The LEGO Group is participating in the BLE Sustainability Activation in partnership with Products of Change at Brand Licensing Europe 2021. The event runs in person from 17-19 November with follow-up online content launching 22 November and online networking taking place 30 November – 1 December. Registration is free at www.brandlicensing.eu
Ahead of the event, Sine Klitgaard Møller, Director Licensing & Extended Line Sustainability Transformation, the LEGO Group, outlines the measures the company has implemented to reduce its environmental impact.
The LEGO Group is being praised for pushing the sustainability agenda in the toy sector. Tell us what you’ve done and still plan to do.
At the LEGO Group, we want to play our part in building a sustainable future and creating a brighter world for children to inherit. We are guided by our Planet Promise, an approach built on the idea of leaving a positive impact.
When it comes to the environment, the LEGO Group is working to minimise the environmental impact of our operations and to make our products and packaging from more sustainable materials. In 2018, we launched our first bio-based elements made from sustainably sourced sugar cane. In 2020, we revealed and started piloting our new paper bags that will hold LEGO bricks in product sets. And earlier this year, we unveiled a LEGO prototype brick made from recycled plastic.
Within our licensing function, we’re working closely with the licensing partners on sustainability initiatives. Our big focus right now is to make our packaging more sustainable and to remove all single-use plastic. One example is the development of packaging guides for our partners, which include material guidelines, inspiration and ideas on how to remove plastic from designs.
We started looking at our licensing portfolio in 2019. We spent a lot of time educating ourselves and hiring experts. Understanding what our environmental impacts were and their magnitude was the first step we took. We then had to prioritise our efforts, as the list of potential projects kept growing, and ultimately, we built a strategy.
Today, we’re at a point where our understanding is deep, and we have created a systematic approach to sustainabiltiy in our licensing portfolio. And we are bringing our partners along on the journey with us. For example, we’re asking them to report through CDP as part of the LEGO Group’s supplier Engage-to-Reduce programme. We are also looking to create more playbooks to help guide our partners on, for example, their product materials challenges.
Do you have key performance indicators that you can share with us?
The targets that are most relevant to my work are firstly, our ambition to remove single-use plastic and transition to more sustainable packaging by end 2025, and secondly, our science-based CO2 target to reduce emissions by 37% by 2032, compared with 2019, which not only covers our own operations but also the supply chain – and includes all of our licensing partners.
What can other brands, manufacturers and retailers learn from LEGO Group’s experience when it comes to sustainability?
I think we can all learn from each other, as it is such a complex agenda to grasp. One thing is for sure, no one can ignore the climate crisis and carry on with business as usual. We must each be open to learning new ways and challenge ourselves to find solutions to the changes we must implement.
My biggest learnings personally came through educating myself on climate change and circular economy principles and understanding the need to partner with environmental experts on my projects. I’m also lucky to work for a creative brand where creative thinking is baked into the way we work.
What will visitors to Brand Licensing Europe see from the LEGO Group in the Sustainability Activation?
We are excited to share the first brown reduced-print ADIDAS x LEGO shoebox, LEGO CITY bedding with no single-use plastic and a reduced-print packaging card, made by Character World for JYSK, and a LEGO Brick Backpack made from recycled PET plastic bottles, by Carry Gear Solution.
What’s the one message you’d like the licensing industry to take away from visiting you at BLE?
We want to inspire others to get started on their sustainability journey if they have not already done so. We also want to encourage our peers to join forces and work together, so that we can all learn from one another. Sustainability will be the licence to operate and a requirement of how we do business in the future, which is why it’s so important for us to act now.
What’s the one message you’re sharing with kids – big and small – about sustainability through the LEGO Group?
The LEGO Group have a responsibility to take urgent action and protect the world that children will inherit. And we’re working hard to play our part in building a sustainable future.
We also believe that children’s voices on sustainability need to be heard, and we want to help give children a greater platform. For example, at COP26, the LEGO Group shared Building Instructions for a Better World with decision makers, informing leaders what young people believe need to happen if we’re to tackle the climate crisis and create a more sustainable future.