09 October 2014 – Shell is losing one high profile block partner in a move claimed as a victory by Greenpeace over the Anglo-Dutch supermajor’s Arctic drilling plans.
Danish toy giant Lego has chosen not to renew its commercial relationship with the oil stalwart, with the decision coming after a concerted campaign from the environmental watchdog designed to call the long-standing deal into question.
Greenpeace has targeted Shell in particular over Arctic exploration, with the attack on its relationship with Lego swiftly becoming one of its most headline-grabbing initiatives. Activists descended on Legoland outside London and took pictures of idyllic Lego scenes that they had adulterated with erroneous Lego characters highlighting Shell’s Arctic activities.
A short film released online featured Lego-infused Arctic scenes succumbing to an oil spill disaster, set to a version of the theme tune from The Lego Movie.
This summer, Greenpeace claimed that, since 2012, 16 million Shell-branded Lego toys have been sold or given away at petrol stations in 26 countries. The commercial deal between the two companies was reportedly worth $116 million, while another deal was set to start this year.
Lego has released a statement saying, however, that it is not to strike any new deals with Shell, although it will honour its current commitments.
“A co-promotion like the one with Shell is one of many ways we are able to bring Lego bricks into the hands of more children and deliver on our promise of creative play,” said chief executive Jorgen Vig Knudstrop.
“The Greenpeace campaign uses the Lego brand to target Shell. As we have stated before, we firmly believe Greenpeace ought to have a direct conversation with Shell. The Lego brand, and everyone who enjoys creative play, should never have become part of Greenpeace’s dispute with Shell.”
However, Knudstrop said Lego’s stakeholders have “high expectations” of how the company operates and that, while the company does not agree with the tactics employed by Greenpeace, it will not be renewing its commercial relationship with Shell.
“We want to clarify that, as things currently stand, we will not renew the co-promotion contract with Shell when the present contract ends.
“We do not want to be part of Greenpeace’s campaign and we will not comment any further on the campaign.”
Greenpeace said, following the statement, that Lego “should choose its partners more carefully when it comes to the threats facing children from climate change”.
Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace, Ian Duff, added: “This is a major blow to Shell. It desperately needs partners like Lego to help give it respectability and repair the major brand damage it suffered after its last Arctic misadventure.”
*Eoin O’Cinneide – Upstreamonline