LEGO: future focused building blocks

4 min

LEGO is especially popular at this time of year, they make iconic toys and even movies, but it’s their commitment to renewable energy and sustainability programs that makes them a global leader.

The Danish, family-owned company developed from humble beginnings back in 1932, when carpenter Ole Kirk Kristiansen specialised in making wooden toys. Today, LEGO (the name is derived from a Danish phrase meaning “play well”) is a global colossus, worth $7.57B and considered by Forbes to be the world’s most valuable toy brand.

However, aside from their dominant brand and cultural position in the market, it’s LEGO’s commitment to renewable energy that makes them very unique. In 2017, the LEGO group announced that it was running entirely on renewable energy having achieved its 100% target three years earlier than scheduled.

They were able to deliver on this ambitious goal by investing nearly USD 1 Billion in two off-shore windfarm projects in Europe. The total output from these wind farm investments exceeds the total energy consumption in all of LEGO’s factories, stores and offices globally. In 2016, more than 360 gigawatt hours of energy were used by LEGO to produce the nearly 80 billion LEGO bricks sold around the world annually.

Their latest target is to ensure sustainable materials are utilised in all of their core products by 2030 and in their packaging by 2025. The iconic LEGO bricks will now be created using plant-based plastics which are responsibly sourced from sugarcane and last month they released their very first set featuring these plant-based elements. They teamed up with a Danish wind energy company, Vestas, to create a tiny, motorised and fully functioning wind turbine - the structure is a metre tall and is created from 826 bricks, with all the green plant pieces being produced from the organic material matching the quality of plastic from fossil sources.

This Christmas could see a whole new generation of future energy professionals building their first wind turbine!

Here at AEMO, we have our very own LEGO aficionado and master builder, Magnus Hindsberger (Manager of Reliability Forecasting at AEMO), who built a gigantic LEGO Hogwarts Castle out of 50,000 LEGO blocks over several months. His incredible creation has been exhibited publicly in his home state of Queensland, and Magnus has previously been a special guest at LEGO events around the world. In October, LEGO state representatives gave Magnus a pre-release trial pack of the “made from plants” bricks for use in his Hogwarts display, and he is pleased to confirm they look and feel exactly the same as the traditional bricks.

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