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LEGO Clarifies Environmental Policies

Remember the protest by Greenpeace in June? One of the companies (aside from Mattel, who bore the brunt of the publicity) mentioned by Greenpeace over the paper-sourcing issue was LEGO, who has responded in two press releases, found below.

July 7, 2011

LEGO Group actions to reduce packaging materials' impact on the environment

The LEGO Group has taken several steps to reduce the environmental impact of packaging materials and paper used in LEGO® products.

"There are three key areas where the LEGO Group is working at reducing the impact on the environment when it comes to packaging materials for our products," says Helle Sofie Kaspersen, Vice President Corporate Governance and Sustainability, the LEGO Group.

The first and most ambitious goal is to reduce the amount of packaging materials used. As documented in the Progress Report 2010, the LEGO Group is actively working towards this.

"Secondly we will always use recycled fiber when it is possible from a chemical product safety point of view. Last year more than 75 percent of the packaging material the LEGO Group use for packaging is actually made from recycled material," says Helle Sofie Kaspersen, and adds:

"Thirdly when it is not possible to use recycled fibers, we must ensure, that the pulp based packaging we use is produced in a sustainable manner."

The LEGO Group has taken action to ensure this, as decision is made to use only FSC certified fibers in packaging materials for LEGO products in future.

"We have been working towards this for several months, and are currently developing an ambitious implementation plan to meet our objectives in this area. We expect to be well under way in a year's time," says Helle Sofie Kaspersen.

While the LEGO Group will only use FSC certified fibers in packaging materials in future Helle Sofie Kaspersen acknowledges, that it will be more difficult to control, if suppliers in addition to FSC certified fibers also manufacture paper based materials which leads to deforestation.

"However, it is our intent that we will only source material from suppliers that are not involved in deforestation," says Helle Sofie Kaspersen.

The LEGO Group plans to continue with regular updates to stakeholders about the implementation of this and other aspects of the sustainability area.

June 8, 2011

Greenpeace focus on toy industry and deforestation

Greenpeace has published a report on global toy companies' use of paper causing deforestation. One LEGO product has been found to contain paper from such a source.

Greenpeace has investigated into packaging materials from different toy companies - including the LEGO Group - and searched for mixed tropical hardwood (MTH). MTH means rainforest clearance. The report focuses on pulp coming from an Indonesian supplier of pulp; Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).

MTH was found in one LEGO product; A LEGO Star Wars licensed product by Dorling Kindersly.

The report from Greenpeace states the following regarding the LEGO Group:

"LEGO has an exclusive licensing agreement with Lucasfilm Ltd. granting the company the right to manufacture and market a series of LEGO sets based on themes from the original Star Wars trilogy and the three subsequent films. Some of these special edition Star Wars products are published by Dorling Kindersley (part of the Penguin Group) and printed in China by printers with links to APP.

One printer of these products (Leo Paper) was a 2009 winner of two 'Sinar Mas Print Awards' a competition open only to customers of APP; another one (Hung Hing Printing) belongs to the same group of companies as Sun Hing Paper. According to confidential 2010 trade data, Sun Hing Paper is one of China's top three importers of APP Indonesia paper. Forensic testing of one of the special edition Star Wars products produced by Hung Hing revealed MTH."

The LEGO Group is currently investigating if APP is a supplier to the LEGO Group's suppliers or sub-suppliers, and steps will be taken to ensure, that pulp leading to deforestation will not be used in future packaging of LEGO products.

"Our investigations so far indicate that the problem may be isolated to a few suppliers of the LEGO Group's suppliers," says Helle Sofie Kaspersen, Vice President, Corporate Governance & Sustainability.

Work in progress

Since 2010 the LEGO Group has been analyzing how packaging can be optimized in an environmental perspective, e.g. by sourcing materials from sustainable resources and by using high content of recycled materials. This was stated in the Progress Report 2010, as a part of the LEGO Group's "Design 4 Planet" project.

Since then, a decision has been made, that future paper materials must be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, and that an implementation plan is made. The certificate is a guarantee, that the pulp is produced without causing deforestation.

"This is a long complicated process that we have worked on for some time now, and we expect to be close to our target within a year. Today we are already using recycled packaging materials in the majority of our products, so we are well on our way," says Helle Sofie Kaspersen.

For example in 2010, 75% of all packaging material was recycled.

Read the full report at the Greenpeace website.

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