produced from Dantoy waste material, each item in the range will have its own, unique colour,” Dantoy CEO Marck H. Matthiasen tells ToyNews. “The toy range is produced directly from our waste product. We think this is a very interesting point for the future consumers to accept. That not all products will be perfect in colors as long as the value of the product is like the original one.”
If successful, the launch will mark a major step change for toy product development that has to date largely been dictated by a consumer’s desire for set standards of appearance when it comes to plastic colouring. Dantoy is among a handful of toy companies to be leading the charge of changing mindsets amid a wider cultural shift among consumers who appear to be backing the toy industry’s sustainability drive with greater effect.
While the new initiative is a timely one, for Dantoy, an award-winning toy company with a distribution network spanning the continents, the journey for a sustainable movement began more than 30 years ago. Recognised as the first toy company in the world to have its products certified with the Nordic Eco Label, it stands to reason that CEO Matthiasen will tell you that sustainability is in the Dantoy DNA.
It also makes sense that Dantoy was the recipient earlier this year, of a Silver Award in the Environmental Sustainability category of the first ever Play for Change Awards, created by Toy Industries of Europe. The accolade was handed to the firm for one of its most recent launches; its BIO toy range that uses bio plastic developed from sugarcane as well as tells the story of each product’s development, from the harvest of the raw material to the end toy product.
For Dantoy, sustainability is far from this year’s buzzword, but an ethos ingrained in every step that the firm takes. And it doesn’t stop in 2020. Here, ToyNews catches up with Dantoy’s CEO, Matthiasen to find out what further steps the company is taking towards a fully sustainable future in toy production.
Hi Marck, thank you for talking with us. Can you talk us through the efforts you guys have made in the sustainability movement in recent months and years?
This journey for a sustainable movement began more than 30 years ago at dantoy. We were one of the first companies to certify up against ISO 14001 in the ’90s, and the first company in the world within toys to have our products certified with the Nordic Eco Label, an achievement we are still extremely proud of today.
So this movement has always been a part of our DNA in all of our decisions. We have always been producing in Denmark, which has made it fairly easy to take the sustainable choice throughout our product development. The latest sustainable action we have taken have been the launch of our BIO Plastic universe made from Sugarcanes. This has been a very successful launch were we have put a lot of effort in telling the journey of the raw material from harvest to a useful toy product.
Furthermore we are now working on two news tracks:
Firstly, by 2025 we aim to be fully carbon neutral. We are already off to a good start and expect to be accomplished in this mission within the five years.
Secondly, we have just launched a new concept from our own waste material. The brand is called “Green Bean” and each item within it is unique in its colors. The toy range is produced directly from our waste product. We think this is a very interesting point for the future consumers to accept. That not all products will be perfect in colors as long as the value of the product is like the original one.
Why has this been such an important drive for you guys? How do you hope that the efforts you make now will encourage children to carry that message with them as they develop, grow older and apply it to world and environment themselves?
As mentioned, we have always been producing in Denmark, which has pushed us to think out side the box and to differentiate from our competitors. We have always focused on quality and environment as our unique points. All our products are tested in a kindergarten environment before being launched which then makes it last forever and be recycled once you are done playing with it. So we hope the future consumers will start buying more long-lasting products, and then re-sell and recycle after use so somebody else can play with it.
Do you think the toy industry is doing enough to drive this sustainability movement – across all aspects including manufacturing and materials sourcing, the messaging of the brands themselves and the circular economy?
No, not at all as an industry. Many actors are still too price focused in order to move in a more sustainable direction. We hope to be some of the first movers, and hopefully the customers will prioritize this when they go shopping.
What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed in the sustainability movement over the past year or two? How is this encouraging your own efforts now? What can be done to speed the process up?
Over the last two years, we have seen interest increase from 0 per cent to 100 per cent among all of our stakeholders. So we are very happy about this movement as customers and consumers value the more sustainable and quality choices. It has helped a lot that media around the world have put more focus on this subject.
We are happy that media focus more on differentiation when it comes to plastic, and we hope this focus will grow. There is still too many that see plastic as a “one time used” product, that end up in our oceans. This is not true, and we hope there will come more awareness towards this and choose a long-lasting quality product which can be recycled once you are done playing.