Lego has revealed a £310m investment in sustainability commitments to include plastics, waste, emissions and the circular economy.
The package will see Lego invest in new manufacturing equipment, materials-related R&D and expanding brick re-use programmes and education schemes over a three-year period.
A statement from Lego said that paper-based alternatives to the single-use plastic bags used to contain bricks inside their main box will be trialled at scale. The paper used to make the bags will be procured from sustainably certified sources.
The move forms part of Lego’s commitment to use “100% sustainable materials” in packaging by 2025. Vice president for environmental responsibility, Tim Brooks, commented: “We need to introduce new machines to make the new packs, and we make millions of boxes a day across five factories around the world. We are phasing in the bags over five years so we can learn more about which design of bag provides the best play experience, while phasing in new equipment across our manufacturing so we can continue to bring Lego play to children around the world.”
Lego has also pledged to make 100% of its products from sustainable materials by 2030, rather than from virgin fossil-based materials. Funding will be used to scale up bioplastics, which currently account for 2% of Lego’s portfolio of bricks, as well as recycled materials.
A team of engineers and scientists has been testing different plant-based and recycled materials, but making sure the bricks can stick together while still being able to be taken apart easily has proved challenging. Trials of bio-polyethylene, a type of plastic made from ethanol that’s produced using sugarcane, have so far shown disappointing reults.
The company is aiming to eliminate waste-to-landfill by 2025 and to increase focus on initiatives designed to keep Lego products in use for longer. Brick donation scheme, Lego Replay, will be rolled out in Canada in the coming months and Lego plans to extend the scheme in a further territory by the end of 2022, following a pilot in the US.
Lego recently announced that it has joined the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, to cement the company’s commitment to promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility to the next generation.
All manufacturing operations aim to be certified as carbon-neutral by 2022, and Lego will increase its renewable energy sourcing through a mix of tariffs, power purchase agreements (PPAs) and onsite solar installations. New, more energy-efficient cooling technology will also be introduced. The Group will work with WWF to ensure that offsetting projects are credible and truly beneficial.
With 25% of its profits ploughed into its charitable foundation, Lego is aiming to reach 8m children across 27 nations annually by 2022. Partnering with UNICEF and Save the Children, the foundation has sought to improve problem-solving skills and collaboration skills since its inception, and now projects will place more focus on environmental sustainability education.