Nintendo has established internal standards for designing eco-friendly products that consider the global environment, from the product planning stage through end-of-life disposal. We constantly work to improve our product development processes and include ways to decrease our environmental impact through incorporating designs that improve energy efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions, selecting component materials with a lower environmental load from the viewpoint of appropriate chemical substance control and selecting easily recyclable packaging materials to conserve resources.
In addition, we have established the Product Subcommittee Meeting under the supervision of the Environment Committee in order to discuss and exchange opinions and environmentally friendly ideas that can be incorporated into our products.
Our Approach to Chemical Substance Control
Nintendo applies strict internal controls to its use of chemical substances. These standards incorporate the precautionary principle*1 with the goal of preventing adverse health effects and reducing our environmental impact.
Pursuant to Nintendo standards, Environment-Related Substances are subject to various restrictions, depending on their classifications as: Banned Substances, Substances Subject to Early Withdrawal or Substances Under Application Control. We are also working toward compliance with the REACH Regulation*2.
- *1 Precautionary principle
- Proactively avoiding or minimizing the use of chemical substances that could pose a health or environmental risk, even if causation has not been scientifically proven.
- *2 REACH Regulation
- A regulatory framework in the European Union (EU) that deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. REACH requires the registration and management of chemicals in the EU in accordance with their use. Nintendo periodically checks the use of chemical substances by its production partners to verify whether any parts contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC).
- Banned Substances
- Restricted-use substances currently subject to enacted legislation or substances that Nintendo deems inappropriate for use.
- Substances Subject to Legal Regulation
- Substances Subject to Early Withdrawal
- Substances expected to be classified as Banned Substances due to the enactment of future legislation. As part of our risk management and environmental protection efforts, Nintendo plans to switch over to alternative substances and remove such substances from our products as soon as possible.
- Substances Under Application Control
- Substances that, with prolonged exposure, pose a potential health risk, and in Nintendo's view, require continual monitoring of their content levels.
For more information about our efforts, visit Nintendo Co., Ltd.'s CSR Q&A: Environmental Measures.
Green Procurement *3
Nintendo Co., Ltd. maintains strict control over its manufacturing processes and applies Green Procurement standards to ensure that its products comply with laws and regulations regarding toxic chemical substances. To protect the environment, Nintendo Co., Ltd. has established its own Green Procurement Specifications. Production partners*4 and component parts that meet our standards are certified as Green Suppliers and Green Parts. We manage these parts and materials in a database to avoid any use of uncertified parts.
Our overseas subsidiaries also promote green procurement practices. All operations manuals, packaging and shipping containers for which each subsidiary is responsible, from planning to production, must use materials that meet Nintendo Co., Ltd.'s Green Procurement Specifications.
- *3 Green Procurement
- Prioritizing the selection and procurement of products and component parts that are environmentally friendly and free from harmful substances.
- *4 Production partners
- The manufacturing factories to which Nintendo outsources product assembly and the suppliers of component parts and materials.
Green Supplier and Green Part Certification
We certify Green Suppliers and Green Parts on-site at the suppliers' production facilities with each Green Part being certified separately by category. As of the end of March 2013, Nintendo has certified a total of 735 Green Suppliers and 17,067 Green Parts.
Nintendo Co., Ltd. requires its production partners to perform their own analyses of the chemicals contained in the parts they deliver to Nintendo, especially for certain substances of particular concern, such as phthalate esters, which are categorized as Banned Substances.
We also issue manufacturing process guidelines to our production partners that specify methods for controlling the use of such substances, because there is always a risk of contamination during the manufacturing process, even if these substances are not used in the raw materials.
Working Toward Eliminating the Use of Specific Chemical Substances
Nintendo manages chemical substances in accordance with the RoHS Directive*5 and evaluates the use of allergens and other substances.
As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental impact, we are aggressively seeking replacement materials for polyvinyl chloride and bromide fire retardants, which we categorize as either Substances Subject to Early Withdrawal or Substances Under Application Control. Whenever and wherever possible, we seek substitutes that can guarantee product safety and quality. For example, we have eliminated all polyvinyl chloride in our plastic playing cards and internal components of our game systems, and have incorporated halogen-free components in some of our products.
- *5 RoHS Directive
- A European Union (EU) Directive that restricts the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants in certain types of electrical and electronic equipment.
Verification Testing of Chemical Substances Contained in Products
To ensure that our products contain no Banned Substances, Nintendo Co., Ltd. has a department that specializes in chemical analyses. Chemical substances contained in the component parts are monitored by testing, generally at the final stage of the specification reviews or during the mass production trials. We use in-house equipment for the majority of these tests, but when necessary or appropriate, we use the services of an international organization for third-party certification.
