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Enough Project out to stop companies from using conflict minerals, gives Nintendo a zero ranking

"Nintendo is, I believe, the only company that has basically refused to acknowledge the issue or demonstrate they are making any sort of effort on it. And this is despite a good two years of trying to get in contact with them." - Sasha Lezhnev, senior policy analyst at the Enough Project
"(Nintendo) outsources the manufacture and assembly of all Nintendo products to our production partners and therefore is not directly involved in the sourcing of raw materials that are ultimately used in our products. We nonetheless take our social responsibilities as a global company very seriously and expect our production partners to do the same." - Nintendo statement


Kind of a shady answer from Nintendo. It's almost like they're saying that they don't get the conflict minerals themselves, so they're not to blame. I guess it all depends on how you look at it. Thanks to LegendofZelda1996 for the heads up.

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User avatar
16 Aug 2012 04:59

I don't understand what this means.
User avatar
16 Aug 2012 05:44

^^^ Congo is in a state of war, and the minerals (specifically tin) from Congo can fuel that war.

The Enough Project is a division of the Center for American Progress, a public policy research and advisory organization, that aims at working to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

According to the International Rescue Committee, an estimated 5.4 million people have died from war-related causes in central Africa (this includes starvation, disease, and murder) since 1998, with this tin and minerals trade playing a part in the reason for this happening (mostly the indirect funding of this). They aim at stopping the money reaching the hands of warlords, armed forces and groups (many of which have and abuse slaves for labor), and corrupt government leaders, and to make the technological industry not one founded on the backs of war (and thus create a sort of "war economy").

Many companies (Intel, Dell, Microsoft, Apple, etc.) have gotten wise, and have found ways to "trace" the sources of their trade partners to make sure none of it goes towards waging war. According to the Enough Project, this has made the trade "less bloody" in their words. The Enough Project claims that these companies have done their due diligence basically to make a clean profit without any blood on their hands.

However, Canon, Nikon, Sharp, HTC and Nintendo have received criticism from the Enough Project for not taking enough steps to make sure that their involvement in this trade hasn't resulted in bloodshed. Nintendo got the lowest possible rating, a zero, for in the Enough Project's eyes for refusing "to acknowledge the issue or demonstrate they are making any sort of effort on it," according to Enough Project senior adviser Sasha Lezhnev.

Nintendo, to counter this, is stating that their production partners (basically, who they buy the material from, who are the people who buy it from Central Africa) are in charge of buying the materials, and knowing which sources are "clean" and which sources are not. Nintendo also stated, "We nonetheless take our social responsibilities as a global company very seriously and expect our production partners to do the same." This (from my perspective) is a sign that they are about to stop doing business, at least to a certain extent, with some of these companies.

Based partially on legal changes, legal enforcement, and the technology industries' growing desire to know who and what their sources of trade are, armed groups have made 65% less money over the past 2 years.

tl;dr
-The tech industry is trading for resources in Central Africa.
-Central Africa is on and off in all kinds of wars (different parts of Central Africa, at least), and much of the resources come from warlords and armed forces that have slaves and civilians they use and abuse, commit murder, and kill viciously.
-This has lead people to not just be relocated from their homes for fear of war, but also made many areas of Central Africa suffering from genocide, disease, and malnutrition.
-The tech industry needed these resources.
-Some companies like Intel, Apple, Microsoft, and HP were smart, researched who they are trading with, and tried to determine who worked for them, and what type of organization they were.
-This has lead to a decreased profit made by these malicious groups.
-However, other companies continue to turn a blind eye.
-The Enough Project accused Nintendo to be the worst offender of this (turning a blind eye), claiming they don't do anything.
-Nintendo claims that they are not involved with trading with these malicious groups, but rather, they are trading with groups that possibly are trading with these malicious groups.
-Nintendo is reviewing their trading situation.
-Nintendo will in all likelihood change their stance and position to be more modeled after HP, Apple, Intel, and Microsoft in this regard. *this is my analysis, not a fact*

Pretty much everything I took from that article. Hopefully Nintendo (and all those other companies) can get this sorted out, figure out who to trade with, and continue to be smarter, more aware, and more in tune with their trading practices.
User avatar
16 Aug 2012 05:52

