Lego to end Shell toys contract


Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Lego will not renew its promotional contract with Shell, the toy company has said after it was targeted by environmental campaigners who oppose the oil giant’s plans to drill in the Arctic.

More than a million people signed a petition calling on Lego to stop promoting Shell because of its plans to drill for oil in the polar region, during a three month campaign by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace also staged a series of tiny protests with Lego figures outside Shell garages and national landmarks in a bid to get the Danish company to end its 50-year association with the oil firm.

In a statement, Lego Group president and chief executive Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said the company did not agree with Greenpeace’s tactics and the brand should not have become part of the green group’s dispute with Shell.

But he said Lego would not be renewing its promotional contract with Shell, which currently allows children in many parts of the world to collect sets such as Lego racing cars and a Shell station when their parents fill up with petrol.

Mr Knudstorp said: ” The long-term co-promotion contract we entered with Shell in 2011 delivers on the objective of bringing Lego bricks into the hands of many children, and we will honour it – as we would with any contract we enter.

But he added: “We continuously consider many different ways of how to deliver on our promise of bringing creative play to more children.

“We want to clarify that as things currently stand we will not renew the co-promotion contract with Shell when the present contract ends.”

Lego refused to say when the current contract expires.

Greenpeace insisted the toy company was doing the right thing under public pressure and should choose its partners more carefully when it came to the threats facing children from climate change.

The environmental group is calling for a sanctuary to be created in the Arctic to protect it from drilling and industrial fishing, and for there to be no oil exploration in Arctic waters as the melting ice cap makes the fragile region more accessible.

Shell has indicated it will attempt to drill again next year in the US Arctic, despite previous problems culminating in its drill vessel the Kulluk running aground as it was being towed across the Gulf of Alaska in 2012.

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.”

He added: “Lego’s decision couldn’t have come soon enough. The iconic and beautiful Arctic, and its incredible wildlife, like polar bears and narwhals, is under threat like never before.”

A Shell spokeswoman said: “Our latest co-promotion with Lego has been a great success and will continue to be as we roll it out in more countries across the world. We don’t comment on contractual matters.

“We respect the right of individuals and organisations to engage in a free and frank exchange of views about meeting the world’s growing energy needs.

“Recognising the right of individuals to express their point of view, we only ask that they do so in a manner that is lawful and does not place their safety or the safety of others at risk.”

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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