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LEGO Group Partners with WWF, Commits to 100% Renewables by 2016

A LEGO wind turbine built for the 2012 London Olympics | Image credit: Ania Mendrek

LEGO Group recently announced a partnership with WWF centered around improving performance on a range of environmental priorities — including greater focus on collaboration with suppliers to reduce total carbon emissions — and committed to becoming net positive through the use of renewables by 2016.

The toy maker joins the likes of Natura, HP, Volvo, Johnson & Johnson and Sprint as the newest member of the WWF’s Climate Savers program.

“Continuing with business as usual is not an option, not for the planet or for companies. The problems can best be solved by working together, and our initiated partnership with the LEGO Group shows that joining forces can amplify and accelerate the positive impact we need,” says Gitte Seeberg, CEO of WWF Denmark. “Taking the lead and driving sustainable change in the value chain is showing genuine responsibility.

Highlights from the partnership agreement include:

  • In 2014 the toy manufacturer will initiate test projects with suppliers to co-create best solutions to address supply chain carbon emissions impacts.
  • The LEGO Group has committed to produce more renewable energy than the company uses in its facilities, i.e. be 100 percent+ renewable by 2016.
  • By the end of 2016, the energy used to manufacture one ton of LEGO elements must be reduced by, minimum, 10 percent compared to 2012.
  • LEGO will create an environmental strategy for materials that could include keeping recyclability high and using fewer, renewable or recycled materials.

"We have experienced strong growth for eight consecutive years and, as we grow, we are becoming increasingly aware of the impact we leave on the planet,” says LEGO Group CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. “Partnering with WWF is an important step in our efforts to get the best out of our sustainability initiatives. We are proud to contribute to WWF’s overall vision of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and already now they have played a part in the targets we have set — and how we can achieve them.” 

Of its 10 percent emission-reduction goal, which would amount to roughly

10,000 tons of emissions, LEGO says that only ten percent of the total carbon emissions from its entire value chain originates from the processes taking place at LEGO factories during molding, decoration and packaging of LEGO bricks. The remaining 90 percent stem from supply chain activities such as raw material extraction and refinement, indirect procurement, distribution from LEGO factories to toy stores around the world and end of life impact when the products are eventually scrapped.

“If we are able to inspire and enable our supply chain to also achieve a reduction in their production at a similar level, the total emissions would be reduced by 100,000 tons. Such a reduction would be equivalent to taking approximately 28,000 cars off the streets,” says Robbert Stecher, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at the LEGO Group. “We feel that it is natural to engage in a closer dialogue with our suppliers so that, together, we can join forces to reduce the carbon emissions and collaborate on a common goal of making a positive impact on the environment and society at large.”

While LEGO is now increasing its focus on suppliers, the company says it remains dedicated to reducing its external environmental impacts and shifting to net positive operations. The company says it has long discussed with WWF a range of sustainability topics such as sourcing sustainable packaging materials through FSC and partnering on the recent launch of the WindMade Product Label, which can be applied to all products using a minimum share of 75% of renewable energy in their total electricity consumption, with wind power representing the largest share. The toy maker says it has already commissioned an offshore wind farm in Germany, where the production of energy from LEGO’s portion of the farm equals the energy consumption of approximately 100,000 residential homes.

“Working with companies, such as the LEGO Group, which shares our concern, is essential to be able to achieve our vision of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050,” Seeberg added. “With the support of WWF, Climate Savers member companies have cut their CO² emissions by more than 100 million tons since 1999. This is about twice the current yearly CO² emissions of Denmark. Therefore, changes in corporate practice are essential if there is to be real progress for the climate. And in WWF we are very happy that a major player like the LEGO Group is now also a Climate Saver.” 

This is the latest in a string of collaborations through which WWF is working to further industry-wide change. Last month, the NGO announced the formation of the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance, a partnership with Coca-Cola, Danone, Ford, Heinz, Nestlé, Nike, P&G and Unilever to support the responsible development of plastics made from plant material and promote a more sustainable future for the bioplastics industry.

SB Issues in Focus For more examples of game-changing multi-sector and -industry #collaboration to solve some of the world's most pressing problems, check out our Issue in Focus.

Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor of Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]


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