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Why Lego Wants To Spend $150M Building an Oil-Free Future

Currently the world's most profitable toy company, the minifig-making Danish firm Lego should be as upbeat as the theme song to its recent movie. But as the company continues to pump out 60 billion plastic bricks every year, a look at its sustainability initiatives has revealed some hard truths. Despite opening wind farms to offset energy use and packaging its products in FSC-certified cardboard, most of the company's environmental impact comes from the extracting the petroleum that forms the basis of every brick, according to Fast Company. The company's solution, announced last week, is to take oil out of its supply chain by making a massive investment in materials research.

In order to accomplish its goal of finding an alternative plastic by 2030 that doesn't sacrifice the look and feel of its product, Lego is spending the equivalent of $150 million to hire 100 new employees and open a sustainable materials research center next year. Poised to collaborate with researched and academics around the world, the effort will look at a variety of options, including bio-plastic. While Lego's footprint may be relatively small in the grand scheme of the plastics industry, a high-profile sustainability effort may compel others to follow.

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