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Discussion With the President Putting Smiles on the Faces of Everyone Nintendo Touches: The Idea Behind the Words

Discussion With the President

"Putting Smiles on the Faces of Everyone Nintendo Touches": The Idea Behind the Words

Shuntaro Furukawa, who is the Representative Director and President of Nintendo Co., Ltd., and Hidemi Tomita, who is the Director of Lloyd's Register JapanShuntaro Furukawa, who is the Representative Director and President of Nintendo Co., Ltd., and Hidemi Tomita, who is the Director of Lloyd's Register Japan

Shuntaro Furukawa
Representative Director and President
Nintendo Co., Ltd.
Mr. Furukawa joined Nintendo in 1994. After being appointed as General Manager of the Corporate Planning Department in 2015 and then Director and Managing Executive Officer in 2016, he was appointed to his current position in June 2018.
Hidemi Tomita
Director
Lloyd's Register Japan K.K.
After graduating from the University of Tokyo School of Engineering's Department of Applied Physics, Mr. Tomita received a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University. He served as General Manager of the CSR department at Sony Corporation for roughly 10 years, from its establishment in 2003. Mr. Tomita joined Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance Limited in 2013, and has held his current position since 2016. He has participated in a variety of government committees, including the Sustainable Sourcing Working Group for the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and in the formulation of international standards such as ISO26000 and ISO20400.

What is Nintendo's Corporate Social Responsibility, and where does it come from?
This is a discussion between Hidemi Tomita, who has an extensive knowledge of CSR and is the Director of Lloyd's Register Japan, and Shuntaro Furukawa, who is the Representative Director and President of Nintendo Co., Ltd.

Creating More Smiles:
What is Nintendo's Corporate Social Responsibility?

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Tomita:
President Furukawa, you were appointed Representative Director and President in June 2018. How did you feel when you were nominated, and what kinds of things were you trying to keep in mind?
Furukawa:
It was very sudden, so frankly speaking, I was surprised. At the same time, I felt a strong sense of responsibility. However, and I mean this in a good way, what I'm trying to keep in mind is not to change much from before I took my current position. In steering the business, I believe that it's critical to ascertain which makes more sense for Nintendo: For me to lead directly, or to entrust certain things to other leaders while working closely with them.
Tomita:
What do you think Nintendo's strengths are?
Furukawa:
Nintendo is a company that aims to provide unique entertainment and fun to consumers around the world. I think the clarity of our goal is one of Nintendo's strengths.
Tomita:
So while many companies are diversifying their business, Nintendo's business is very straightforward, as the company specializes in entertainment. What are your thoughts on CSR?
Furukawa:
Our basic CSR policy is to put smiles on the faces of everyone Nintendo touches. For us, as a company in the business of entertainment, making consumers smile is more important than anything else. To that end, I believe it's essential to make every stakeholder, including everyone in our supply chain and all our employees, smile. I believe that this leads to providing products to consumers that bring them smiles, and their smiles become the driving force for us to create new surprises, creating a circle of smiles.
Tomita:
The existence of Nintendo creates a circle of smiles in society. That is a major corporate value, and you could also say a contribution to society. Incidentally, what makes you smile, President Furukawa?
Furukawa:
I was working in Germany for a long time, and I saw many consumers getting our products (like the Nintendo DS and Wii) around Christmas. Even in winter when it was overcast and cold, I remember feeling very proud as a Nintendo employee. Seeing consumers enjoying Nintendo products still brings a smile to my face.

The Fundamental Pursuit of New Entertainment Potential to Put Smiles on the Faces of Consumers 

Tomita:
At the end of 2018, Nintendo redefined its CSR objectives into three priority areas: consumer smiles, supply chain smiles, and employee smiles. To begin, I'd like to ask about the first one, consumer smiles. What do you think is important for making consumers smile?
Furukawa:
At Nintendo, we value providing consumers around the world with interesting and fun experiences unlike any they've had before, as well as the belief that the true value of entertainment lies in its uniqueness. We deliver high-quality and safe products, and we want our consumers to smile, whether they are having fun enjoying them together or playing with them quietly on their own.
Tomita:
I heard that in the summer of 2019, there will be a booth with Nintendo Labo at KidZania in Japan. Isn't Nintendo beginning a lot of initiatives like this that incorporate games?

Shuntaro Furukawa, who is the Representative Director and President of Nintendo Co., Ltd.

