Toymaker Lego A/S is expanding its injection moulding operations to the U.S., announcing a $1 billion expansion in Virginia that will employ 1,760 and generate its electricity solely from solar energy.
Construction on the 1.7 million-square-foot plan near Richmond, Virginia, will begin later this year. The company will open a packaging operation by 2024 and full production including moulding in 2025. The site's solar array will provide all electrical needs, making the complex carbon neutral.
Lego said its sustainability plans for the Virginia complex also calls for building design and construction "designed to minimise energy use."
The Virginia site will be Billund, Denmark-based Lego's seventh global moulding site. In addition to the new plant, Lego also said in a June 15 announcement that it will update its existing factory in Monterrey, Mexico, which had been the sole Lego factory in the Americas.
Lego also is expanding factories in Europe and China and plans to build a factory in Vietnam to support growth in Asia.
"Our factories are located close to our biggest markets which shortens the distance our products have to travel. This allows us to rapidly respond to changing consumer demand and helps manage our carbon footprint," said Lego Chief Operations Officer Carsten Rasmussen in a news release. "Our new factory in the U.S. and expanded capacity at our existing site in Mexico means we will be able to best support long-term growth in the Americas. We are fortunate to find a location where we can begin construction quickly and create temporary capacity in under two years."
Lego already employs 2,600 in the U.S., but most of those workers are in the retail end of the business.
The new factory will "use state-of-the-art technology to mould, process and pack Lego products and ensure they meet the company's rigorous safety and quality requirements," the company said.
It will also work with the Virginia Talent Accelerator program to find needed "skilled employees trained to work with precision moulding technology," Rasmussen said.