SILC 2020: LEGO’s dream to be “a playground of prototyping sustainable alternatives” for licensing partners

The LEGO Group has outlined its plans to bring its sustainable efforts into the firm’s wider LEGO licensing business through an overhaul of its product development and packaging, and to be a “playground of prototyping sustainable alternatives for its portfolio of licensing partners.”

Speaking at the first Sustainability in Licensing Conference this week, LEGO’s licensing sustainability transformation lead, Sine Klitgaard Moller, said that while its core toy offering is developed to be ‘hand-me-down’ or heirloom toy range, the company is aware that the ethos doesn’t necessarily apply to its extended licensed product portfolio.

The mission statement that the LEGO licensing division has now issued is to eliminate single use plastic completely and make all of its licensed products and extended lines sustainable by targeting packaging and other elements of production over the coming years.

Over the next year – from 2021 to 2022 – the LEGO Group will begin to transform all of its plastic packaging into paper packaging, starting with the five types of packaging that make the biggest difference to the environment.

“Our focus, for now, is first of all educating ourselves,” said Klitgaard Moller during a conference slot dedicated to sustainability in the toy industry. “We are also going to transform and help our licensing partners with the packaging challenge.

“I am personally very excited to learn about new materials and the journey that will challenge me to think about licensed products in new ways. It is important that designers and manufacturers join us on this journey, too.”

While the global coronavirus pandemic has thrown its many hardships at industries across the board and across the globe, it’s also expedited a number of social trends, not least the mass move towards online shopping. This move has been earmarked by LEGO as a potential avenue through which to re-think its product packaging.

Klitgaard Moller, said: “With Covid-19 pushing consumers hard into online shopping, suddenly packaging facings aren’t so important. This means we are now given the space to explore new ways of introducing sustainability to the packaging we use.

“By 2030 we want to see a clear path to a planet that is more in balance with consumption. The tools we are creating to educate ourselves, we are sharing with our licensing partners and are trying to make them as simple as possible.

“We are really good at making building instructions for complicated LEGO sets for children to understand, so we are trying to break sustainability and demands down for that single person sitting in their packaging and manufacturing office to help them make better design choices, too.

“We in LEGO Licensing would really like to function as that playground for sustainability, where we can prototype with big and small partners, big and small ideas and show children that we want to do something now, that we are truly listening and are taking action,” she concluded.