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4 January 2014

How to choose toys with help of labels?

Knowing what certain labels mean can help you to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing a toy for your child. Here we’ll provide you with insights on the useful labels that appear on toys.

CE Mark
CE MarkToys which are sold on the EU market are equipped with the CE conformity mark. By affixing the CE marking, the manufacturer confirms that the toys comply with the EU standard EN 71 which stands for EU safety standard. However, since there is no obligation to examine the compliance with the criteria by external, independent bodies, the CE mark is not a quality seal. Ensuring product safety and environmental compliance is still the responsibility of the manufacturer.
We, as well as some consumers and organizations think that requirements imposed by the EN 71 are not sufficient, e.g. in the field of plasticizers, use of “safe” chemicals.
We believe that toys should be produced under socially just conditions, zero chemicals, fair wages and free of child labour, and made ​​of environmentally friendly materials, especially without over-exploitation of native forests.  
This being said, an official label for environmentally and socially responsibly produced toys unfortunately does not exist. But there are some clues.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
Organic StandardThe Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was established in 2008 jointly by four major international associations of the Natural Textile Industry and is one of the most extensive and most important global certification for natural fibres.
The certificate not only considers quality criteria of the fibres and yarns but also environmental and social criteria throughout the supply chain. The aim of the label is the definition and implementation of globally applicable requirements for the cultivation, processing, transport and trade of bio-fibres. GOTS sealed textiles contain a minimum of 70% fibres from plants or animals from certified organic agriculture.

GS test mark "Tested Safety"
GS Standard
The worldwide renowned GS (Tested Safety) mark is a valuable help for quality-conscious consumers when choosing which products to purchase. It testifies that the product is free of harmful substances, safe against breakage and reliable electrics. TÜV Rheinland’s is one of the institutions accredited for checking whether dolls, lighting, bikes, or hairdryers fulfil the quality and safety standards specified by the Product Safety Act, ProdSG. On top of that, the GS audit integrates numerous product-specific European guidelines and ascertains whether the operation manual is correct and complete.

OEKO-TEX® Standard 100
Oeko-Tex 100 StandardThe OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is an independent test and certification system for textile raw, intermediate and end products at all stages of processing.
Examples of articles that can be certified: yarns, fabrics, treated fabrics, manufactured articles (clothing of all kinds, domestic and household textiles, bedding, towels, soft toys and many more).

Forest Stewardship Council - FSC 
FSC The FSC label is not a label specifically for a toy, but a seal that generally stands for sustainability. The FSC label is awarded in wooden toys, if the product comes from responsible sources — environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable.  This is testified by meeting the specific evaluation Criteria of the FSC.

For the selection of our greenBee toys we have designed a set of our own labels – which you may find on the page our sustainability criteria. The greenBee labels summarize a range of sustainability criteria and take into account above mentioned existing official labels and certifications.