The LEGO Group, Nestle, and Levi Strauss have all been named among Fortune’s 2021 Change the World listing, a unique and prestigious rundown that recognises companies that are ‘doing well by doing good.’
The list acts to celebrate global businesses that ‘have made solving some kind of social problem’ central to their business model, whether it is in the name of sustainability and waste reduction or improving conditions for workers and global supply chains.
The concept of the list is to not simply celebrate philanthropy but recognise the companies that have figured out how to do something good for the planet that is also good for business. The list celebrating these achievements was established in the belief that ‘this tends to be a more sustainable way to address problems.’
Among its listing, the Danish toy maker The LEGO Group – a company that has for a long time been vocal about its commitment to sustainability within the toy space – was placed at number 14. The firm was recognised for its numerous initiatives around climate and the materials it uses. Among the many efforts that LEGO is currently implementing is the roll-out of solar panels across all of its factories, its efforts to build offshore wind farms through its parent company Kirkby, and its advances in mitigating its climate impact from its energy use through technological innovation.
Recent headlines have detailed LEGO’s ‘moon shot’ mission of sourcing alternatives to plastics, using either recycled materials (such as its recent P.E.T.bottles prototype or bio based materials). The ultimate goal for LEGO is to have all of its bricks made from sustainable plastic by 2030 and to remove single use plastic from all of its products and packaging by 2025.
Additionally, the firm is now promoting a message of sharing and passing its LEGO bricks on to the next generation of children through a Replay and Repay programme in the US and Canada. The initiative allows consumers to print off a label from its website, put in in a box filled with old LEGO pieces and the toy maker will reclaim the LEGO to repurpose for charity.
Of his company’s inclusion in the Fortune’s 2021 Change the World listing, The LEGO Group’s CEO, Niels B Christiansen, said: “As a company, we are fully committed to making a positive impact on society and the environment. I am very happy to see The LEGO Group has been included in Fortune’s 2021 Change the World list of companies.
“It reflects the progress we are making on our journey to find and implement more sustainable materials in our products, removing single use plastic from packaging and our continued investments in renewable energy sources.”
Elsewhere within the consumer brand space, Levi Strauss was recognised on the list (placing at number 22) for its new approach to waste reduction and its calibrated efforts to ‘develop its products to last a long time.’ The fashion brand has recently launched a programme by which consumers can bring in their old and used clothing to have them repaired. The effort is in a bid to keep as much of its product out of landfill as possible.
Nestle has also placed this year (number 28) for the ‘enormous amount of money’ that it has been investing in the plant-based food space. As one of the largest food companies on the planet, Nestle has been using its scale to ‘really turn plant-based into a mainstream thing.’ Today, plant based alternatives feature across its range of products, including a vegan KitKat and plant-based tuna alternatives. It was at one point that Nestle found itself behind in the plant-based switch-up, but has since made it its mission to ‘play catch up’.
“Plant based is approaching $1bn double-digit rates, so this is a high growth area for the company,” said Beth Kowitt, senior editor of Fortune’s 2021 Change the World listing.
Other notable brands to have placed within the top 50 of Fortune’s 2021 Change the World listing include Walmart (number 15), Airbnb (number 11), and L’Oreal (number 48).
Erika Fry, writer at Fortune, said: “Consumers really care about this. They want the companies that they’re patronising or purchasing things from to act responsibly, and to source things responsibly. They want companies to be transparent, and now with things like social media, it’s possible to hold them to account more.”