LEGO Group CEO Talks Company’s Future Plans: Plastics, China Market, AFOLs

Niels B Christiansen

In this day and age, countries all over the world take steps to cut down on their use of plastics. There’s been enough public information and studies around to spur everyone to take action and focus on sustainability. That includes LEGO, which pushes for renewable materials even as they continue using plastics with their products.

Following the annual report that highlighted their 2018 growth, LEGO Group CEO Niels B. Christiansen sat down in interview with Business Insider about the company’s future plans. One topic was the continuing prominence of plastic in LEGO sets despite their increased use of plant-based alternatives.

A point Christiansen makes is that the plastic used in LEGO sets is one that lasts long, mentioning that his 40-year-old LEGO bricks from childhood remain good for play and assembly even today. “It’s not that kind of plastic that’s ending up in the trash and polluting the environment,” he adds, saying that it’s “disposable plastics,” or that which is meant to be trashed quickly, that LEGO tries to reduce.

The long referred-to year 2030 goal of The LEGO Group for sustainability doesn’t actually mean phasing out plastics in their products, but rather to invest in wider use of sustainable sources like plant materials to make the plastic that goes in every LEGO brick, that would retain the long-lasting toughness current LEGOs are known for.

Christiansen also mentioned a trend showing growth slowdown in the brand’s European markets compared to increases in new locations like China. “I can’t really say I think Europe is ‘bored’ of LEGO,” he notes, elaborating that their design teams are only further inspired to find new imaginative and innovative concepts to catch buyers’ interests.

The increasing markets in China and North Africa, Christiansen attributes to improved standards of living and growth in middle-class families that are more aware of LEGO than before. He thus directs the company to focus on these children, and adults. “This is what we as the LEGO family thinks about, what drives us forward,” concludes the LEGO CEO, “and I believe that in doing this in a sustainable and responsible way, by investing, we’ll grow and be profitable as a company.”

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