Lego Group has begun laying the first building blocks for its planned $1 billion "carbon-neutral" factory in the U.S., as the toy manufacturer steps up efforts towards meeting its global climate goals.
The Danish firm announced at construction work has officially started at the new facility in Chesterfield County near Richmond, Virginia, with work expected to be completed by 2025.
The 340-acre site is set to include on-site solar power generation comprising 35,000-40,000 ground-mount photovoltaic (PV) panels and 15,000-20,000 roof PV panels, altogether delivering a total electricity generation capacity of 30-35MW, it said.
Overall, Lego said the solar panels would be able to meet all of the factory's power needs, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 average U.S. homes.
In addition, Lego said it planned to use energy-efficient production equipment throughout the construction process, and also during operation of the facility, set to be the firm's second in the U.S. once manufacturing begins.
The factory is expected to support Lego's Science-Based Target-approved goal to reduce its absolute carbon emissions by 37% by 2032, compared to a 2019 baseline.
The manufacturing facility is set to comprise 13 buildings which span more than 1.7 million square feet, including office space, molding and processing facilities, packing buildings as well as a high bay warehouse. It is expected to create 1,760 local jobs once completed.
The firm said it aimed to achieve Gold LEED certification (Leadership in Energy & Environment Design) for the building covering energy, water and waste, in addition to ensuring zero waste to landfill throughout the site's operations.
Once completed, Lego said that the factory would aim to be "entirely carbon-neutral" during operations, demonstrating net zero from both electricity and fuel through Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
The factory is expected to support Lego's Science-Based Target-approved goal to reduce its absolute carbon emissions by 37 percent by 2032, compared to a 2019 baseline, and to achieve net zero by 2050 at the latest, it said.
Lego's chief operations officer Carsten Ramussen, said the new site would "allow us to inspire millions of children across the Americas through play and we can't wait to get started."
"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," he added.
The new factory in Virginia forms part of Lego's global expansion plans. Another "carbon neutral" factory is set to open in Vietnam in 2024, with further facilities planned in Mexico, Hungary and China.