Lego becomes Ellen MacArthur Foundation member in bid to spur circular economy progress

Toymaker the Lego Group has joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a three-year period, as part of its efforts to increase product reuse and recycling.

Lego sells products in some 130 countries

Lego sells products in some 130 countries

Under the partnership, Lego will receive support to better embed the Foundation’s three circular economy principles - designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use and regenerating natural systems – across the business.

On the first and second principles, Lego claims that the durability of its products and the fact that the company broadly avoids trend-led design means that toys are often reused and passed down through generations. In an effort to encourage reuse further, Lego last year partnered with US-based charity Give Back Box to enable consumers to donate old bricks to children in need. Covid-19 has seen this partnership distribute Lego bricks to low-income areas where students are participating in online school.

As for nature restoration, which the Foundation’s chief executive Andrew Morlet claims is often the hardest to action for businesses, Lego has vowed to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastics from its products by 2030. Lego first moved to incorporate sugarcane-based bioplastic into its products in 2018, and will seek to scale up its use while also sourcing recycled content.

The partnership between the Lego and the Foundation will help to scale up these initiatives, but several other key objectives have also been agreed upon. Lego has agreed to work with the Foundation’s network of businesses, experts and policymakers, and to inspire its competitors to shift to circular design, products and services.

Additionally, Lego will develop new ways of teaching children about the circular economy through play. It is likely to launch new advertising and educational materials in the coming years to achieve this aim.

The company’s vice president of environmental responsibility Tim Brooks said he hoped the partnership will drive “industry-wide change” as well as advancing Lego’s own circular economy efforts.

“We focus on building a better planet for future generations which includes protecting the world’s natural resources and becoming more circular is key to us achieving this,” Brooks said.

Other companies which have forged strategic partnerships with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation include IKEA, SC Johnson and DS Smith.

Readers interested in learning more about the Foundation’s work are encouraged to watch edie’s most recent webinar, held to mark Earth Overshoot Day 2020. The hour-long session was sponsored by Centrica Business Solutions and featured speakers from DS Smith and Toast ale alongside the Foundation. It can be watched on-demand here and a summary of key takeaways can be found here.

Sarah George



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