Fake Plastic Brick? 🧱

Welcome to "nouveau monde", sort of a "nouveau genre" newsletter to better understand how to make the world better through the lens of retail. This is #22!

Let’s talk in nouveau monde this week about Lego finally trying to remove fossil fuels from its bricks. And we visit Target’s sustainable strategy.

Things move fast in retail and sustainability, we’re really happy to help you get the right tips and be inspired!

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Today's newsletter is 936 words, a 4-minute read.

Fake Plastic Tree

by Anthony

Some objects and brands are so iconic that we forget that they are made of petrol.

I was really surprised to read last week that Lego was just, in 2021, working on a prototype of recycled Lego bricks. It was so obvious to me that they were working on it since a very long time that I couldn’t imagine that.

Well, while reading the press release, I had a second thought : if we trust Lego, going out of traditional plastic is not an easy step : they have 150 people working on this new prototype, spend hundreds of millions dollars in research and yet, don’t have a release date so far.

Because it is really complicated to get out of our almost free fossil fuel products !

We’ve been used to get plastic really easily and when it comes to replace it, we face multiple obstacles. In Lego’s case, bricks have to work perfectly with standard ones, have the same characteristics, and be OK regarding all safety rules for children.

If we dig a little further regarding Lego and the fossil fuel industry, I remember that in 2014, they have been forced to stop a partnership with Shell as they were having projects to drill the arctic to find oil… Bad advertising for Lego… Did they deserve it ?

Yes, Lego says in its press release that they have replaced their plastic packaging with paper, that they already use some plant based plastic for some of its components but what really matters is their main product, the Lego brick. And it seems that their customers really urged them to act for them to make such an announcement for just R&D that won’t get in the shelves before a couple of years at least.

My take : customers aren’t idiots, they see when a company really take actions to shift its business model and, yes, customers can make the change !

Introducing Target Forward

by Phil

Target was created 90 years ago with this intention of its founder that “Success is making ourselves useful in the world, valuable to society, helping in lifting the level of humanity, so conducting ourselves that when we go, the world will be somewhat better of our having lived the brief span of our lives.”. Sounds like a plan, George.

Now it’s 2021 and Target released its new Target Forward strategy in order to put its business to use “to positively impact both people and the planet” and builds on the company’s legacy of corporate responsibility and sustainable practices.  Just like that.

This new sustainability strategy includes sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and having all of its owned brands plastic packaging be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025.

Their recent initiatives cover (just quoting here):

Now, the program is (get ready):

By 2030, Target aims to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences. The retailer intends for the leading raw materials (such as forest products, cotton and more) that go into its owned-brand products to be 100% percent recycled, regenerative, or sustainably sourced.

• By 2040, Target plans for 100% of its owned brand products to be designed for a circular future. Target’s teams will continue designing to eliminate waste, using materials that are regenerative, recycled or sourced sustainably, to create products that are more durable, easily repaired or recyclable. As a first step, by 2025, Target aims to offer two circular owned brands.

• By 2025, Target plans for 100% of suppliers to have policies and programs to advance gender equity.

• By 2030, Target aims to build a team that equitably reflects the communities it serves, beginning with its commitment to increase Black team member representation across the company by 20% by 2023.

You can ready the whole thing on their corporate website: https://corporate.target.com/corporate-responsibility/sustainability-strategy?ref=sr_shorturl_targetforward

Quick hits

How to Drive ROI With Sustainability Efforts: Real World Lessons from Industry Leaders

Progressive Grocer

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Bonus track by Anthony