Lego, we're feeling sad too

Posted by ianduff — 2 July 2014 at 5:37pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
Lego, don't let Shell play with the Arctic

LEGO says they’re saddened Greenpeace have used its famous brand as a tool in our campaign to stop Shell drilling in the Arctic.

We’re sad too.

We’re sad to see such a popular, well-loved brand like LEGO being used by Shell, with the willingness of LEGO’s bosses, to help clean up its disreputable image.

Greenpeace loves LEGO. Their toys provide inspiration and learning, as well as hours of fun, for millions of children (and more than a few adults) the world over. They’re also one of the most progressive companies we’ve ever worked with, making great strides to reduce their ecological impact and supporting the shift towards a clean, green future.

This is why LEGO’s partnership with Shell is such bad news.

By backing an Arctic oil giant like Shell, LEGO has let itself down. Shell’s ethos is totally at odds with LEGO’s own positive nature and the high standards the company sets for itself.

LEGO wants to tackle climate change. Shell doesn’t. It wants to continue our reliance on polluting fossil fuels like oil for decades to come. Experts estimate this will cause the planet’s average temperature to soar by 4° C, threatening the future of the Amazon rainforest, bringing drought and famine to millions and resulting in even greater melting at the top of the world.

LEGO is all for renewable energy. Shell isn’t. It sold off most of its renewables business and remains a malign influence in the global fight against catastrophic global warming, backing climate skeptics, getting climate denial taught in schools and undermining the development of clean energy projects.

LEGO is passionate about unique environments like the Arctic. Shell isn’t. It wants to use the tragedy of Arctic sea ice melt to drill for more climate-wrecking fossil fuels and sees the sea ice death spiral as a business opportunity.

LEGO have said that they expect Shell to “live up to the legislation wherever they operate.” Well there is ample evidence that Shell is not able to operate legally, or safely, in the Arctic. Besides being responsible for crashed oil rigs, blazing drill ships, crushed-like-a-beer-can emergency equipment, Alaskan tax dodges and ignored safety warnings, Shell broke the law when it tried to drill for oil in the Alaskan Arctic. Twice.

Its drilling vessels Noble Discoverer and Kulluk both failed to meet the pollution limits set by the US Clean Air Act, designed to keep the atmosphere in places like the Arctic as pure as possible. And this didn’t just happen once. Authorities discovered “multiple” violations during the time both ships spent in the icy waters of the Arctic and fined Shell over $1m.

LEGO wants to leave the planet in a better place for our children. So does Greenpeace. But Shell’s vision is not one that we want to see future generations struggle with.

Shell hides behind the good reputation of other organisations in order to get away with drilling in risky places like the Arctic.

Associating with LEGO generates kudos and tacit support from millions of people for Shell’s operations, especially in the far north. Yet this support is totally unwarranted and, we believe, contrary to the very high environmental standards at the heart of who LEGO are.

The only reason LEGO has given for its deal with Shell is to put ‘LEGO bricks into the hands of more children.’ Does the world’s most profitable toy company have to put aside its stated values in order to increase its sales? Would LEGO partner with a cigarette company to help bring its bricks to the masses?

“Only the best is good enough” says LEGO’s Chief Executive Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. We wish that were true. But as long as the company keeps on helping Shell clean up its image, that can never be the case.

LEGO needs to stand up for Arctic protection and our children by ditching Shell for good and that’s why we are asking people around the world to tell LEGO to dump Shell.

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