schleich® Announces Global Sustainability Initiative

All products and packaging to be recycled, biobased, recyclable, biodegradable, and Cradle to Cradle® certified by 2027

CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–schleich®, a leading international toy manufacturer and supplier of realistic animal figures, today announces a new global initiative with the goal of producing figurines and playsets that are made exclusively of sustainable materials by 2027. To ensure resources are used for as long as possible, schleich® is optimizing and certifying all products and packaging in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle® sustainability principle through a close collaboration with the renowned consultancy institute and innovation partner EPEA GmbH.

Sustainable play has been embedded in the DNA of schleich® since the very beginning, producing highly detailed, high-quality, and extremely long-lasting toys for over 85 years. In its commitment to further reduce its carbon footprint, the company plans to invest ten million dollars to implement a range of sustainability measures. The first tangible results showcasing the brand’s efforts include the use of water-based paints on products and a significant reduction of plastic content in packaging.

Our figurines are timeless and have always been handed down from generation to generation. This longevity significantly reduces the carbon footprint of our products,” says Dirk Engehausen, CEO of schleich®. “But we can’t rest on our laurels. We’re conducting research into long-lasting materials that conserve resources, making our packaging more sustainable and shortening our supply chains. By 2027, all our products will be recycled, bio-based, recyclable, or biodegradable.”

With a goal to transform the entire company, the initiative focuses on making each individual area even more sustainable, from the production of the figurines and playsets all the way through to sales and distribution. schleich’s collaboration with EPEA GmbH will be a driving force behind making all products and packaging Cradle to Cradle®-certified by 2027. All schleich® packaging will be recyclable by no later than 2025, and from 2023 onwards, the company will only use cardboard that is FSC-certified for its packaging.

Sustainability is a journey, and we’ll be taking some important steps along the way in the coming years. Our products are so long-lasting and of such high quality that it’s very rare that they’re ever thrown away. But should that ever happen, rigorously applying the Cradle to Cradle® design principle means that a schleich dinosaur can be made into yet another schleich dinosaur – or a lion, horse or unicorn,” says Dr Philipp Hummel, Head of Sustainability at schleich®.

Aside from the toys themselves, which will be sustainable and healthier for all ecosystems because of the Cradle to Cradle® optimization, schleich’s sustainability strategy has three other pillars: children, the planet, and people.

  • Children learn new things about nature and animals by playing with the highly detailed, realistic figurines made by schleich®. schleich® is also investing in initiatives that broaden children’s knowledge and promote lifelong learning where sustainability is concerned. To this end, schleich® is collaborating with the American Montessori Society in the USA and providing video courses and content for teachers. What’s more, schleich® has been cooperating with National Geographic Kids since 2021, with the aim of getting children interested in animal and nature conservation through play.
  • To ensure that children and their children are able to live in healthy places surrounded by living things, schleich® is deeply committed to making a positive contribution towards protecting the Planet. The Cradle to Cradle® approach helps with this. In addition, schleich® is constantly working on regionalising its supply chain and shortening transport routes to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • People are at the heart of our sustainability measures. That’s why safe and healthy working conditions throughout the value chain are the top priority for schleich®. The long-standing Swabian company is part of the “ICTI Ethical Toy Program”, an internationally recognised certification programme for ethical toy production. Health and safety training for staff together with diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives are the cornerstones of the People pillar.

We’re on an exciting journey with schleich towards becoming a company that not only talks about sustainability, but makes it an integral part of its strategy,” says Engehausen. “Like the rest of the toy industry, we’re also being called upon to find new materials and processes to produce long-lasting, good toys for future generations that conserve resources.”

For more information on schleich®, its sustainability strategy, and the Cradle to Cradle® principle, please visit our or follow schleich® on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for the latest developments as they work to product long-lasting good toys for generations to come.

About schleich GmbH:

Founded in 1935 by Friedrich Schleich in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Schleich today is one of Germany’s largest toy manufacturers and a leading international supplier of realistic animal figurines. The famous figurines and playsets made by the brand schleich® are sold in more than 60 countries and have become a beloved feature in children’s rooms around the world. As a global player with Swabian roots, Schleich GmbH now generates more than half of its turnover outside of its German home market. In 2021, Schleich generated worldwide sales of 255 million euros and sold around 40 million animal figurines. The company is in the process of a comprehensive sustainability transformation. As a first step, by the end of 2027 all figurines will be recyclable or biodegradable. Also, Schleich is working hard at finding recycled or bio-based material for the future production of its toys. In addition to that and to ensure that resources are reused over and over again, Schleich is optimizing and certifying its figurines and packaging in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle® circular economy principles by end of 2027. The company is majority-owned by the Partners Group, a global private markets investment manager.

About Cradle to Cradle®/EPEA GmbH:

Cradle to Cradle® is a design principle developed in the 1990s by Professor Michael Braungart, William McDonough and EPEA Hamburg. It stands for innovation, quality and good design. It describes the safe and potentially infinite circulation of materials and nutrients in cycles. All materials are chemically harmless and recyclable. Waste as we know it today and which is generated according to the pre-existing “take-make-waste” model will no longer exist, only useful nutrients. EPEA GmbH was founded in Hamburg in 1987 by Professor Michael Braungart and is an international innovation partner for environmentally-friendly products, processes, buildings and urban districts.


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