Lego issues Cop26 handbook by children on how to tackle climate crisis

Build the Change

Lego is touting it as its most ambitious build to date, but rather than many pages of instructions, the toymaker’s latest handbook offers only 10 steps.

The booklet is not for a physical model, however. Instead it offers “building instructions for a better world” ahead of the crucial Cop26 climate talks that start in Glasgow this Sunday.

The “10 requests” of policymakers are based on research and workshops conducted with more than 6,000 children aged eight to 18 from around the world.

Mocked up like a Lego instruction booklet, the guide distils children’s views into a to-do list that will be handed out to delegates at Cop26. Suggestions on how to tackle the climate crisis are no-nonsense and include actions such as reducing pollution and waste and doing more to protect nature.

Nearly half of the children told researchers they thought about the environment once a week, while one in 10 thought about it every day. Global heating was their No 1 concern.

Tim Brooks, the vice-president of environmental responsibility at Lego, said the initiative sought to “give children a voice” at the climate talks. “Children are demanding that they and future generations are front of mind when it comes to creating policy,” he said.

With companies under pressure to reduce their impact on the planet, Lego has committed to reducing its absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032 (compared with its 2019 baseline). It has more than 150 people working on sustainability projects and is investing $400m (£290m) over three years.

Lego, which produces billions of plastic bricks a year, recently unveiled its first 4×2 bricks made from recycled plastic. The prototypes, made from PET plastic from discarded bottles, are the result of three years of experiments, with the next phase of testing expected to take at least a year.

Brooks said he received about 1,000 letters a year from children that offered up both praise and criticism. Their feedback had spurred Lego’s action on single-use plastic, which will be removed from its sets by 2025, as well as the work on recycled bricks. The company had shown leadership on the environment, he said,but acknowledged “there is always more to do”.

Lego’s instructions for a better world

Reduce pollution and waste.

Increase the focus on protecting nature.

Change laws and regulations around sustainability.

Stop ignoring the problem: do more.

Educate people of all ages.

Introduce programmes to reduce emissions.

Cooperate internationally to share knowledge and solutions.

Leaders, change your own behaviour and set examples.

Invest more in protecting the environment.

Help people and future generations.


Lego gives children a voice at COP26
Research by Lego found global heating was children’s top concern. Photograph: Lego

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