Capitalising on the popularity of the recent Lego movie – which is awesome – Greenpeace have a lot to say about oil company Shell’s practices.
Why should we care if Shell’s brand features in a series of Lego cars?
Greenpeace, the environmental campaigning organisation, believes that Lego is putting sales above its commitment to the environment by partnering with Shell, which is launching a global campaign to force the world’s biggest toymaker to end a deal that puts the oil company’s logo on the famous bricks.
According to president and chief executive of the Lego Group, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, how Shell operates in a specific part of the world is a matter to be handled between Greenpeace and Shell. He also holds a hands-off approach which is preferable when working with Shell, its shareholders or when talking about anything Shell has done, as explained in a statement he made last week:
“We expect that Shell lives up to their responsibilities wherever they operate and take appropriate action to any potential claims should this not be the case. I would like to clarify that we intend to live up to the long term contract with Shell, which we entered into in 2011.”
Sara Ayech, an Arctic Campaigner at Greenpeace, thinks otherwise:
“Every company has a responsibility to choose its partners and suppliers ethically. LEGO says it wants to leave a better world for children and has a progressive environmental policy. But it’s partnered with Shell, one of the biggest polluters on the planet, now threatening the Arctic. That’s a terrible decision and its bad news for kids. We’re calling on LEGO to stand up for the Arctic — and for children — by ditching Shell for good.”
Both Shell’s and Lego’s corporate social responsibilities are brought under the spotlight in this context. Shell certainly aren’t strangers when it comes to controversy over their environmental credentials, as, for example, Friends of the Earth drew attention through presenting a spoof ‘erratum’ to the 2010 annual report at the Shell shareholders AGM.
Questions continue about the environmental impact of drilling in such a sensitive area as the Arctic, particularly in light of Shell’s contribution to climate change around the world.
The Irish dimension is not silent on these debates. See the work of the Shell to Sea campaign at the Corrib Gas Field in county Mayo for more background on the community campaign to challenge offshore exploration and production with the state’s participation at www.shelltosea.com
In the meantime, Lego Ireland can be contacted via their website https://shop.lego.com/en-IE and Shell Ireland at https://www.shell.ie
- More info on the Greenpeace campaign to Save the Arctic at www.legoblockshell.org
- More background info on the video news pickup from The Guardian (July 2014)
- News report and background info by Forbes magazine on environmental groups attempting to thwart Arctic oil exploration (July 2012)