Target: Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Chief Executive Officer of the Lego Group
Goal: Applaud LEGO’s move to end its partnership with the Shell oil company following months of public protest
The lessons children learn through early play can last a lifetime. No doubt for this reason, oil giant Shell partnered for decades with the LEGO company to produce Shell-themed toy sets for kids. Greenpeace appealed to LEGO to stop promoting the oil company, known for its efforts to drill in the pristine Arctic wilderness. Months of public protest followed, including a recent ForceChange petition. At long last LEGO executives decided to cut ties with Shell for good.
Ian Duff, who campaigns with Greenpeace to help protect the Arctic from Shell’s drilling and other environmental threats, praised LEGO’s decision. Inspired in part the Greenpeace appeal, consumers sent more than one million emails calling on LEGO to end the partnership. That the famed toy maker ultimately took action demonstrates the “incredible strength and unstoppable power of our global movement,” says Duff.
An ongoing contract to produce Shell-themed toys was wrecking LEGO’s green image. The company is looking to switch away from oil in its toy production, and promotes itself as a climate-conscious business. Shell, on the other hand, is hoping to resume drilling for oil in the Alaskan Arctic as early as 2015. Many fear the company’s meddling there could trigger an environmental disaster. “Clearly Shell is trying to piggy back on the credibility of other brands,” remarks Greenpeace United Kingdom (UK) executive director John Sauven. “But as we’ve shown, if you can’t get away with it, that social license is taken away. It does damage them a lot.”
Thank LEGO for ending its long partnership with Shell, and for ending production of pro-oil toys aimed at impressionable young children.
Dear Mr. Knudstorp,
I am writing to thank you and your management team at the Lego Group for deciding not to renew contracts with the infamous Shell oil company. While this partnership generated millions in revenue for your business, it also promoted a notoriously irresponsible energy company. Shell’s desire to drill in the Arctic wilderness is at odds with LEGO’s environmentally conscious image, and clearly it was time to cut ties.
Ian Duff, who campaigns with Greenpeace in the UK, has been outspoken about the high stakes involved. “Arctic sea ice is melting at an unprecedented rate, but instead of seeing the huge risks, oil companies like Shell are circling like vultures,” Duff said in an interview with Common Dreams. “Time is running out to save the Arctic, and the time for urgent action is now.”
On behalf of the million people around the world who appealed to LEGO to end its partnership with Shell–thank you. Your company’s decision to distance itself from such a terrible polluter shows your commitment to protecting the planet we all call home.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Martijn van de Streek via Flickr