Andy Keimach, president of VTech Electronics North America, caught up with the Toy Book about eco-friendly learning products, its educational toys, and more.
The Toy Book: What are some of VTech/LeapFrog’s sustainability initiatives?
Andy Keimach: Sustainability is an incredibly important responsibility, and we are very proud of our initiatives, efforts, and achievements. VTech has taken tremendous strides toward its sustainability commitment of replacing fossil-based plastics with sustainable alternatives by 2030. This year, we are introducing a variety of green electronic learning products, including three new vehicles in the Go! Go! Smart Wheels line made from plant-based plastic, as well as the Sort & Recycle Ride-on Truck made from reclaimed plastic. Our LeapFrog line includes the new Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot with vegetables and accessories made from plant-based plastic. We are also introducing our first wooden toys, the Touch & Learn Nature ABC Board and Interactive Wooden Animal Puzzle, which include materials sourced from responsibly managed forests certified by Forest Stewardship Council.
In addition, we are continuing our efforts to include sustainable product packaging for our toys with a commitment to eliminate fossil-based blister packaging and replace it with plant-based alternatives in 99% of our electronic learning products by 2025. We also partnered with leading recycling companies to encourage post-consumer product recycling and continue to look for programs that provide an easy way for consumers to recycle VTech’s electronic learning products and contribute to sustainability.
TB: Parents are using educational toys as learning tools as distance learning continues into 2021. How has this inspired product development?
AK: We have always supported making learning fun, but we recognize that this past year has put more of an emphasis on learning for many parents, so we are continuing to focus on our popular, successful, educational products to lean into that. Our LeapFrog Academy learning app offers a well-rounded curriculum with access to more than 2,000 learning activities that can be played anywhere on a variety of devices, as well as on our LeapPad Academy tablet. LeapStart is another great option — it’s an interactive learning system that magically brings books to life with touch-and-talk pages, while our LeapReader helps build reading confidence by introducing vowel sounds, sight words, and more. Another popular product has been the interactive Magic Adventures Globe, which lets kids explore new places, languages, and cultures through a video screen that plays BBC videos. We will continue to support innovative products that reinforce educational content while incorporating the playful elements that make learning fun.
This State of the Industry Q&A response was originally published in the February 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!