The Lego Group has taken a significant step forward in establishing its environmental credentials, investing one billion Danish Krone (DKK) in research to find new sustainable materials for its products.
The toy giant’s success in the last half century has been down to petroleum-based plastics - what the famous Lego ‘building blocks’ are made from. More than 60 million plastic blocks of Lego were produced last year and the company's ambition is to find and implement new sustainable materials by 2030. The new boost in funds has put Lego well on its way, according to representatives.
As well as research into environmentally friendly materials for the toys, the Danish company has already been taking steps to reduce its impact on the world. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO and President of the Lego Group, said: “We have already taken important steps to reduce our carbon footprint and leave a positive impact on the planet by reducing the packaging size, by introducing FSC-certified packaging and through our investment in an offshore wind farm. Now we are accelerating our focus on materials.”
The investment will launch the Lego Sustainable Materials Centre during 2015 and 2016. Based at the Group’s headquarters in Billund, it will include all current employees of Lego and newer ones who will work to find alternative materials. 100 specialists are also expected to be recruited to aid the process. The Centre will hope to incorporate satellite functions in relevant locations across the world, as well as collaborate with external stakeholders and experts.
Lego Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen said: “Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. We believe that our main contribution to this is through the creative play experiences we provide to children.
“The investment announced is a testament to our continued ambition to leave a positive impact on the planet, which future generations will inherit.”
Kristiansen added that the testing and research they had already done had given them greater visibility of the challenges they face to succeed.
Almost the entire carbon footprint of the Group originates from the extraction and refinement of oil which is found in its toys. Lego is heavily involved in other projects that help the environment to try to counterbalance their energy usage in the factories.
The decision to boost the funding for the research on sustainable materials was taken at the General Assembly of the Lego Group in May 2015. The Group will ensure that the new materials do not compromise quality or safety standards set by Lego.
Commenting on the research, Vig Knudstorp said: “This is paramount to us as it enables us to provide children with a unique play experience that inspires and develops them and enables them to build a better tomorrow. This is ultimately the reason for our continued efforts to always do better.”