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LEGO is on a mission to elevate circular economy education in schools

Thu 10 Mar 2022 | 11:19 am GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

LEGO launched its Build the Change campaign last year

LEGO is to call on policymakers to elevate circular economy education within school curriculums, to ‘give children a voice on the issues that matter most to them,’ following findings of a recent study into the relationship children have with sustainability. Detailed in the Danish toy maker’s latest Sustainability Progress Report 2021 – a breakdown of the actions LEGO has taken, and sustainable strides forward made over the last 12 months – the firm is on a mission to empower children on the subject of circularity and help bridge the knowledge gap among eight to 18 year olds on the topic. Since partnering with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2020, LEGO has been hosting online workshops on circularity for 13 to 18 year olds, as well as multiple workshops during COP26 in Glasgow, based on its Learning through Play and Build the Change series. The company’s own Circular Economy and Youth study, conducted in 2021 with over 6,000 children aged eight to 18, showed that while children care deeply about the planet, they find it difficult to relate to circularity. The call upon policymakers to strengthen curriculum education around the topic of sustainability arrives amid the launch of LEGO’s latest Sustainability Progress Report 2021, a 30-page document outlining the advances the leading toy company has made within its pillars of Children, Environment, People, and Governance. The past 12 months have seen LEGO make huge strides in the development and adoption of new measures and innovations, from the successful trial of paper bag packaging for LEGO bricks, to the development of the first prototype LEGO brick made from a recycled plastic in June last year.
LEGO has successfully trialled paper-based bags in LEGO boxes and will roll out the initiative further this year.
“As a company who looks to children as our role models, we have made bold commitments to ensure we help create a better world for them to inherit. From climate action, products and packaging, to human rights and digital wellbeing, 2021 has been a year of progress on our ambition to build a more sustainable future for our company and generations to come,” said The LEGO Group’s CEO, Niels B Christiansen. “We have continued to transition to have more plant=based LEGO elements from sugarcane and made progress on sustainable packaging, successfully trialling the first paper-based bags in LEGO boxes which will continue rolling out in 2022. These developments are testament to the ingenuity of our material experts and dedication to innovating for the future. “This is not only important to us, but to children as well. When children play, they learn, and as we look to our 90th anniversary, we will continue to make progress against our ambitions to have a positive impact on the world our children will inherit – and inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.” In its report, LEGO reaffirms its commitment to reduce its absolute carbon emissions by 37 per cent by 2032 as it looks to continue investment in sustainable materials research to reduce the carbon footprint of LEGO products and packaging, as well as make its own business more circular, and continue to work with suppliers through its Engage-to-Reduce programme to drive innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The team will also act to expand renewable energy production at factories to ensure procurement of 100 per cent renewable energy across factories, offices, and stores, as well as increase investment in renewable energy capacity in all regions in which LEGO operates. Its goal is to run carbon neutral operations by the end of this year. This all lands as The LEGO Group this week reports a 22 per cent growth across its consumer sales for the full year versus 2020. Investing to build for the future appears to be paying off for the team that has now watched revenue grow 27 per cent to DKK 55.3bn compared to 2020, with an operating profit up 32 per cent to DKK 17bn. CEO Christiansen, said: “I am grateful for everything The LEGO Group was able to achieve in 2021. Our passionate and committed team of more than 24,000 colleagues showed tremendous dedication and resilience to keep the world playing. “Meanwhile, our strong financial performance allows us to further accelerate strategic investments to help us reach more children in the long term.” All market groups delivered double-digit consumer sales growth thanks to strong execution and the ‘largest and most diverse portfolio ever.’ Top selling themes included LEGO City, LEGO Technic, LEGO Creator Expert, LEGO Harry Potter, and LEGO Star Wars.
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