Lego has bowed to public pressure and vowed that it will not renew its controversial partnership with oil giant Shell once the current 2012-14 deal expires – despite previously protesting that it was better to work directly with the firm.
The U-turn follows publication of a viral Greenpeace video which racked up close to 6m YouTube views with its depiction of an unspoilt Arctic environment (built from lego bricks) being sullied by the march of oil drilling and pipelines.
Confirming the change of heart in a statement Lego chief executive Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said that ‘as things currently stand we will not renew the contract with Shell when the present contract ends.’
The historic partnership had been in place since the 1960s and saw Shell distribute the toy bricks at its petrol stations in 26 countries in a collaboration valued at £68m.
Speaking to the guardian Greenpeace director John Sauven welcomed the decision, saying: “Clearly Shell is trying to piggy back on the credibility of other brands. It’s a good PR strategy if you can get away with it. But as we’ve shown, if you can’t get away with it, that social licence is taken away. It does damage them a lot.