Nintendo is committed to developing products that are as energy-efficient as possible. Even after our products are launched, we continually work to lower their energy requirements.
We incorporated a power-saving mode into the Nintendo 3DS series of systems, which increases battery life by automatically adjusting screen brightness and color based on what is being displayed.
Wii U has full high definition graphics and utilizes cutting-edge technology in specially designed power-saving features to achieve energy efficiency (rated power consumption*6: 75 watts; average power consumption: 40 watts). We also incorporated a power-saving mode into the Wii U GamePad controller, which increases battery life by automatically adjusting screen brightness and color based on what is being displayed.
- *6 Rated Power Consumption
- The total power consumption of a system when all functions run at the same time. It includes the electricity supply to peripheral devices connected to not only the Wii U system but also a Wii U accessory. The actual power consumption is less than the rated power consumption. It depends on the type of game and the status of connected peripheral devices, but the average power consumption is approximately 40 watts.
Promoting Resource Conservation, Recyclable Design
In designing our products, Nintendo avoids relying on the use of composite materials*7, and instead favors easily separable and, thus, more recyclable materials. Additionally, we clearly indicate what materials are used in our products. We also work to reduce the use of unnecessary resources by minimizing the amount of packaging wherever possible.
- *7 Composite materials
- Materials comprised of two or more different raw materials, such as "paper + aluminum" or "paper + plastic," which are generally more difficult to recycle.
To promote resource conservation, Nintendo Co., Ltd. is working to digitize operations manuals included with packaged software products and hardware products in cooperation with overseas subsidiaries. In another attempt to conserve resources, for example, we have removed some of the plastic structure from our Nintendo 3DS Game Card cases, without jeopardizing the quality of the Game Card, in order to reduce the total amount of plastic.
Electronic manuals for Nintendo 3DS series
Electronic manuals for Wii U
From July 2012, we started to digitally distribute software that used to be sold only in a packaged format. Consumers can purchase and download digital software at any time through the Internet. After downloading software, consumers do not need to exchange the game cards to play a different game since the game data are saved on a built-in or external recording medium. From a long-term standpoint, digital distribution will contribute to conserving natural resources used in the packaging and operations manuals and reducing CO2 emissions.
Positive Environmental Effects of Digital Distribution
One Million Wii U downloads
- Disk Case: Approx. 77-ton reduction of plastic
- Printing materials: Approx. 19-ton reduction of paper materials
- This equates to the reduction of 880 tons of CO2, generated from manufacturing and transportation through to disposal. This amount is equivalent to the total CO2 emissions of 174 average Japanese family units per year.
One Million Nintendo 3DS downloads
- Card Case: Approx. 45-ton reduction of plastic
- Printing materials: Approx. 8-ton reduction of paper materials
- This equates to the reduction of 1640 tons of CO2, generated from manufacturing, and transportation through to disposal. This amount is equivalent to the total CO2 emissions of 324 average Japanese family units per year.
- * Consumed power while the hardware is in use is not included.
- * Manufacturing site and distributed market: Japan
- * A family unit's CO2 emissions per year (as of fiscal year 2011) as defined by the Japan Center for Climate Change Actions.
Nintendo is always looking to reduce environmental impact from the transportation of products to retailers. In order to minimize the impact, we review transportation routes, incorporate modal shift*8, consider and develop packaging and transport efficiencies and choose eco-friendly carriers.
- *8 Modal Shift
- To put priority on choosing eco-friendly transportation methods.
Nintendo of Europe has been actively working to reduce the environmental impact of product transportation by promoting modal shift. Moreover, in fiscal year 2012, Nintendo of Europe decided to increase its focus on working with carriers who carefully consider their social responsibility. One such carrier has a zero emission transportation system, and certifies that its carbon footprint for package delivery is CO2 free. Nintendo of Europe will continually choose and support those carriers who focus on social responsibility.
Nintendo considers the promotion of products and packaging recycling to be one of its most important initiatives. In the various countries we operate, we provide consumers with information regarding recycling, and participate in take-back and recycling programs. To learn more about our local recycling efforts, visit Nintendo Co., Ltd.'s CSR Q&A: Environmental Measures.
In January 2013, Nintendo Australia started a Take Back Program, which offers consumers an opportunity to return Nintendo products that are no longer in use for recycling. Consumers are able to recycle Nintendo products by posting them to Nintendo Australia or delivering them to a permanent drop-off point at Nintendo Australia's premises. Collected products are given to the appropriate vendor for recycling.