Build back better? Lego pledges up to $400m for fresh sustainability drive

Toy giant announces wide-ranging new programme to accelerate the development of sustainable materials and curb plastic use

Lego is to invest up to $400m in "building a sustainable future" with the firm stepping up efforts to develop and deploy sustainable materials, while promoting environmental themed "actions" to help inspire children through play.

The toy giant yesterday announced the new investment drive, which will primarily focus on the firm's Sustainable Materials Programme, where more than 150 experts work to create sustainable products and packaging such as bio-bricks made from sugar cane.

The bio-bricks now represent two per cent of the company's product portfolio, but Lego is keen to rapidly accelerate its development of alternative materials that could replace conventional plastics in the manufacture of its iconic bricks. In 2015, the Group set a target to make all its products from sustainable materials by 2030.

The new planned investments include both costs associated with the development of new sustainable materials and the investments in manufacturing equipment to expand the use of new materials.

"We cannot lose sight of the fundamental challenges facing future generations," said Lego Group's CEO, Niels B Christiansen. "It's critical we take urgent action now to care for the planet and future generations. As a company who looks to children as our role models, we are inspired by the millions of kids who have called for more urgent action on climate change."

As a first step for the new programme, the company announced it would phase out single use plastic bags from its packaging. It also reiterated its plans to achieve net zero in 2020 and divert no waste to landfill by 2025, building on its previous milestone of sourcing 100 per cent renewable power across the group.

The company also announced a new ambition to help eight million children to learn through play around the world each year in collaboration with the Lego Foundation and external organisations, such as UNICEF and Save the Children. A series of initiatives will give children in need access to play and opportunities to develop life-long skills such as problem solving, collaboration, and communication. A quarter of the Lego Group's profits go to funding the Lego Foundation's projects, activities and partnerships and, in 2019, 1.8 million children were reached through such programmes, it said

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