Lego talks up social responsibility as profit rise gives brand its ‘best ever year’
Lego had “its best year ever” in 2015 with global sales growing by 19%, as the toy company’s push to reach 100 million children worldwide and up its sustainability efforts paid off.
Speaking at the company’s annual results presentation today (1 March), Lego’s CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said 2015 has been the “best year ever” for the group and that “it shouldn’t be possible to have this kind of progress, but it is”.
Revenue increased 19% year on year on a local currency basis, while net profit rose 31%. It saw double-digit growth in all its markets.
One of the brand’s goals was to reach 100 million children globally in 2015, which Vig Knudstorp said was primarily achieved through commercial activity.
He commented: “Reaching more children is truly what matters to the company and the brand. We’re a business with a social mission. We want to expand our presence in existing markets but also in local communities. Through the Lego Foundation we have reached almost 400,000 children who otherwise wouldn’t get exposure to play.”
The company has also invested £4m in a study in partnership with Cambridge University to explore the benefits of playful learning, which Vig Knudstorp said is “[Lego] taking responsibility for the world and its development”.
A focus on sustainability
Sustainability was another area of focus for the business. According to figures supplied by the company, more than 90% of waste from production sites was recycled. The company also improved its energy efficiency by 5%, having decreased its energy usage by 20% over the last five years.
He explained: “With the massive growth the company is experiencing we can offset this by using renewable energy. We are producing more products, but using less energy. We’ve also invested 1bn Danish Krone in developing sustainable material for our bricks that consume less CO2 in its manufacturing.”
Putting innovation first
Another driver behind the company’s sales growth has been credited to new innovations and retail partnerships. Last year, Lego launched 350 new products and the Star Wars partnership proved hugely successful for the brand.
“We apply a consumer-centric model, where interactions have to be seamless, [toys] are easy for kids to use and engage them in an exciting and fun way. We had 25 different product themes, and a few climbed to the top, including Lego City, Lego Duplo, Star Wars and Lego Friends,” said the brand’s CMO Julia Goldin.
This year, the company is eager to reach even more children by developing new themes and working closely with partners to make sure the brand is “as relevant to [children] as possible”. However, it is also eager to focus on creating seamless virtual experiences.
For example, it launched Lego Dimensions last year, which is a Lego science fantasy action-adventure video game that also engages children “in the real world”.
Goldin explained: “In today’s world, children expect to meet Lego in the virtual space as well as in the physical world. We need to provide seamless experiences between the two.
“Lego Dimensions can engage children in a digital game and in the real world. We see a lot of opportunities [using digital] to continue to connect with them in future and enhance the experiences kids have.”