In a major win for Greenpeace, Danish toymaker Lego has announced it will not renew its multi-million pound with oil company Shell after coming under sustained pressure from the environmental group.
The decision to drop the partnership – that included Shell-branded Lego sets sold at petrol stations – will end a partnership that dates back to the 1960s.
It follows months of intense pressure from Greenpeace, protesting about the oil giant’s plans to drill in the Arctic, which involved a YouTube video that attracted nearly 6 million views.
The video – entitled “Everything is not Awesome” – depicted a pristine Arctic built from 120kg of Lego being covered in oil.
Greenpeace activists also targeted Legoland in Windsor by dressing as Lego figures.
The three month campaign saw more than one million people signed a petition calling on LEGO to stop promoting Shell’s brand because of its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic.
The toymaker has initially resisted the Greenpeace campaign, arguing the campaigners out to deal directly with Shell, but this week it appears Lego will relent.
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the toy maker’s chief -executive, said Lego would honour its existing deal with Shell, which began in 2011, but “as things currently stand we will not renew the contract with Shell when the present contract ends”.
Our stakeholders have high expectations to the way we operate. So do we. We do not agree with the tactics used by Greenpeace that may have created misunderstandings among our stakeholders about the way we operate; and we want to ensure that our attention is not diverted from our commitment to delivering creative and inspiring play experiences.
The deal is currently valued at around £68 million.
Greenpeace insists that while LEGO is doing the right thing under public pressure, it should choose its partners more carefully when it comes to the threats facing our children from climate change.
Ian Duff, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace, said:
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. Lego’s withdrawal from a 50 year relationship with Shell clearly shows that strategy will not work.”
“The tide is turning for these fossil fuel dinosaurs that see the melting Arctic as ripe for exploitation rather than protection. The message should be clear; your outdated, climate wrecking practices are no longer socially acceptable, and you need to keep away from the Arctic or face being ostracised by society.
Shell’s operations in the Arctic have come under scrutiny for the effects these would have on an increasingly threatened environment and because could have devastating effects if something goes wrong. The company had suspended its drilling plans in the region but has been looking for ways to restore them.