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Nintendo Ranks Last In Conflict Minerals Report 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-blood-for-1up-mushrooms dept.
derekmead writes "A new report by the Enough Project, an arm of the Center for American Progress, shows that companies like Intel, Apple and Microsoft have been successfully scaling back their use of conflict minerals in their products. Other companies have been less helpful. Out of the 24 companies surveyed and ranked based on their use of conflict minerals, Nintendo came in dead last, having made no effort to ensure that its products weren't funding guerrilla warfare in Africa. '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,' said Sasha Lezhnev from the Enough Project. 'And this is despite a good two years of trying to get in contact with them.'"
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Nintendo Ranks Last In Conflict Minerals Report

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:44AM (#41036551)

    If you formally score someone 0/10 points on measure X just because they don't want to talk to you about X, then your assessment is pretty much worthless.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:52AM (#41036621)

      It's also a report from an organization trying to push their own "certification" program, which in the corporate world means "pay us and give us significant influence over you or we'll do our best to make everyone hate you". If they actually wanted to help they'd be working on the actual supply chains, not trying to strong-arm big companies.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:50PM (#41037153)

        So, this is a "carbon credits" type scam? Go Nintendo! :)

      • More importantly... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by raehl (609729) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:57PM (#41037209) Homepage

        It's wasted effort. Minerals are fungible commodities. Choosing not to buy minerals from a particular source doesn't affect anything, as they just end up being sold to someone else for the same price.

        About the only thing efforts like this are good for is PR and raising prices. Programs like this don't have any tangible impact in the conflict areas.

        • by arth1 (260657)

          Also, one need to look at what the replacement are. I'd much rather the money went to Africa, than to, say, China.
          Even if it goes to areas of war. This does nothing to address the root causes of the conflicts, and the wars won't become less barbaric if there is no influx of money. People gut each other just as horribly with spears.
          And some of the money will get spent locally, which increases the overall welfare. We need to stop trying to punish the bad guys when it also hurts the little guys.

          The effect

          • wrong, the money is spent by the evil overlord on italian sports cars, gold-plated weapons, home theater, swimming pools etc. while the general population is still enslaved, malnourished, digging in a hole and crushing their backs by carrying undecent amount of rocks. the overlord's hunchmen and the people who built its lavish villa do profit, though.

            • by tftp (111690)

              wrong, the money is spent by the evil overlord on italian sports cars, gold-plated weapons, home theater, swimming pools etc.

              Have you ever played Far Cry 2 [wikipedia.org]? It depicts really well the mansions and the palaces of those warlords that you speak about. Note: those palaces are dirty, rickety one- or two-story buildings.

              Warlords do have access to some serious cash. But there is no way they can use that money in Africa. What do you do with a sports car on African roads? A jeep or a buggy are far better choice

              • Gold-plated weapons are at least useful when humidity is 100% all year round.

                I guess I don't see how gold plating on weapons is "useful" at all, but how does humidity make it more or less so given the very stable nature of gold?

          • by ultranova (717540)

            Even if it goes to areas of war. This does nothing to address the root causes of the conflicts, and the wars won't become less barbaric if there is no influx of money. People gut each other just as horribly with spears.

            Arguably, restricting trade - especially weapons trade - with conflicted areas makes things worse. After all, the attacker knows he's going to attack, so he can stockpile weapons beforehand; the defender doesn't necessarily know he'll be attacked, so he either maintains a huge stockpile all

            • by arose (644256)

              The relative price for attacker and defender is the same, so restricting doesn't make anything worse, it just reduces the total number of weapons in the system. A cheap arms race is still an arms race, so if attacker is buying $X of guns the defender still has to match $X if your argument holds. The attacker will spend $X (because that's what the attack is worth to them) regardless of the precise bang for buck (for realistic values), so how will the defender avoid maintaining an equivalent stockpile?

              There a

              • by ultranova (717540)

                The relative price for attacker and defender is the same, so restricting doesn't make anything worse, it just reduces the total number of weapons in the system.

                It reduces them on the defenders side. The attacker can obtain weapons before the attack, whereas the defender can't unless they know they're going to be attacked. Since the defender can't get weapons once the attack begins and its ability to fight is thus crippled, the attackers investment is effectively multiplied unless everyone maintains a huge

                • by arose (644256)
                  Ah, I misunderstood your argument to be against an economic restriction (attempt to make weapons expensive), it makes sense in terms of a logistical restriction (attempt to remove guns from certain market). I don't necessarily agree, but that's mostly due to not having firm opinion.
        • Choosing not to buy minerals from a particular source doesn't affect anything, as they just end up being sold to someone else for the same price

          Only if there are other buyers. And, if a large number of buyers are unwilling to do business with some suppliers then the other buyers may be in a position to push the price down.

        • Citation needed. If markets were efficient or rational all the time, then perhaps market price would always be met, but warzone commerce in central Africa is most assuredly not efficient or rational. Refusing purchase of conflict products has effects. Slavery and child labor still exist, but they are massively less common now that the practice is scandalous.

        • Are you certain? Certain enough to talk it down?

          It has made some impact in the blood diamond trade, and while diamonds are not "fungible", as you say, they certainly have no inherent value. Metals can often be traced back to their source as well.

          When it comes to trying to stop the enslavement of child soldiers in shithole third world countries, a real certification program could definitely make a difference, even if it's not perfect.

          Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
          • It has made some impact in the blood diamond trade, and while diamonds are not "fungible", as you say, they certainly have no inherent value. Metals can often be traced back to their source as well.

            You do realize that it has made zero impact, other then spread corruption to the near by countries that get bought off to claim its theirs instead of the "conflict zone" beside them. Sierra Leone didn't go from exporting no diamonds at all to exporting over 100$ million a years worth in half a decade by mining them themselves you know.

            • If that's true, that's not good.  Just the same:
              Should we not even try?
              Doesn't this inhibit the warlords funds at all?  Surely they need to give a big cut to the Sierra Leone'eans if nothing else.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      True. But to be fair, how do you investigate the source of minerals if the company won't tell you? If a company uses a lot of conflict minerals they will act just like Nintendo and keep quiet because people will point out that they simply didn't answer the survey.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MacGyver2210 (1053110)

      I particularly like how one of the bullet points explaining why they are lowest-ranked is "Lowest ranked company". It's like recursive bullshit.

      The only reason I could see why most of these companies are rated badly is that they didn't want to spend the time and resources filling out surveys and auditing their supply chain for Greenpeace and their hippy brethren.

    • It's the same reason why they still kill and consume whales.

      They don't care.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        It's the same reason why they still kill and consume whales.

        I have less problems with killing and consuming whales in a sustainable manner than the major death risks for whales, which are international shipping and by-catches.

        Did you know that several species of marlin are endangered, and yet sports fishers catch them just to pose on a picture or hang the fish on a wall? Then they go back to their Prius and complain about a few whales being killed for food.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's the same reason why they still kill and consume whales.

        They don't care.

        No they still kill and eat whales because they think that whales are delicious. And since, in all likelihood, you've never tasted whale you're not really in a a position to argue against that particular point.

        • by DragonTHC (208439)

          Well, my dad tasted whale. He said it wasn't good. I trust his taste.

          When he lived in Alaska, they had a native food festival. Also bear is gross.

    • by slashfoxi (610738)
      And good for Nintendo. You can't legitimize every crank who comes calling. Though slashdot seems willing to do so.
  • Is that the Japanese company that lifted Italian and European characters Mario, Luigi, Pricess Peach, Zelda etc. to appease and penetrate our market?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @12:03PM (#41036693)

      That just means they're open-minded and sensitive to other cultures and are willing to adapt to a global economy. There's no exploitation, quite the opposite, they should be applauded for using characters that go beyond their own borders.

      • by Cenan (1892902)
        I'd mod parent up if i had any points left, simply for pointing out that almost any action can be spun to work for some agenda or other.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      "lifted"? They made them up. Are you saying that people should only create characters that come from their own country? That's just stupid and irrelevant.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So they get a 0 on their survey that doesn't get answer. Same thing with the greenpeace thing. Nintendo doesn't pay them, so they come in last.

    • Same thing with the greenpeace thing. Nintendo doesn't pay them, so they come in last.

      Nintendo uses whale parts in their products?

  • Yakuza.

    Nintendo is an ooooooold company. Those same hidden hands that have been there for them when others have had 'supply chain problems' for decades are more useful than some transient body and bad press.

    • by Nutria (679911)

      Whoever moderated this Offtopic completely missed ihatewinXP's point (which, if true, should be marked Informative).

  • by Exitar (809068)

    Why should an asian company care for "an arm of the Center for American Progress" that, according to wikipedia, is "dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action."?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because America is a huge market for that company's products. If people were to boycott them, it could hurt their profits. Of course no one will, and their competition does shit like this too. Another market failure.

  • and multiculturalism is the greatest good.

    Thus, anyone trying to stop them from raping slaughtering and enslaving is A Very Bad Person!

