Nowadays, the risks faced by business organizations come from different fronts. For example, companies are constantly exposed to pressures from social networks, either by consumers or by other organizations.This permanent exposure can trigger a reputation crisis. For example, organizations in favor of the defense of the environment are a source of important pressures for their manifestations against everything they consider damaging the ecosystem. These NGOs have found in social networks the means to not only exert pressure, but to spread their message against certain companies or governments.

Thus, it is extremely important that companies are aware of the risks involved in their operations for the environment. And, on the other hand, it is essential that companies have a constant dialogue with NGOs in order to mitigate possible crises. That is, sit down to negotiate and reach agreements so that a demonstration in social networks and media that generates the loss of confidence by customers or consumers of the company does not explode.

LEGO, a company dedicated to the manufacture of toys, started a commercial alliance with the oil company   Royal Dutch Shell   since the 1960s. They never imagined that this dumbbell would unleash a crisis with global repercussions. Greenpeace began a series of demonstrations against the oil company for its plans to drill in the Arctic. As a form of pressure against Shell, they sought to attack their partners, that’s how they came to LEGO.

In 2014, this NGO released a video showing the Arctic and a Shell oil well with LEGO toys, which are sinking into oil. The video ends by requesting the signature of the petition for LEGO to end its relationship with Shell. This video soon added almost six million views worldwide with the obvious consequences for LEGO, demonstrations of all kinds against its partnership with the Dutch oil company. Initially, company executives reported that they had no connection with Shell’s plans and that Greenpeace should deal directly with the oil company, and not try to put pressure on it through LEGO. As the crisis in LEGO’s reputation continued to rise, managers had to back down and announced that they would not renew the last contract signed with Shell in 2011. Thus, Greenpeace’s pressure was successful. Companies must understand that in a world as interconnected as in which we live today, the commercial and business alliances that they make can be sources of crisis.


At Riesgos Políticos, SC, we can help your company establish risk management and crisis management mechanisms. If you have any questions, please contact us by email  info@riesgospoliticos.com.mx .


Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

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