As kids, we’ve all played around with colourful Lego bricks that click and stick so perfectly. The good ‘clutch’ power as Lego calls it, is attributed to the use of a petroleum-based plastic — Acrylonitrile Butadine Styrene (ABS) that has been used since 1963. Now, the Danish toymaker is seeking to replace ABS with a bio-based alternative for which it plans to invest $1 billion and assemble a team of 100 researchers.
The toymaker reported a 15% increase in profit in 2014 and given the fall in the crude price, cost is not a driving motivator. So, what’s behind the shift to eco-friendly products? Reducing its carbon footprint is the main driver. The company consumes 77,000 tonnes of petroleum to produce around 60 billion bricks every year. Around 90% of its carbon emission is produced from the extraction, refinement of raw materials and distribution from factories to stores. In addition to the plan of phasing out ABS bricks by 2030, the toymaker has also invested in a wind farm and reduced its packaging size.