  • Fund away, as long as I get to play my video games.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So long as it's legal to use these minerals. Why should a business give a damm about anything else?

    Leave the legal/moral/political areas to the goverments/people. If they rule it illegal. Then a business has to comply.

    Or if people care enough the bad PR might hurt a company. But i really don't see that happening anytime soon.
    IE conflict diamonds are forever too.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So long as it's legal to use these minerals. Why should a business give a damm about anything else?

      Leave the legal/moral/political areas to the goverments/people. If they rule it illegal. Then a business has to comply.

      Or if people care enough the bad PR might hurt a company. But i really don't see that happening anytime soon. IE conflict diamonds are forever too.

      Just because something is legal, does not mean it is moral to do. Some people and the companies they run have morals. If more people had morals, then we could have a lot less laws. I know that is a lot to hope for, but people like you who think that if something is legal then they should do it, no matter what it does to man kind, does not help to have a more free society.

  • Conflict minerals include gold and tin! This is a misguided group misled by the diamond cartel's success in characterising non-cartel diamonds as' conflict' diamonds. Is there a clear answer on whether it is better to trade or not trade with conflict torn states? I don't think so. Is there a way to tailor trade for better outcomes for those states? I don't know, but I'm interested in knowing. I'm not interested in this group.
  • Unless oil is exempt from consideration as a conflict mineral.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let us not forget...during the South African Apartheid days...the US banned some metals being imported from South Africa...so, some Japanese companies turned around...bought the minerals from South Africa...and resold them to American comapanies...at GREAT profits. The only companies hurt by "the ban" were American workers and American companies...so much for "soical policy" :-(

  • Is it really a surprise that the American companies responded and a Japanese company didn't? You think perhaps there are cultural issues involves in choosing to respond or not?

  • So it's a protection racket? Pay up and do what we say or we will tell people you fund gorilla warfare|use conflict diamonds|exploit third world children|eat foie gras. This is what the politically correct future holds, idiots telling other idiots what to do, until we're all tied up in a big ball of nothingness - not allowed to do or say anything at all because of whatever flavor of the day topic. If you put gas in your damned car or turn on hour house lights, you are funding conflict, through fossil fuels.

    • by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @02:16PM (#41037873)

      You make some interesting points, and it comes back to the inter-connected world economy. Most people remember the "Buy American" mantra in the 70's and 80's... because Detroit was taking it in the shorts from Japanese car companies. That translated into later "Buy American" campaigns where Wal Mart and other retailers were being targeted for using cheap Chinese goods instead of more expensive American goods. Now we have "conflict minerals" and "conflict diamonds" etc.. that no matter what you buy or who you buy from, at some point there is a distinct possibility that those minerals used in the components of your electronics came from war-torn regions.

      The problem exists in that people do a great deal of posturing and hand-wringing (even on /.), but it amounts to a tempest in a teapot. Most people would not give up their iPhone or 3D LCD television if it really came down to it, yet like celebrities trying to guilt people into donating to charity, it seems people have no shortage of puritanical guilt to spread around to "everybody else."

      The key here is not that the minerals are going to fund conflicts in the Congo. The key is what can be done to prevent the conflicts, but more importantly, what can be done to encourage the Congo to end the senseless civil wars. My guess is there isn't any quick-fix and the boycott of "conflict minerals" will not stem the tide of bloodshed.

      Should we encourage companies to avoid using these minerals when they can? Sure. But we should never look down our sanctimonious noses at those who don't "have our moral superiority" and claim how well we're doing to stop using these minerals as we type from our computers that contain mostly "conflict minerals" in some form or another.

      Political correctness, as you correctly mentioned, was just the tip of the iceberg. It's nothing more than a bunch of busybodies that want to inform you and I how to say something, what words to use, and what we can and cannot "morally" use (for food or whatever cause du jour comes up on the news.) I frankly don't give a shit. I boycott hollywood, the RIAA and Microsoft. If someone wants to know why, I tell them. Otherwise I simply do my bit and move on. (Oh and Disney fucking sucks and should be imploded and its grisly parts be shot from a rocket into the sun.)

  • If this report were exactly as it is now, excepting that the company in question was Apple or Microsoft - I am pretty certain the prevailing tone of these comments would be quite different.

  • Da fuq is a conflict mineral? Are those the gold coins I have to jump over a piranha plant to get?

  • Buried past 4 clicks, a pop-up page and some crappy flash, a quite informative break-down.

    The actual list [raisehopeforcongo.org]

    Spoiler, Intel is top (least bad), not surprising that they can afford clean materials.

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