Show #83: LEGO’s 2030 sustainability targets with Tim Brooks

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Now onto the show…

I remember so well seeing the news break that LEGO were aiming to be new-petroleum-free by 2030, engaging a huge task force of sustainability experts, scientists and industrial designers to work on this project. Today, some 2.5 years later, I chat to Tim Brooks, ex environmental advisor to the City of London, now with LEGO, on how their work is going towards this goal. We can all move mountains, and the big companies of LEGO’s size can effect radical change when they move the needle on how they produce their products, so I hope you enjoy this look into what LEGO is working to achieve. 

Here’s a little snapshot of the juicy bits in today’s episode…

  • Looking at the entire value chain, 75% of LEGO’s carbon footprint comes from suppliers of raw materials. They have committed to only using sustainable materials in their core products and packaging by 2030.
  • It is an ambitious challenge as LEGO wants to retain the quality they’re known for as well as their safety standards while making improvements to the raw materials. They have strict requirements when it comes to the colours and moulding of the bricks as the pieces need to be put together and pulled apart easily.
  • The biggest finding that Tim’s team made along the way was their ability to drive innovation through sustainability. It doesn’t have to be an either or. For example, reducing the number of materials that makes up a brick in order to make the product more recyclable.  They’ve tried to look at their challenges with a green lens in order to come up with a better solution, having a product that is of higher quality whilst achieving their sustainability goals.
  • In total they use twenty different materials across all of their range including polyethylene and ABS, which is the type of plastic used in 85% of the bricks and is the hardest to replicate in a more sustainable way. LEGO is also claimed to be the world’s largest tyre-maker and uses a considerable amount of rubber in the construction of these elements.
  • They’re currently using a bio-polyethylene that comes from Brazilian sugar cane (verified non-GMO). They use the second press, and extract the ethanol from the sugar to make it into a polymer and ultimately polyethylene. This bio-plastic is already being used in the making of LEGO’s botanical elements such as trees, bushes and leaves.
  • All of LEGO’s elements are BPA free and some of them use bio-polyethylene. They’ve also been free of phthalates for decades – they were ones of the first to get rid of these in the toy industry.
  • LEGO is working with universities, raw materials suppliers and different types of agencies and organisations from technical to policies in order to achieve their sustainability goals while continuing to provide products that are durable and can be used throughout the generations.
  • LEGO is part of the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) and they partner with the World Wildlife Fund for nature (WWF) to ensure that this new type of plastic doesn’t have an impact on bio-diversity, on food security or water consumption. They’re also committed to reducing CO2 emissions in manufacturing and supply chain operations, and promote global action on climate change.
  • Through the parent company that owns LEGO, KIRKBI, they invested in two wind farms off the coast of Germany and off the coast of England. Added up together they currently balance all of LEGO’s energy consumption for all the factories, offices and shops they own globally.
  • Sustainability also encompasses packaging: they’ve shrinked the size of the boxes on average 18%, and taken 4,000 trucks off the roads as a result. They’re also working on the bags inside the boxes, the inks they use to print on the boxes and the glue used to hold the box together. The cardboard they use is 75% post-consumer waste and 100% FSC certified.
  • Hearing first-hand from parents and children what they most want to see happen with LEGO and then working on turning these visions into reality is what Tim finds most exciting about his job.  “Inspire the builders of tomorrow” is LEGO’s motto.

 

And here are a few extra important resources:

You can find out more about LEGO and the work that Tim Brooks is spearheading HERE.

More information on their work with WWF and the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance can be found HERE.

You can access kids-friendly information about all their wonderful sustainability initiatives HERE – it includes the Batman video that Tim talks about.

 The TED talk I mention from Steve Howard, IKEA’s Chief Sustainability Officer can be accessed HERE.

 

 

Our featured course this month is Low Tox Kids so if you want to know how to raise low tox kids in a high tox world, I’d love you to join us. It’s only $85, the practitioner interviews are excellent and you will be empowered with the “why” we want to raise kids in a low tox environment, and will be given the tools to do that. See you in the private FB group, Alexx x

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Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world.

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet

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