Not only is the Denmark-based company big on wind energy, but it aims to be 100-percent powered by renewables by 2020. It’s put out annual updates on its sustainability progress since 2006, and its sustainability reports are probably the most fun, colorful and visually engaging around.
Populated by minifigs — those small moveable LEGO people that have spawned entire subcultures — LEGO’s 2011 progress report on sustainability even features a LEGO likeness of president and CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp alongside the standard “Message from the CEO.”
The company’s sustainability performance itself is impressive. In 2011, it recycled 88 percent of its waste (its ultimate goal is zero waste) and improved its energy efficiency by 2.5 percent … though the company acknowledges that far short of its 5-percent-per-year goal. The problem — one many firms would be jealous to have these days — is that its business and profits just keep growing.
Yes, the elephant in the room is that LEGO’s core product, its very reason for being, is based on plastic (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, to be precise), a petroleum-derived material that’s anything but sustainable. It is recyclable, however … something this online petition urges LEGO to look into. And, as many a LEGO devotee can attest, it’s one plastic product that’s rarely thrown away.