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LEGO Caught In Political Struggle Between Greenpeace And Shell Oil Company [Updated]

But...but they're still coming over for Taco Tuesday, right?

LEGO: Everything is NOT awesome from Greenpeace on Vimeo.

[Update] Greenpeace reached out to tell us the original video has been pulled from YouTube so we’ve updated with a provided link to Vimeo. They weren’t specific about why the video was pulled, but our guess is that it used “Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie.

LEGO might be hazardous to more than bare feet, and Greenpeace is willing to kill as many teeny-tiny polar bears as necessary to prove it. (See above. L’il guys didn’t stand a chance.)

Greenpeace released the minifig melodrama this morning as part of a campaign launched on the first of this month requesting that LEGO get out of the bed (or double decker couch) that Forbes says it’s been sharing with Shell for “the last half century.” Specifically, Greenpeace’s campaign is responding to an expansion in a partnership between LEGO and Shell that would sell toy cars with the oil company trademark on them at gas stations in 26 countries. Greenpeace warns that the business deal…

…is part of a carefully thought-out strategy by Shell to buy friends who can make its controversial arctic drilling plans look acceptable and misleadingly associate it with positive values. LEGO is one of the most beloved and admired toy companies in the world, and Shell knows that this deal will not only increase profits, but also improve the reputation of a company known for recklessly threatening the fragile arctic ecosystem.

LEGO fosters an intimate connection between master builders everywhere and its brand, but in spite of the loyalty many of us feel to the company, it is, ultimately, just a business. LEGO’s deal with Shell and Ferrari has been valued at $116 million, and for a figure like that, if money is ultimately the bottom line, it would be naive to think the company would take issue with exposing kids to a little bit of brand loyalty to Shell. However, LEGO actually has a positive environmental track record that doesn’t line up with the oozing force of destruction seen in Greenpeace’s video. In 2011 they worked with the environmental group to resolve issues surrounding illegally-sourced materials from the Indonesian rain forest, and the company aspires to be oil and waste free by 2030.

Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Ian Duff told Forbes the group has been communicating with LEGO since last fall, but launched their petition and campaign because talks were “going nowhere.” On July 1st, LEGO CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp responded to the campaign’s launch, promising via Twitter and later a statement that

The LEGO Group operates in a responsible manner and continually strives to live up to the motto of the company since 1932: “Only the best is good enough”.

We are determined to leave a positive impact on society and the planet that children will inherit. Our unique contribution is through inspiring and developing children by delivering creative play experiences all over the world.

A co-promotion contract like the one with Shell is one of many ways we are able to bring LEGO® bricks into the hands of more children.

Greenpeace’s blatant use of LEGO as a political tool was jarring for me as well. I’m as aware of the urgency of our environmental crisis as anyone else who hopes her grandchildren won’t have to be born on Mars, but the group’s LEGO website and video are a reminder that the building blocks’ ubiquity and flexibility can be a double-edged sword. It’ll be a strange day if someone a little more Lord Businessy decides to use minifigs to be equally manipulative. Hopefully LEGO and Greenpeace can come to a reasonable conclusion soon–before any more plastic penguins have to lose their life. 

(via The Verge)

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