Lego ends partnership with Shell after Greenpeace campaign

Greenpeace 'celebrates' after Danish toy maker Lego announced Thursday it won't renew a deal allowing Shell to hand out Lego sets at gas stations in some 30 countries, following a viral campaign protesting Arctic drilling. Greenpeace

TORONTO – Lego announced Thursday that it will not renew its 2011 promotion deal with Shell following a viral campaign protesting Arctic drilling by Greenpeace. The partnership between the two companies allowed Lego products to be sold at Shell gas stations in some 30 countries.

“Our stakeholders have high expectations to the way we operate. So do we,” said CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp in a statement on the company’s official website. “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.”

In July, Greenpeace launched a video showing an Arctic landscape with a Shell drilling platform made of Lego bricks covered in oil.

READ MORE: Everything is not awesome: Greenpeace video criticizes Lego and Shell partnership

“Already more than 16 million Shell-branded LEGO sets have been sold or given away at petrol stations in 26 countries,” said Ian Duff, an Arctic campaigner with Greenpeace back in July. “Shell is so delighted by the results that further promotions are already planned for this year.”

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“But LEGO, the biggest toy company in the world, has built its brand on its continued promise of leaving a better world for children. And by teaming up with Shell it’s letting kids down.”

Vig Knudstorp said the campaign used the Lego brand to target Shell.

“As we have stated before, we firmly believe Greenpeace ought to have a direct conversation with Shell,” he said. “The LEGO brand, and everyone who enjoys creative play, should never have become part of Greenpeace’s dispute with Shell.”

Greenpeace, meanwhile, described Lego’s announcement as fantastic news, even thanking the company for “doing the right thing” and that “everything is awesome.”

Lego also said it was “determined to leave a positive impact on society and the planet that children will inherit.”

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“Our unique contribution is through inspiring and developing children by delivering creative play experiences all over the world.”

Lego said it will not provide any further comment on the campaign and declined to explain when the current deal expires.

– with files from The Associated Press

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