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Greenpeace Urges LEGO to End Shell Partnership and Save the Arctic

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Greenpeace launched a major new global campaign today targeting LEGO for putting sales above its commitment to the environment and children’s futures. This campaign will mobilize more than 5 million people to take creative action in six continents—Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, North America and South America.

“Climate change is an enormous threat facing all children around the world, but Shell is trying to hijack the magic of LEGO to hide its role." Photo credit: Save the Arctic

In a new report, Greenpeace urges LEGO, the world’s biggest toy company, to stop making toys with oil giant Shell’s branding, since Shell has dangerous plans to drill for oil in the Arctic threatening the unique wildlife that depends on it and impacting climate.

“Children love the Arctic and its unique wildlife like polar bears, narwhals and walruses that are completely dependent on the Arctic sea ice," said Ian Duff, Arctic campaigner at Greenpeace. "It’s a fragile environment and an oil spill would be devastating. And of course the only reason Shell can even reach the oil is because global warming is melting the ice."

Shell’s Arctic program has faced fierce criticism since 2012. In that same period 16 million Shell-branded LEGO sets were sold or given away at petrol stations in 26 countries, making Shell a major contributor to LEGO’s global sales, accounting for a 7.5 percent worldwide sales uplift during the promotion. The two-year deal was valued at $116 million, according to Shell’s PR company.

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Climate change is an enormous threat facing all children around the world, but Shell is trying to hijack the magic of LEGO to hide its role," said Duff. "It is using LEGO to clean up its image and divert attention from its dangerous plans to raid the pristine Arctic for oil. And it’s exploiting kids’ love of their toys to build life-long loyalty it doesn’t deserve. It’s time for LEGO to finally pull the plug on this deal. We’re calling on LEGO to stand up for Arctic protection, and for children, by ditching Shell for good.”

The campaign kicked off this morning, including a surge of pocket-sized protests at LEGOLAND in the UK with banners being hung, saying "Save the Arctic" and "block Shell."

The campaign is spreading quickly on Twitter, including these recent tweets:

“Children form strong emotional attachments in childhood that last a lifetime, and companies know that all too well," said Susan Linn, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood. "Adverts aimed at children are bad enough, but branding their favorite playthings gain companies like Shell many hours and even days of their dedicated time, energy and love. We need to protect children’s imaginative play from branding for many reasons, including the important need for them to explore their own ideas and develop their own world view.”

 

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