Iconic Danish toymaker LEGO Group recently announced plans to build a 1 billion dollar factory in Chesterfield County, Virginia, with a solar facility to power the factory. The Lego Group is already contributing to making solar-themed kits with its iconic bricks. Now, the company is all set to achieve its goal of being completely carbon neutral with its first factory in the US.
Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group, stated in this context that the location in Virginia allowed them to build a solar park that supports the Group’s sustainability ambitions. Plus, it provides easy links to country-wide transportation networks. He also added that they were looking forward to creating fantastic employment opportunities for the people of Virginia.
The upcoming factory is set to open in 2025 and will employ around 1,760 people. The planned solar park for the factory site is impressive. However, the solar array will not provide all the energy the factory needs to operate. In the context, as a carbon-neutral facility, it will still be run in part by fossil fuels. Moreover, the factory will work on minimizing energy needs to match the output of clean energy provided by the solar park.
According to the company, the factory in Monterrey, Mexico and the upcoming facility in Virginia is positioned to reduce travel emissions for LEGO products.
COO Carsten Rasmussen reiterated that their factories are located close to their biggest markets, shortening the distance their products have to travel. Carsten adds that this allows them to rapidly respond to changing consumer demands and helps manage their carbon footprint.
While the LEGO Group is pursuing LEED Gold certification for the factory, the construction is slated to begin in the fall of 2022. The solar power project is set to be built over 340 acres of land, and the onsite buildings will take over a total of 1.7 million square feet.
In its pursuit of achieving the carbon-neutral goal, the LEGO Group has made sustainability a higher priority for its operations and products. In this context, one study underscored how products could last in ocean waters for 1,300 years before breaking down. In this light, eco-conscious children have driven the LEGO Group to reduce its plastic use, which includes a successful petition in 2020 that led the company to begin phasing out single-use plastics in its products.
Ultimately, there will be more efforts placed by the LEGO Group in finding plastic alternatives and recycling more PET for LEGO bricks.