In a nutshell, Greenpeace are campaigning for Lego to drop their partnership with Shell Oil – a relationship which has been going for 50 years now.
Whilst Lego have been working with Shell for many years, Greenpeace’s argument is that Shell are ramping up their activity in the Arctic to such an extent that they are threatening the environment in an irrevocable way.
As the Lego/Shell deal is being reviewed later this year, Greenpeace think the time is right to persuade Lego to drop the relationship.
Here’s the video, which contains a beautifully-shot Lego Arctic and a clever cover of the Lego Movie theme ‘Everything is Awesome’:
Whilst the campaign has been raging for several days now, I’ve refrained from jumping in to the debate for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as most of you know, I’m a massive fan of Lego and will defend their honour to the hilt – so this Greenpeace campaign has had me in two minds.
Secondly, whilst I like the causes that Greenpeace stands for, I haven’t always agreed with their methods. I’m not a regular donor and don’t follow their cause very closely – so to suddenly jump into the bandwagon with them might seem a bit disingenuous.
However, having been mulling the argument over for a few days, I’ve decided that I’ve come out on the side of Greenpeace. And here’s why:
In this day and age, does Lego really need a relationship with any company? I’d argue the answer is no, unless it aids sales. Sure, they have partnerships with major corporations like Disney, Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox and others – but all of those are because the sets based on those brands sell well. Do Shell sets sell? Not likely.
In fact, whilst there have been many Shell-based sets in the past, Lego have built their own ficticious petrol brand – Octan, as heavily featured in the Lego Movie.
When I discussed the campaign with some of my fellow dad bloggers, there were two main arguments which came up amongst the “I don’t care” camp:
Firstly, the apparent hypocrisy of a toy company which uses plastic (made from crude oil) being made to care about oil. And secondly, the “why should I care?” argument.
I can’t really do much for the “why should I care?” camp – let’s face it, if you don’t already care about the implication of drilling for oil in the arctic, a video by Greenpeace isn’t going to convince you. But the first argument is a fairly sensible question.
If you read more about Greenpeace’s reasoning behind the campaign (which I’d urge you to do – especially since the video doesn’t really give you many clues!) you’ll discover that Lego have already made a pledge to phase-out the use of oil in their product by 2030. They have also worked to reduce their packaging and ensure all packaging and printed materials are FSC-certified. So they clearly do care.
Which is what makes the Shell deal even more of a disparity – why does a company who clearly take great care in reducing the environmental impact need to partner up with a global oil company?
I don’t think they do. Which is why I signed the petition, and I think you should too.