The LEGO Group has broken ground on its new carbon-neutral-run factory in Chesterfield County near Richmond, Va. The 340-acre site is the size of 260 American football fields, and the project represents a $1 billion investment.
When completed in 2025, the factory will include tens of thousands of rooftop and ground solar panels to create an on-site solar plant totaling 35-40 MW. With enough energy to power approximately 10,000 U.S. homes, the solar plant will fully match the site’s annual energy needs, thus making the factory “carbon-neutral run.”
Carsten Rasmussen, COO of the LEGO Group, said, “We are working hard to reduce emissions at the LEGO Group and are really excited about our plans to build this solar plant as we push towards a better world for our children to inherit.”
The site will be designed to support the company’s sustainability ambitions, including reducing its absolute global carbon emissions by 37% by 2032 (compared to 2019 levels). It will use the latest energy-efficient production equipment while buildings and manufacturing processes are designed to minimize energy use.
Furthermore, the LEGO Group plans to achieve zero waste from factory to landfill and secure Gold LEED certification for waste, energy, and water.
Landscape Design Inspired by Children
Children of the greater Richmond area will also have a say in the site’s development. In March, the LEGO Group invited 250 children to share their ideas for making the land around the factory buildings welcoming to animals, plants, and visitors.
Built with LEGO bricks, their ideas ranged from building trees for flying squirrels and birds, to fitting plants with cameras to enable visitors to observe the area’s biodiversity live and in color. The children’s boundless creativity will inspire the final landscaping design in 2025.
Employee Recruitment & Workplace Culture
The LEGO Group is currently recruiting up to 500 people to join a temporary packing facility due to open in the first half of 2024. Once the main factory is fully operational, it will employ 1,760 workers responsible for operating state-of-the-art molding, processing, and packing machinery.
The company is participating in the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program to raise awareness in the local talent market of current and future roles.
The LEGO Group said it is committed to providing safe, diverse, and inclusive workplaces where everyone feels welcome. The new location will feature wellbeing areas, parents’ facilities, and multi-faith rooms while break rooms and common areas will be inspired by the company’s core value of fun and designed to become playful spaces.
Overall, the factory site will include 13 buildings that will span over 1.7 million square feet ranging from office spaces; molding, processing, and packing buildings; and a high bay warehouse.
Locating Factories Close to Major Markets
The factory investment in Virginia will expand the LEGO Group’s global manufacturing network, which is designed to locate factories close to major markets. The company said this allows the LEGO Group to respond to shifts in local demand, shorten the supply chain, and reduce its environmental impact.
The company is also investing in building capacity across its network and will open a new site in Vietnam by 2024 and is expanding existing factories in Mexico, Hungary, and China to meet immediate and long-term demand for the company’s products.
The LEGO Group also recently announced it is moving its long-time Americas headquarters from Enfield, Conn., to Boston in 2026.
Content and images courtesy of the LEGO Group.
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