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Greenpeace Campaigns Against LEGO For Partnering With Oil Company

Greenpeace is attacking the beloved children’s toy company LEGO for partnering with the oil company Royal Dutch Shell to put their logo on the company’s plastic building blocks.

Greenpeace is targeting LEGO’s partnership with Shell as part of the group’s anti-Arctic drilling campaign. The multi-national environmental group says that Shell’s Arctic drilling operations are endangering the planet and that LEGO should end its partnership with the company. (RELATED: Greenpeace Loses Credibility In The Wake Of Huge Scandals)

“Climate change is an incredible threat facing all children around the world, but Shell is trying to hijack the magic of Lego to hide its role,” Ian Duff, Greenpeace’s Arctic campaign team leader, told the UK’s Guardian.

“It is using Lego to clean up its image and divert attention from its dangerous plans to raid the pristine Arctic for oil,” Duff said. “And it’s exploiting kids’ love of their toys to build lifelong loyalty it doesn’t deserve. It’s time for Lego to finally pull the plug on this deal.”

LEGO is one of the world’s largest producer of children’s toys, selling its plastic toy building blocks to millions of children each year. Their partnership with Shell dates back to the 1960s and it began to sell toys with the Shell logo on them in the 1990s.

The main villain in the recent “LEGO Movie” headed the fictional oil company Octan (which replaced Shell on their toys).

But LEGO says it’s not interested in ending its partnership with the major oil company.

“The Greenpeace campaign focuses on how Shell operates in a specific part of the world,” Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, president of the LEGO Group, said in a statement. “We firmly believe that this matter must be handled between Shell and Greenpeace. We are saddened when the LEGO brand is used as a tool in any dispute between organisations.”

“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,” Vig Knudstorp continued. “I would like to clarify that we intend to live up to the long-term contract with Shell, which we entered into in 2011.”

There is another facet of LEGO that Greenpeace fails to mention: their toys are made of plastic, which is a petroleum product. LEGOs are made of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, which is derived from natural gas and petroleum.

LEGO is actually trying to find a replacement for its Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene-based (ABS) product. Plastics News reports the company wants “to use a sustainable resin in its signature bricks by 2030, replacing ABS.”

Greenpeace says it will organize its 5 million online Arctic supporters to pressure LEGO into ending its partnership with Shell. The group’s activists recently protested the LEGO at LEGOLAND in the U.K.

Shell has come under fire from environmentalists for its attempts at Arctic drilling. Criticism intensified after a Shell oil rig ran ashore in December 2012. The accident was caused by a storm, not drilling activities, but environmental groups said it showed it was too difficult to safely drill in the region.

Environmentalists called for the Obama administration to ban Arctic drilling, but the oil industry said the drilling operations can be done safely in the region.

“It is possible to drill safely offshore Alaska, as our 2012 record shows,” said Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh.

“All equipment Shell proposes to use in drilling operations must first satisfy rigorous inspection and testing standards,” Shell spokesperson Nicholas Pardi told Bloomberg. “Any approved drilling activities will be held to the highest safety and environmental standards.”

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