LEGO’s toy dominance over the last half century has been built on petroleum-based plastics. The toy company is investing hundreds of millions of dollars
dedicated to research, development and implementation of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture LEGO elements as well as packaging materials.
By 2030, the Danish-based toy company says that their plastic bricks will no longer be made from the oil-based plastic in the 60 billion blocks LEGO produces each year.
Roar Trangbaek, press officer for the LEGO Group said,
“You could say that it’s a logical place for us to find a way of reducing our environmental footprint. If you look at our CO2 footprint as a company, the majority of our impact comes from offscreen activities-basically what happens before we receive any raw materials in our factory.”
Three-fourths of LEGO’s carbon footprint comes from the extraction and refinement of oil used in its toys. The company is involved with other environmental projects to offset the energy used in their factories. However, they’ve realized that no legitimate progress could be made without looking at the plastic itself.
The company is spending $150 million on their new LEGO Sustainable Materials Center where they will collaborate and develop partnerships with relevant stakeholders and experts. The new sustainability center is expected to be built by 2016 and employ approximately 100 specialists within the materials field.
LEGO details the new sustainability center in a recent press release:
• The LEGO Group dedicates 1 billion DKK and sets up LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre to find and implement new sustainable alternatives to current raw materials.
• More than 100 employees are expected to be recruited predominantly in the LEGO Group headquarters in Billund Denmark, to work on the task in the coming years.
• The structure and organisation of the LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre will be developed during 2015 and 2016.
• The LEGO Group will continuously report on the progress and learnings gained towards the 2030 ambition.
LEGO says that when they are ready to introduce the new materials into their production methods, it will be vital not to compromise the quality or safety standards expected by parents.
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp of the LEGO Group said,
“What we announce today is a long-term investment and a dedication to ensuring the continued research and development of new materials that will enable us to continue to deliver great, high quality creative play experiences in the future, while caring for the environment and future generations. It is a daunting and exciting challenge.”