Safety, durability, quality and aesthetics --- we won’t give an inch on any of these, so finding cutting-edge, sustainable materials that meet our cost needs can be challenging. Our goal is to create outstanding, safe kids products and warm memories that last a lifetime.
Designing Sustainable Products
Mark Johnson, Director of Product Development:
Product Sustainability Goal
From our scorecard work, we have developed a set of sustainability criteria covering GHG emissions, recycled content, sustainable and safe materials, ease of disassembly, and social compliance. Our aspiration is for all of our products to meet target thresholds in each of these areas. In 2017, we set a goal for 10% of our products to meet the sustainability criteria, and all departments will work together to pursue positive changes towards this goal.
We aim to package all of our products sustainably. This means using the smallest amount of material possible to safely contain our products; designing boxes that fit efficiently on a truck or train; and ensuring that we use responsible materials. Our goal is for all of our corrugate packaging boxes to contain on average at least 70% recycled content, or for the virgin fiber to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). FSC and SFI certifications ensures that the forests from which the wood pulp is obtained are managed responsibly. An additional FSC certification verifies the recycled content. In 2017, we transitioned six products to a new partner with FSC certification for the 100% recycled content in these packages. This transition allowed us to have a significant positive impact on the environment.
In 2018, we took additional steps in our journey to improve the sustainability of our product’s packaging. We are replacing polybags with more paper-based packaging, which can be more easily recycled. We removed many polybags from the packaging of our 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike®, which saves over 43,000 pounds of single-use package each year. By focusing on the raw materials used in the construction of our cartons and selecting suppliers that do a better job of managing sustainability, we have increased the recycled content of our packaging to 87%. The remaining virgin fiber used in our packaging is increasingly FSC certified.
The well-being of the children who enjoy our products and the workers who create them is of fundamental importance to Radio Flyer. We take a strong precautionary approach to material and product safety and place these at the heart of our product development and supplier assessment programs.
Radio Flyer’s Restricted Substances List (RSL)
We use a Restricted Substances List (RSL) to communicate our priorities and standards related to safer chemicals both internally and to our suppliers. We update this list annually by monitoring chemical requirements across the globe and adopting the most stringent published standards. As a further layer of assurance that there are no harmful chemicals in our products, we conduct RSL testing and supplier auditing, with risk assessments informing the frequency and type of tests. In 2017, we upgraded our Chemical Management Policy to clarify our approach to assessing alternative substances to ensure that replacement chemicals improve material safety.
ERIC SELNER, SENIOR OPERATIONS AND SUSTAINABILITY MANAGER:
“As a company that creates playthings for children, safe chemistry is critical for Radio Flyer. To assure our consumers that their children are playing with safe, responsibly made toys, we need superior visibility into the chemical makeup of our products. Beginning in 2016, we engaged our suppliers through an intensive chemical footprinting effort with the goal of achieving transparency for all intentionally added chemicals in our products. This initiative built strong accountability and a basis for improved chemicals management across our supply chain. To benchmark our program against industry best practices, Radio Flyer reports annually to the Chemical Footprint Project, a leading chemicals management self-assessment tool. This helps us pinpoint needed improvements and strengthen our commitment to safer materials.”
PHTHALATES AND HEAVY METALS
We do not add regulated phthalates or heavy metals such as lead, mercury or chromium to our products.
Our aspiration is to eliminate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from all of our products. In 2016 our products were 97.8% PVC free. We try to avoid using PVC but have not yet succeeded in removing this component from some of our products. In 2011, we removed PVC from our folding tricycles and replaced it with ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA foam). This removed over 100,000 pounds of PVC from our products. In 2018 we removed PVC from our scooters and replaced it with a thermoplastic rubber (TPR). This removed over 110,000 pounds of PVC from our products. In 2020, through changing scooter wheels, hand grips, and other components from PVC to other materials, our product line is now 99.6% free. Any PVC we use is free of organophosphates, and meets all regulations put forth by the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission).