Lego hits 100 percent renewable energy target

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Lego A/S Lego A/S created the "world's largest Lego brick wind turbine," which debuted in Liverpool, England, as part of its celebration.

Danish toy making giant Lego A/S says it has hit its goal of having 100 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources, just four years after it began its investment in the effort.

The project, which included a 6 billion Danish krone ($902 million) investment in two offshore wind farms, hit Lego's target three years ahead of schedule, the company said in a May 17 news release. Lego purchased a 25 percent stake in the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm off the coast of Liverpool, England, in the United Kingdom.

The wind farm officially opened May 1, and will generate clean power for more than 230,000 British households.To mark the occasion, Lego built “the largest ever” Lego brick wind turbine and challenged children around the world to create their own renewable energy solutions.

The Lego wind turbine, was built with 146,000 bricks and stands 7.5 meters tall. The real turbines in the Burbo Bank farm are 200 meters tall. After making its debut in Liverpool, the Lego turbine will be moved to Legoland Windsor Resort in the U.K.

Lego says it has made four promises designed to “make a positive impact on the world” relating to the play, partner, people and planet. With its initial sustainability goals, the company performed an environmental impact assessment of the value chain.

This showed that 10 percent of the company’s impact was associated with manufacturing and 15 percent with the consumer and disposal phase; however, 75 percent of its impact was related to the production  process itself and the materials used, said Søren Kristiansen, director of the materials department at Lego earlier this year at the World Bio Markets event in Amsterdam.

“We therefore first worked on the 10 percent 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 [opening of Burbo Bank Extension] means we have now reached the 100 percent 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 Lego CEO Bali Padda.

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 Lego to produce the more than 75 billion 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 center, 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.