The Danish toy manufacturer Lego Group has achieved a target of balancing 100% of its energy use through renewable sources, four years after its started its investment in the strategy.
After four years and a DKK6bn (€800m) investment in two offshore wind farms, said Lego on 17 May, the group hit the target three years ahead of schedule.
This was achieved following an investment in a 25% stake in the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm off the coast of Liverpool, UK.
The wind farm, which was officially opened 1 May, will generate clean power for more than 230,000 British households.To mark the occasion, the group has built “the largest ever” Lego brick wind turbine and challenged children around the world to create their own renewable energy solutions.
Lego, which views itself as a stakeholder driven brand, has formulated four promises designed to “make a positive impact on the world” - as the company puts it - relating to the play, partner, people and planet. On formulating the initial sustainability goals, the company performed and environmental impact assessment of the value chain.
This showed that 10% of the company’s impact was associated with manufacturing and 15% with the consumer and disposal phase; however, 75% of its impact was related to the production process itself and the materials used, said Søren Kristiansen, director materials department at Lego earlier this year at the World Bio Markets event in Amsterdam.
“We therefore first worked on the 10% related to our own business, which meant, among other things, becoming self-sufficient in energy,” he said.
And the strategy has clearly been successful.
“This development [opening of Burbo Bank Extension] means we have now reached the 100% renewable energy milestone three years ahead of target. Together with our partners, we intend to continue investing in renewable energy to help create a better future for the builders of tomorrow,” said Bali Padda, CEO of the Lego Group.
According to Lego, the total output from the investments by the group in renewables now exceeds the energy consumed at all Lego factories, stores and offices globally.
In 2016, more than 360 gigawatt hours of energy were used by the Lego Group to produce the more than 75bn Lego bricks sold around the world during the year.
Lego’s additional goals include reducing packaging and improving waste handling systems.
The company has also partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as part of its Climate Savers partnership, and is collaborating with numerous other partners to reduce its impact elsewhere - for example, the production process - as well.
In an effort to develop more sustainable bricks, the company is currently building a Sustainable Materials Centre, which will comprise 4,000 square meters of research facilities and employ about 100 people when it opens in 2018.
The aim is ultimately for all LEGO’s core products to be made from sustainable materials by 2030, an ambition that, when realised will have a major effect on the environmental impact of the company.