Is this like when they got the worst rating for energy consumption, even though they have the console that consumes the least amount of energy, basically because they wouldn't provide any information to the people doing the study (greenpeace or something I think)?
No Avatar
16 Aug 2012 06:59

Their products are built in the exact same facility as all Apple products. That basically means that whatever Apple is doing in this regaurd will be the same for Nintendo. In fact, the vast majority of electronics I'm aware of these days are built in the same place. The Foxconn plant in China. Shouldn't be too hard to figure things out from there. I didn't even have to google that. I just knew that already. Any sort of big fancy project should be able to do much better than that.
User avatar
16 Aug 2012 11:45

Nintendo is just trying to appeal to the "hardcore"...


so they get a zero rating even though its possible all of their minerals are clean? seems like they would have to prove Nintendo was using bloody minerals to rate them that way.
User avatar
16 Aug 2012 11:53

@Gold_Ultima
Suppliers and Manufacturers are two different things.
Foxconn is almost primarily a manufacturer.
Apple and Nintendo can use completely different Suppliers but use the same Manufacturer - hence Apple may be "clean" but Nintendo may be "dirty"

Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Nokia all use Foxconn too btw.

So maybe the big fancy project did do much better than you.
No Avatar
16 Aug 2012 12:03

@Koopzilla@Gold_Ultima
This and this.

And if this is really working how come after all these years the deaths haven't dropped significantly? I'm not saying we shouldn't try, but they're acting like Nintendo being secretive shows anlNintendo does not care and is helping fuel the wars.. you know what really fuels the wars? The breadth of the black market. You know he usual drugs, human trafficking, organs and MILITARY WEAPONS researched and developed by the billions upon billions of dollars the US alone invests (more then the whole world combined). Yes the majority of weapons aren't brand new, but a good chunk if them are recent developments. For example in a recent (sometime in the past decade dont remember exactly) FTA raid at a shipping dock had many firearms ranging from civilian to military arms. Some as recent as the HK416.. and don't forget the much more recent Fast and Furious campaign.. which had dozens of the brand new M27s.. (I think those were the models)

Want to stop unnecessary bloodshed? I'm not for gun control. What I am for is the allocation of some of those trillions of dollars in military spending to go into securing and safeguarding the leaks and sales of these weapons.
No Avatar
16 Aug 2012 12:31

OmicronTurtle wrote:@Gold_Ultima
Suppliers and Manufacturers are two different things.
Foxconn is almost primarily a manufacturer.
Apple and Nintendo can use completely different Suppliers but use the same Manufacturer - hence Apple may be "clean" but Nintendo may be "dirty"

Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Nokia all use Foxconn too btw.

So maybe the big fancy project did do much better than you.


They didn't really. They gave them a zero rating because they had no info. I'm sure they could have done a little actual detective work and maybe googled some things. That's the entire point I was making. I apparently know more about how Nintendo makes their products off the top of my head when I couldn't care less, while they are some big fancy organization of some sort who can't find out anything on their own.
User avatar
16 Aug 2012 14:25

Not getting in contact isn't the same thing as participating..... at all. These guys shouldn't be rating them if they're not even responding.
User avatar
16 Aug 2012 16:08

This makes me imagine a mobster saying, "Yes, we hire China-based hitmen to deal with certain problems. However, we are not directly involved in that problem solving process – but we are confident that our hitmen partners act responsibly."

The manufacturing business in China is so competitive that it's virtually impossible for a manufacturer to be successful without disregarding a few rules, sacrificing some ideals, and treating sweatshop employees like unfeeling robots. So the idea of trusting any Chinese manufacturer to consistently do the right thing is bit ingenuous and unrealistic.

To be fair, I do believe that Nintendo's President and upper management work hard to do what's fair and ethical, even when it means coming into conflict with shareholders. But I wish Nintendo was more transparent.

Perhaps Nintendo doesn't want to be bullied into participating in every new investigative "Project" that gets created. Not every such survey is conducted for 100% selfless reasons. Sometimes studies that present themselves as non-profit public services are actually related (in roundabout ways) to other agendas. I'm not questioning this particular project, but I suspect that not all of them are 100% altruistic.

I don't want to pay $5-$20 more for game consoles, but if it makes the difference between a sweat shop and a decent job or if it allows a manufacturer to be responsible, I think Nintendo should put their foot down and charge a small amount more per unit (if the shareholders will let them.)

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