The LEGO Group recently announced plans to invest DKK 1 billion ($152.2 million) dedicated to research, development and implementation of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture LEGO® elements as well as packaging materials. Last year, the company stepped up its effort in the search for more sustainable materials by entering into collaborations with businesses and universities that develop materials with a reduced environmental impact.
The company said this is a major step towards achieving its 2030 ambition on sustainable materials. Lego has already taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint by reducing the packaging size, by introducing FSC certified packaging and an investment in an offshore wind farm.
The investment will result in the establishment of the LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre based at the LEGO Group’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark. In addition, the LEGO Group expects to recruit more than 100 specialists within the materials field. The LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre organization will be established during 2015 and 2016, and it is expected that it will include satellite functions located in relevant locations around the globe. In addition, the centre will collaborate and develop partnerships with relevant external stakeholders and experts.
In 2014 more than 60 billion LEGO elements were made. Finding alternatives to the materials used to make these bricks would significantly reduce the LEGO Group’s impact on the planet, the company said.
Lego recently collaborated with WWF to focus on better assessing the overall sustainability and environmental impact of new bio-based materials for LEGO elements and packaging. Last year, Lego noted in a bioplastic conference hosted by NatureWorks that it is looking to convert some of its ABS plastic materials to bioplastics. Lego reportedly consumes around 60 ktpa of plastics annually, mostly ABS material (over 70%). Lego emphasized that any bioplastics that it will use must meet all design parameters and be totally compatible with the current materials the company is using.