LEGO has long been recognized by architects as a key inspiration in the world of creative building - but the Danish toy company's influence over the construction industry may be about to get a whole lot more direct. Yesterday, LEGO announced the establishment of its own sustainable materials research center, with an investment of 1 billion Danish Krone ($150 million US), which will search to find sustainable alternatives to the plastic used in their products and packaging.
The LEGO Sustainable Materials Center will be established at LEGO's headquarters in Billund, Denmark over the coming year, when the company expects to recruit over 100 specialists in materials science. LEGO also intends to continue and expand its collaborations with organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the search for sustainable alternatives.
"Our mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow," said LEGO Group owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. "We believe that our main contribution to this is through the creative play experiences we provide to children. The investment announced is a testament to our continued ambition to leave a positive impact on the planet, which future generations will inherit."
Though the research center's primary concern is to find sustainable materials for the 60 billion parts it produces per year, its findings will inevitably have impacts on other sectors that work with plastics - including architecture. The LEGO group has said that it will "continuously report" on its progress as it aims to replace all the materials it uses with sustainable alternatives by 2030.