Saturday, March 22, 2008

Nintendo and the Cult of the Deniers

March 18, 2008

Nintendo apparently has joined the strange cult of deniers. These are the folks who deny well-documented and witnessed issues such as the fact that human activities are warming the planet with potentially disastrous results.
Now, Nintendo is denying that we can take effective steps to solve the environmental crisis. Or, at the very least, it is saying that it doesn't give a damn. It's bad enough that the company, which makes the popular Wii game console, ranked far at the bottom of Greenpeace's recent rankings of corporate environmental responsibility. What's truly remarkable is how the company responded to the ranking.

A spokesman dismissed the rankings by saying that they were, "based on the assumption that recycling is good for the environment."

Whatever you think of Greenpeace, it is clear that the vast majority of consumer electronics vendors take its rankings seriously and have been working hard to improve. And recycling is just one aspect of the Greenpeace rankings. So for Nintendo to have scored barely above zero indicates a cavalier attitude toward environmental concerns in general, not just recycling.

For better and often for worse, we live in a global economy that is based on companies creating desire for the new and the novel. This has fostered intense creativity and has helped create incredible wealth. But it also has created mountains of discarded junk that not only fill landfills but, in the case of electronics, also dangerously foul the environment with toxins. If we must remain addicted to the new and the novel, and I personally don't advocate that we do, then at least we should try to be as responsible and mindful about it as possible.

I'm not a game console user, so I can't speak to which console provides the best graphics or has the best games. But it is reasonable to base buying decisions not just on those factors but also on a company's sense of responsibility.

Nintendo has made its attitude toward the environment obvious. By contrast, one of Nintendo's primary competitors in the game console business, Sony, ranked near the top of the rankings. Of course, Nintendo has one other major competitor, and that company ranked third from the bottom of the Greenpeace list.
The name of that competitor? Microsoft

No comments: