Dear LEGO employee,
As an employee of LEGO, you have helped to create a company admired around the world. Millions of people associate LEGO with happy childhood memories, creativity, innovation and imagination. At the same time, LEGO has realised the significance of social responsibility and taken a number of steps towards becoming a better corporate citizen. These have undoubtely strengthend LEGO’s image as a responsible and well-loved company.
Unfortunately, LEGO’s management has decided to position your company’s famous logo alongside that of international oil company Shell, which is leading the race to drill in the fragile Arctic. Over the past few years this partnership saw 16 million LEGO cars sold over the counter of Shell petrol stations around the world. This provided a huge benefit for Shell, with PR agencies estimating it boosted customer loyalty by 52% and led to increased fuel sales.
LEGO’s management has confirmed to Greenpeace that the partnership with Shell will continue throughout 2014.
Greenpeace thinks this is a very bad idea. Shell is using LEGO’s hugely popular brand to try and improve its terrible reputation.
Shell has big plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. Even though the region is melting because of climate change, Shell wants to extract more of the oil that’s causing the ice to vanish in the first place and has spent billions preparing to explore the icy waters of the far north. But this delicate and unique environment, home to incredible wildlife like narwhals and polar bears, would be devastated by an accident. Drilling for oil in the Arctic safely is impossible and Shell could not clean up a spill in its freezing waters.
Despite being so reckless, Shell is refusing to give up its Arctic ambitions. And they’re using LEGO to clean up its image.
Shell needs more than the governments and shareholders' acceptance to drill in places like the Arctic. It also needs public acceptance that what it is doing is ok. Developing this social license to operate helps it to defend contentious decisions like opening up the home of the polar bear to reckless oil drilling.
LEGO’s association with Shell legitimises its operations in the Arctic that millions of people around the world already think are indefensible.
Greenpeace admire LEGO for its progressive ambitions and tough green policies. We love the way you inspire creativity and a passion for the environment in our children. But your company’s deal with Shell could ruin LEGO’s good name and your hard work.
We urge you to end this partnership as soon as you can.