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Lego signs WWF climate pact, aims to go 100% renewables by 2050

World’s most valuable top firm says it will cut energy use 10% by 2016, and explore recycling options

Lego's new smaller boxes have reduced its packaging CO2 footprint by 10% (Pic: LEGO)

Lego’s new smaller boxes have reduced its packaging CO2 footprint by 10% (Pic: Lego)

By Nilima Choudhury

The world’s most valuable toy company Lego says it aims to source all of its energy from renewables by 2050.

In the short term it plans to cut 10% per cent the energy used to manufacture one tonne of Lego pieces, and also produce more renewable energy than it uses in its facilities.

The Danish company, worth $5.3 billion, announced today it has signed WWF’s Climate Savers partnership, promising to improve performance on a range of environmental priorities.

“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. Partnering with WWF is an important step in our efforts to get the best out of our sustainability initiatives,” said Lego CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp.

Lego also plans to explore how it can use fewer materials, keeping the recyclability high and using renewable or recycled materials. This year the company introduced smaller boxes, which it says reduced its packaging carbon footprint by 10%.

Gitte Seeberg, CEO of WWF Denmark said Climate Savers member companies have cut their CO² emissions by more than 100 million tonnes since 1999. This is about twice the current yearly CO² emissions of Denmark.

“Rapid climate change is the largest threat against nature and human society worldwide. This is a key focus for WWF globally. Working with companies, such as the Lego Group, which shares our concern, is essential to be able to achieve our vision of 100% renewable energy by 2050,” said Seeberg.

Supply chains

Just one tenth of the total carbon emissions related to Lego products originates from processes taking place at LEGO factories during production of LEGO bricks and sets.

The rest of the emissions stem from supply chain activities, prompting the toy manufacturer to include a greater focus on collaborating with suppliers to reduce its CO2 impact.

Robbert Stecher, senior vice president of corporate affairs at the Lego Group said: “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 tonnes. Such a reduction would be equivalent to taking approximately 28,000 cars off the streets.”

For a number of years the Lego Group and WWF have had a dialogue on a range of sustainability topics such as sourcing sustainable packaging materials through the Forest Stewardship Council and partnering on the launch of the WindMade initiative.

Lego is also on track to commission an offshore wind farm in Germany where the production of energy from its part of the project will equal the energy consumption of approximately 100,000 residential homes.

Branching out

More than 10 years ago, WWF created the Climate Savers Programme, to mobilise leading multinational companies to cut their CO2 emissions in absolute terms and lead on the issue of climate change. Over the decade more than 20 world-known companies have shown that it’s possible to reduce their carbon footprint while growing both their business and shareholder value.

To be included, companies in the Climate Savers Programme agree to reduce their CO2 emissions in accordance with an individual reduction target defined by WWF, the company and independent technical experts.

Alongside Lego is pharmaceuticals company Johnson & Johnson which is the second largest corporate user of on-site solar energy in the US and through the programme by 2006 managed to reduce emissions to 16.8% below 1990 levels, despite more than tripling revenue over the same period.

Electric company Sony lowered emissions to approximately 1,620,000 tons in 2009 which equates to a 27% reduction compared to fiscal year 2000.

Nike created a CO2 model through the programme that calculates the emissions for every leg of all international shipments of its products, and the company is working to identify ways to reduce emissions from sea freight.

VIDEO: Climate change explained using Lego bricks

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