New voices for change: building a community through empathetic listening
Now and then I read something in a business journal about actions a company takes to help improve our world, and I am seriously impressed by their efforts. A remarkable case in point is the LEGO Group, which has taken the realities of the changing environment and focused on the letters they received from children urging them to act to reduce climate change. The company’s imaginative assessment of how they could create a sustainable model shows by example a way forward for others in business. LEGO is transforming from being merely a thriving toy company into pursuing meaningful change to address serious existential issues.
“We have received many letters from children about the environment asking us to remove single-use plastic packaging,” said CEO Neils B. Christianson. “We have been exploring alternatives for some time and the passion and ideas from children inspired us to begin to make the change.”
Imagine a world in which a child can write to a business and not only receive a letter in response, but get action, too! That’s a true example of taking corporate social responsibility, propelling Community Wellbeing, and launching new beginnings. For the children who will enjoy the toys and respond to the education locked into their new packaging and products made of sustainable materials, well, it goes without saying that this is educational and a boon for their Wholistic Wellbeing!
Working to become carbon neutral by 2022, LEGO is installing additional solar panels in its factories. They will also supplement this with the procurement of renewable energy. They are installing new cooling systems that use ambient air during toy brick production.
Sustainable products and packaging (environmentally friendly paper bags, for example) have long been in their sights. They called in 150 experts to help with research into sustainable products and expect to be using biobricks, like those made from sugar cane, by 2030. New products are tested with hundreds of parents and children to ensure they will be successful with the public.
Partnering with other organizations is such a great way to get big things done! The LEGO Foundation will continue to work with partners such as UNICEF and Save the Children to give underserved children new educational opportunities, in addition to play. Problem solving, communication, and collaboration are key elements that will benefit them, with new ideas inspiring them for a lifetime. Now, that’s part of a sustainable future and Wholistic Wellbeing writ large!
None of this comes cheap, of course. So far it has taken a substantial investment of $400 million on these social and environmentally focused actions to put the program into action. But this is an investment into our own future as a species — one that lives in harmony with the rest of the planet — and thus, I see no reason to cap spending on this. In fact, I applaud this kind of investment.
I am deeply inspired and heartened by LEGO’s serious take on how to bring social responsibility to young lives, and invite all business leaders to follow suit, using their power, resources, and last, but not least, their hive minds and imagination.