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Lego will end its Shell partnership in light of Greenpeace activism

Illustration for article titled Lego will end its Shell partnership in light of Greenpeace activism

Greenpeace's long protest against Lego over its association with Shell seems like it's finally paid off: Lego have announced that they do not intend to renew their agreement with the energy company when the current deal expires.


Greenpeace have been holding Lego-themed protests this year to highlight the brand's association with Shell and to protest Shell's plans to begin drilling the Arctic for oil - ranging from hijacking Lego Land Windsor displays with minifigure protestors, to this viral video released in July:

Whilst Greenpeace have repeatedly stated that their gripes are with Shell, not Lego themselves, The Lego Group have been far from pleased that the NGO have targeted them instead of directly dealing with Shell. Even the statement released yesterday evening by the toy company chided Greenpeace for drawing Lego into their protests, whist acknowledging that the group would not seek to renew its partnership with the Oil and Gas giant:

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.

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 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.

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.


The fact that Lego have decided to not renew the partnership is a big deal, considering the company's association with Shell has been one that's lasted for 50 years, but although it is a victory for Greenpeace, they're going to have to wait a while for Lego to truly be done with Shell - the company's latest promotion deal (estimated to be worth around £68 million) only started in 2011, and will continue for a few more years at the least. It's a victory nonetheless though.

[The Guardian, statement via]

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"Lego toy sets are currently distributed at petrol stations in 26 countries, in a deal valued at £68m. Lego had previously argued that the relationship had a positive impact on the world by inspiring children with its toy sets."

I have never been into a Shell station and seen a LEGO set for sale; moreover, who is going to a Shell station to purchase LEGO? Those things ain't cheap and seem like less of an impulse purchase than a soda and a pack of gum. Also, and I might be coming off as cynical here, but 68 million kinda seems like a drop in the bucket for LEGO. I wonder if the ending of this deal has less to do with Greenpeace pressure and more to do with cutting losses and finding a new distributor due to declining sales.