Environment

LEGO critter standing with plants
We want to play our part in building a sustainable future and making a positive impact on the planet our children will inherit.
Hands holding rPET granulate

A prototype LEGO® brick made from recycled plastic

Our ambition is to make LEGO® bricks from more sustainable materials by 2030 without compromising quality or safety. This means we need to develop entirely new materials that are safe and strong enough to be passed down through generations – and fit seamlessly with a LEGO brick made over 50 years ago.

In June 2021, we revealed our first prototype brick made from a recycled material. This prototype, made from recycled PET plastic bottles, marks an important step on our sustainable materials journey. It’s the culmination three years hard work from a team of more than 150 experts who have tested over 250 variations of PET materials.

In the first half of 2021, we expanded the range of bio-based LEGO elements made from renewable sugarcane to create polyethylene, a soft, durable and flexible plastic. There are currently more than 100 elements made from bio-polyethylene which are found in more than 40% of our products. We aim to at least double the number of bio-polyethylene elements over the next few years.

LEGO critters holding sust packaging around a Critter tree

Sustainable packaging

LEGO bricks are designed to be reused and handed down through generations, but LEGO boxes and other packaging are often disposed of quickly. Currently, 91% of our packaging by weight is made from recyclable paper and cardboard, while some of our packaging contains single-use disposable plastic. This kind of plastic isn’t recyclable in many areas of the world, meaning we do not consider it sustainable. That’s why we’re taking urgent action to make all our packaging more sustainable by 2025, by using only recyclable paper and cardboard and eliminating single use plastic.

As a next step, we are replacing the single-use plastic bags used in LEGO boxes to package the loose bricks. So far, several prototypes, made from a range of paper-based materials, have been tested with hundreds of parents and children. In 2021, we are completing a pilot project to test paper-based bags certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®C117818), and expect to introduce the new packaging in 2022.

We are also phasing out plastic carry bags in our LEGO® retail stores and replacing them with bags made from Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®C117818) certified paper.

LEGO critters standing on infinity sign

Circularity inspires us

The LEGO System in Play supports the principles of circular design – a product made of quality materials with the durability, safety and consistency to be passed on and handed down through generations.

In 2020, we became a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) network as part of our efforts to design more ‘circular’ products and packaging and explore new business models.

In May 2021, we teamed up with EMF to host an online workshop on circularity for 13- to 18-year-olds. Using our Build the Change series, the event focused on engaging young people in the circular economy through creativity and play.

a box with a sticker on top that says LEGO Replay
Since the launch of LEGO® Replay in 2019 in the US, and in 2020 in Canada
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(206,327 kg) of LEGO bricks have been donated to the programme. This has extended the creative life of approximately 38.6 million bricks for up to 66,000 children in North America.

97% of LEGO owners keep or share their bricks, passing them on to friends or family. With the LEGO Replay programme we want to inspire and help LEGO brick owners pass along the bricks they aren’t using – keeping LEGO bricks in play and circulation.

Reducing our CO2 impact

We continue to be 100% balanced by renewable energy, due to investments in offshore wind by our parent company KIRKBI A/S and investments in onsite renewable energy by the LEGO Group. We define ‘balanced by renewable energy’ as: energy generated from renewable sources, either on- or offsite, as being equal to, or more than the energy we use at our locations. We purchase and retire all available Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from our renewable energy investments and supplement these with accredited RECs when those investments are not available.
a LEGO critter hill

Science Based Target

In December 2020, we were the first large toy company to announce a science-based target, which commits us to reducing our absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032 compared to our 2019 baseline. The target has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative as consistent with levels required to keep global warming to below 1.5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.
LEGO critter factory shaking hands with a Critter tree

Total carbon emissions

In 2020, the total greenhouse gas emissions from our global operations and supply chain were 1.2 million tonnes of carbondioxide equivalent (tCO2e). In the same year, we changed the way we calculate our carbon footprint to more accurately reflect our renewable energy purchases.
This means that the actual CO2 footprint of the electricity we use, is smaller compared to previous years, where it was calculated using country-by-country averages.

Read our 2020 CO2 Emissions Report to learn more about our accounting methodology as well as our commitment and progress to reducing our carbon footprint

Solar panels

Improving carbon efficiency

As one means of reaching our science-based target and tracking our progress along the way, we are working to improve the carbon efficiency of making a LEGO brick. We measure carbon efficiency by tonnes of carbon emitted divided by the weight of LEGO bricks produced.

In the first half of 2021, we improved our carbon efficiency by 3.7% and made great progress in projects that aim to drive our efficiency further. These include for example launching an intelligent energy management system at our factory site in Mexico and installing solar panels at our factory sites in Hungary and China.

Critters drinking water

Reducing water consumption

While water use is very low in the production of LEGO bricks, we always strive to use it as efficiently as possible. We aim to reduce our water usage by 10% by the end of 2022.

Due to the relative increase in water consumption over the summer months, our reduction in Q2 2021 is 1.3% below our quarterly target of 5%. We expect water consumption to correct in Q3 and are on track to achieve our overall 5% 2021 reduction target.

LEGO critters standing next to a big zero

Zero waste to landfill

We are aiming for zero waste to landfill, which means that no waste from any LEGO factory, office or owned and operated store will be landfilled by 2025. We are also dedicated to removing single-use plastic in our operations by the end of 2022. We currently send 91% of all waste to recycling, including 99% of our production line waste so far this year - on track to reach our 100% goal. In 2020, 381 tonnes of waste went to landfill from production sites, and 99 tonnes in the first half of 2021.
Working together

Joining forces for climate action and the green transition

In January 2021, we joined the European Commission’s new Green Consumption Pledge pilot initiative. By joining the pledge, we reinforced our commitment to lowering our carbon footprint and helping consumers make more sustainable choices.

Building sustainable businesses together

We can’t minimize the environmental impact of our operations alone. 90% of our carbon emissions come from our supply chain - suppliers that provide and deliver raw materials, machines, products and services related to LEGO products. We collaborate closely with our suppliers to explore ways to reduce our collective carbon footprint.

In June 2021 we hosted our first Sustainability Supplier Summit, and sought support from our suppliers to set their own science-based targets.
As part of our ambition to get there, we increased the number of suppliers committed to the CDP carbon disclosure system to 93 in 2021, up from 60 in 2020. We have an ambition to have all our most carbon-intense suppliers committed to CDP in 2022 and have begun working with targeted suppliers to introduce a shift to renewable electricity.

Our journey towards our environmental sustainability goals

We are on the journey towards our 2030 goal and making progress along the way on all our environmental sustainability ambitions; materials, packaging, carbon efficiency and zero waste, by joining forces with children, our employees, experts and NGOs.

Unfold the timeline below to review our journey.