Furukawa:
Nintendo Labo was developed as a new way to play. It is based on the concepts of Make, Play, and Discover, and you play it on Nintendo Switch by combining the cardboard pieces. In addition to the global appreciation from consumers, this characteristic has led to it being used for education. If we continue to see consumers who want to make use of Nintendo's entertainment products in new ways, we also would like to increase those opportunities.
Tomita:
The GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation), a set of rules regarding the protection of personal information in relation to consumers, was enacted in Europe in May 2018. What attitude has Nintendo taken toward balancing its company activities and personal rights?
Furukawa:
We intend to closely follow the movement within each country and respond in an appropriate way to the current state of consumers requests. For example, our devices can be easily connected to the Internet. If the consumer is a child, not only is product quality critical, but we must also consider parents and other people in the child's life, while remaining aware of how the child interacts with the games. One example of this is Nintendo Switch Parental Controls, a free app that easily allows parents and guardians to monitor and control the gameplay status of their children using a smart device linked with the Nintendo Switch. I believe that we're able to make consumers smile not only because they enjoy our games, but because consideration for the relationship between parents and children, as well as privacy, is part of our guiding principles.

Toward Reducing Human Rights Risks to Put Smiles on the Faces of the Supply Chain

Tomita:
Human rights and labor issues at manufacturing sites within supply chains around the world are drawing attention. What approach is Nintendo taking to deal with these issues?
Furukawa:
Nintendo is a "fabless" company (one without its own factories). We aim for strong communication with all our production partners and emphasize the importance of them understanding our way of thinking. I believe that this is connected to us producing high-quality, reliable products, which in turn leads to more smiles from our consumers.
Tomita:
It seems that you're aiming for long-term relationships with your production partners.
Furukawa:
The entertainment business is known for having good times and bad times. During periods of strong sales, our communication with production partners tends to go smoothly. However, when things get rough in our business, it's essential to help each other. It's important to build a positive, cooperative relationship over a long period of time, while ensuring our partners understand the essential parts of our business.
Tomita:
Laws and regulations related to human rights are spreading rapidly around the world, such as the UK Modern Slavery Act enacted in 2015. Nintendo established its own global human rights policy in 2018 as well, right?
Furukawa:
It goes without saying that it's necessary to work on reducing the risk of human rights problems. We have consumers around the world, so we aim to proactively address this problem in a uniform manner globally, while keeping our eyes on the situation not only in Japan, but in countries worldwide. Even in the supply chain, Nintendo employees not only go directly to production partners to conduct thorough on-site checks, but we also carry out investigations through specialized external organizations to ensure objectivity.

Promoting the Understanding of Diversity to Put Smiles on the Faces of Employees

Tomita:
From the perspective of bringing smiles to all of your employees, what efforts do you think are necessary?
Furukawa:
To support "Putting Smiles on the Faces of Everyone Nintendo Touches" as CSR policy and in making products to meet our social responsibility as a company, making employees smile is crucial. Above all else, an understanding of diversity is essential in making employees around the world smile. We hold global meetings with members including executives of overseas groups and candidly exchange ideas, conduct surveys, and proactively create opportunities to gather opinions.
Tomita:
What do you expect of people who work in the Nintendo Group?
Furukawa:
We want them to be deeply aware that the job of each and every employee is connected to the smiles of consumers around the world. Nintendo's strengths are that as a group, we have continued to focus on surprising consumers in positive ways and creating entertainment that makes them smile. I'd like for us to continue doing this in the future. I believe that the continued efforts of all our employees to make consumers smile will result in every stakeholder who comes into contact with Nintendo smiling.

Resolving Social Issues and Steadily Implementing CSR Unique to Nintendo

Tomita:
In recent years, the limelight has been on ESG investments*1 and SDGs (sustainable development goals)*2. What are your thoughts on such social concerns?
Furukawa:
I understand that discussions are moving significantly towards realizing a sustainable society. In discussions with investors, we've received reports that interest in ESGs in particular is rising. On the environmental side, Nintendo is contributing to the reduction of waste generation through efforts like encouraging digital sales of game software. On the social side, we're striving to promote communication among family and friends through products that everyone can have fun playing together, like Nintendo Switch. In terms of governance, one-third of our board is made up of directors from outside of the company, as well as experienced and talented individuals from many diverse backgrounds, in order to incorporate outside viewpoints in passing down fair decisions.

Hidemi Tomita, who is the Director of Lloyd's Register Japan

Tomita:
In closing, please tell me about Nintendo's future aspirations.
Furukawa:
In recent years, the spread of gaming devices (including smart devices) has increased greatly, and the size of the gaming community has grown around the world. We believe our mission, moving forward, is to provide unique Nintendo entertainment to this expanded gaming population regardless of age, gender, and past gaming experience. We want a wide range of people to enjoy our products and services, and I believe that is a challenge worth taking on.
Spreading a circle of smiles in society, through Nintendo products and services: I believe that this is connected to our contributions to social issues and meeting the expectations of everyone in society.
*1  ESG investments
An investment method that puts emphasis on business practices that take into account environmental, social, and governance factors.
*2  SDGs (sustainable development goals)
A set of global goals for the year 2030, adopted at the September 2015 UN summit.
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