The Shell/LEGO partnership can be termed as unethical but not illegal. Companies are free to collaborate with others in promotional exercises, and that is what Shell did with LEGO. Such collaborations increase revenue and brand visibility to the two companies. The motivation is purely financial. However, this partnership is unethical for many reasons. The first reason is that it takes advantage of kids’ love for their toys. Children who love LEGO begin to associate their toys with Shell; hence, they also take a liking to Shell. This is unfortunate since the children are not old enough to understand the many unethical business practices that Shell Oil has engaged in.
The second reason why the partnership is unethical is that LEGO purposely ignored the accusations that Shell has faced over the years, focusing only on the financial benefits to the two companies. Shell Oil has been accused of activities that contribute to climate change, and this is a very serious issue. The kids who love LEGO are the same ones who stand to suffer the most from the effects of climate change. It is, therefore, wrong for LEGO to encourage brand loyalty to Shell among children, without the kids’ knowledge of Shell’s activities.
The partnership between Shell and LEGO raises serious ethical questions. Environmental activists such as Greenpeace have spent years in protest of Shell Oil Company’s moves such as pollution of land and water bodies in the Niger Delta as a result of using old and corroded pipes. Companies should not focus only on making money; they should also ensure their activities are responsible and preserve the environment around them. While many steps have been taken to combat and reduce climate change, it is sad to see companies such as Shell fight to worsen the situation with plans to drill in the Arctic.