Science

Nintendo: Bad for the environment

Nintendo and Microsoft are among the worst companies in the electronics industry when it comes to environmental policy, according to a new Greenpeace report. The sixth issue of the Guide to Greener Electronics includes television and game console manufacturers for the first time. Although Sony received a respectable score of 7.3 out of 10, Microsoft entered towards the end of the rankings with a paltry 2.7. Even worse are Nintendo, who scored 0, making them the first company to fail all of the testing criteria.

The environmental campaign group ranked companies on how well they clean up their products by eliminating hazardous substances and recycle them once they become obsolete. Microsoft scored points for its chemical management and for setting a timeline by which it intends to eliminate vinyl plastic (PVC) and all brominated flame retardants (BFRs), but only by 2011. Nintendo, on the other hand, has “infinite room for future improvement”.

The Japanese games giant responded,
“Nintendo is surprised by the content of the Greenpeace report. Nintendo takes great care to comply with all relevant regulations on avoiding the use of dangerous materials, recycling of materials etc. We do not know the basis or methodology used by Greenpeace to produce this report, and therefore cannot comment on it.”

Greenpeace’s findings are in stark contrast to the clean, family-friendly image that Nintendo has worked hard to maintain over the years. While Microsoft has never had the best of reputations, it’s certainly surprising to hear that Nintendo’s policies are in such a bad state, especially after all the good press they’ve been receiving lately.

The games industry shipped 62.7 million consoles in 2006 and is one of the fastest developing sectors in the field of electronic products. However strong the sales, these low scores from Nintendo and Microsoft reveal that the games industry still has a long way to go to improve its environmental policies and practices.

Philip Morton

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