The exhibition play it green! took place for the first time under the aspect of sustainability at the Design Post in Cologne. The program of the exhibition included the presentation of the “play it green! award” and the Luna Journal Business Talk on the topic “How we promote sustainable design for kids”. The participants of the Business Talk were Florian Henneka from Korbmayer, Sanna Puhakainen from Lumokids, Peter Handstein from Senger Naturwelt and Alain De Rauw from Plantoys. In the end, the guests agreed that the demand for sustainable products is slowly increasing.

The premiere of play it green! was well received by the visitors: “We have received positive feedback on all aspects of the exhibition and the extensive supporting program so far. The only downer - so far - for me: more visitors could have experienced the premiere of play it green! at the Design Post in Cologne”, says Katja Runge, founder of afilii.

The premiere of play it green!

At the exhibition, 22 exhibitors presented child-friendly, resource-saving and durable toys, home accessories and children’s furniture. The Lumokids loft bunk and Pantolinos leather frisbees made a particularly positive impression on visitors. The toys for babies and toddlers from Bioserie and Binabo from TicToys were also well received.

The event was constituted by Katja Runge, who had organized a supporting program to inspire the visitors and at the same time sensitize them to a change of perspective.

“play it green! award”

On Thursday evening, the “play it green! award” was presented in Cologne. The award honored an initiative that is dedicated to the future of socio-ecological change in the world for children. “This year, it was particularly important to the jury that the initiative to be awarded had a pioneering role with regard to the ecological and social dimension of the product,” explains Katja Runge.

The winner of the “play it green! award” is the new ecoBirdy brand based in Antwerp, the Belgian fashion and design capital. It convinced the jury with her debut collection of ecological design furniture for children. In addition to its designer furniture, ecoBirdy has also developed an accompanying system. “ecoBirdy convinced the jury above all by the fact that ecoBirdy not only manufactures the furniture for children from recycled plastic toys in Europe, but above all by its commitment to educate elementary school children about plastic & marine pollution and sustainability and to collect old plastic toys together with them”, Katja Runge, jury member.

“We are very pleased that ecoBirdy has received the “play it green! award” this year. ecoBirdy is a small company that combines sustainability and design in the most beautiful way. At the moment there are many companies that do green washing just because it sounds good to do something for the environment. The founders Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan, on the other hand, really want to make a difference, and in their debut collection they made sure that all stages of production were sustainable. That deserves recognition,” says Uli Morant, editor-in-chief of Luna & Luna Mum of the publishing house Luna media and jury member of the “play it green! award”.

The winner of the “play it green! award”

ecoBirdy creates design furniture that is made from recycled plastic and is also easy to recycle again. The aim of the collection is to raise children’s awareness of sustainability. The design furniture pieces of the line were made exclusively from recycled plastic from European waste. By cleaning, sorting and shredding during the recycling process, all products are free of harmful substances and 100% safe for children.

“Plastic toys are among the most intensive plastic uses among consumer goods. Our goal is to protect our nature from this plastic waste by recycling it. Through the use of innovative recycling technologies, we produce without the addition of any dyes,” says ecoBirdy’s founding team that consists of Vanessa Yuan and Joris Vanbriel.

Alain Pineau from Pineau le Porcher and jury member of the play it green! award hands over the “play it green! award” to the founder of ecoBirdy, Joris Vanbriel.

Luna Journal Business Talk - sustainable design for children

Many enthusiastic viewers took part in the panel discussion “How we promote sustainable design for kids”. The guests of the Luna Journal Business Talk showed under which aspects the topic of sustainability can be lived, communicated and sold.

“Due to the background of my work as a toy manufacturer, sustainability for me has a direct connection with children and the world in which we leave them. Whether we take care to produce in a way that conserves resources or whether we are committed to social issues, all of this makes the world a little better. For our children and the world in which they will live tomorrow,” says Peter Handstein, founder and CEO of the Hape Group.

“Sustainability begins with sustainable materials, but the core lies in great design. Especially for children, products that develop as the child grows are much more sustainable than those that can only be used for a short period of time. Less becomes more when a product has a long life and serves several purposes,” says Sanna Puhakainen, founder of Lumokids.

Alain De Rauw, International Sales Director of Plantoys: “I really believe that to be creative in today’s world, children need to experience playing with real toys. Being a sustainable company does not only refer to the design of the products, but also to the way you work, how you deal with nature and people. This also applies to social activities with people, children and people with disabilities. As a company, we have an obligation to take care of all of these, and we do so because of our passion and sense of responsibility, without telling the press or industry. We do this because it is necessary. Because we want to keep our promise: Better Kids for a Better World.”

“Sustainability only works for us if it is communicated openly, honestly and transparently. For us, this must go hand in hand with ecological, resource-saving production and fair working conditions throughout the entire value chain,” explains Florian Henneka, CEO of Korbmayer.

In the end, the guests of the talk all agreed that parents, producers or retailers must act responsibly and accordingly sustainably in the interests of the children: “All guests agreed that a sustainable product must speak for itself. So it is the responsibility of the designer and manufacturer. At the same time, however, it is also important to inform consumers about production and materials. It would be nice if sustainability became a matter of course in the future - simply because demand demands it”, Fenke Gabriel-Schwan, moderator of the Luna Journal Business Talks and Social Media Manager at Luna media.

The future of play it green!

Katja Runge would like to expand the concept of play it green! even further in the future: “I very much hope that in the coming years we will be able to expand & stabilize the concept and program of play it green!; that we will find international partners who are also committed to producing sustainable products for children in the future - toys, home accessories and children’s furniture that take our children and our environment seriously.”


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Image: Luna media