With Lego announcing that all its packaging will be sustainable by the end of 2025, Pete Robinson of children-focused creative shop KidsKnowBest gives his thoughts on what other brands can learn from the toymaker’s decision to build its policies and products around future generations.
Lego has proven that Sanna Marin, the Finnish prime minister, is not the only Nordic leader to build policy around kids’ opinions.
Having announced that it is to start phasing out the single-use plastic bags used to package loose bricks in its boxes from early next year and invest $400m in sustainability, Lego continues to showcase its efforts to be increasingly aligned with environmental issues and consumers’ concerns.
Through our research, we’ve found that kids are very aware of climate change, sustainability and making greener decisions. Many support Greta Thunberg and other opinion leaders in this space, and they have been educated to know that forests need saving and that plastics should be recycled or eliminated.
But does it influence their choices when it comes to choosing toys? Perhaps a little, and this may increase in influence. However, it is ultimately about the quality of the toy. Good toys are the ones that kids want – things that inspire play and bonding.
And this is where Lego’s sustainable credentials shine through. Lego is one of the most sustainable toys ever made – it is the durable element of the product design that makes it last, ensuring that it is passed down through generations, between neighbours and onward to entertain child after child. During which process, it never seems to lose its creative appeal – or its distinct colour palette, for that matter.
So why does the company feel the need to flag up these green credentials? Well, Lego is a leader of culture and industry. As a brand, it has the means to think and innovate in greener packaging where other companies might not. That said, they will most likely be influenced by the bricks giant to consider sustainable changes once Lego has done the research to provide a template or ideas that they can follow.
And the message is the sales point in this case: while it was kids who requested the change, it is parents with the purchasing power who are more likely to be influenced by Lego’s latest eco message.
Making greener decisions is becoming increasingly important to them and a topic of discussion with their children and grandchildren. Much like with Lego bricks, it is children who are the problem solvers and opinion leaders in the world of climate change.
Amplifying the subject amongst parents and children is not only a highly worthwhile message, but it will do no damage to product considerations.
Could Lego continue to go further? For sure. It could bring its green messaging into its designs. Already it has made popular kits featuring the Women of Nasa space exploration, modern family life and, of course, a ton of characters from Batman to the Power Puff Girls, so it could feasibly come up with a kit to build an Amazon rainforest or an ocean environment.
So long as the central elements of play are there, these kits would find their audience with children and still appease the wider family who prefer a greener message for their kids.
Toys that are designed with a green message at their core do not sell well just because of that message, but good toys sell. Lego is a good toy and generations of kids that play with the famous bricks have proven this time and again.
While Lego has such an enormous stash of trust and goodwill with kids and parents globally, it is in a very strong position to influence the world it inhabits and continue to push for more steps in the right direction to try and save some of it.
Pete Robinson is the chief strategy officer at KidsKnowBest.
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