Last week Greenpeace released a new video and a new petition in which it calls Lego to stop it’s cooperation with Shell. Leaning on the Lego movie soundtrack Everything is awesome the video is called Everything is NOT awesome pointing to the dangers drilling in the Arctic brings along.
Earlier this month Greenpeace started a campaign criticising Lego for its longstanding relationship with Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, which is going to expand its drilling in the Arctic. Greenpeace is heavily criticising that. Politikken reports that already in 2011 Lego, Shell and Ferrari signed a contract that expires in the end of this year. In 2012 they started an advertisement campaign in which Lego’s mini-Formula One Ferraris were given away or sold when drivers refuelled at a Shell petrol station. These sets were branded with the Shell-logo. The campaign, which wasn’t released in Germany, attracted a great deal of media attention and the contract’s valuefor Shell is estimated at over 80 million Euros.
The Greenpeace campaign started on July 1 in 26 countries. In Denmark, activists burgled into Legoland Billund, filled a lake with squid ink and put up a Lego-built oil platform, to simulate an oil spill. When the park opened, a Greenpeace team was ready to talk about the action — including a man in a polar bear costume.
Ranked by Forbes as one of the most reputable companies of the world this year, Lego might lose the good reputation due to the Greenpeace campaign, although it is taking a strong stand in sustainability and environmental issues in general. Even Greenpeace speaks in high terms of the company in this regard, so Lego “works systematically to reduce its negative effects on the climate and the environment.” For example, Lego has invested in a windfarm and aims to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2020.
In a press release the President and CEO of the LEGO Group, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, comments on Greenpeace‘s critics that Lego “strives to live up to the motto […] ‘Only the best is good enough’.” He justifies the cooperation with Shell as “one of many ways we are able to bring LEGO® bricks into the hands of more children.” He indicates that the “matter must be handled between Shell and Greenpeace” and Lego was “used as a tool” in the dispute. However, the whole issue raises more questions than just the ones regarding the Arctic. In fact, Lego should answer the question of influencing children with advertisement in general and here it is clearly not only a “tool” but the actor itself.