On June 19 the anti-slavery group Walk Free released a video game parody of Super Mario Bros in a new campaign addressing the use of conflict minerals in Nintendo’s products. The campaign was inspired by the Enough Project company rankings report which scored Nintendo last among 24 major consumer electronics companies in steps being taken to address conflict minerals in their products. Through the combined use of an interactive video game and activist videos, Walk Free shines a light on Nintendo as a laggard in the conflict-free movement. After watching an introductory video, activists can play the video game, which leads players to be able to demand that Nintendo take measureable steps to include clean certified minerals in place of conflict minerals to manufacture their products.
Walk Free’s innovative campaign addresses Nintendo’s lack of response to petitions from activists regarding their use of conflict minerals. The campaign calls for the company to take initial steps towards transparency with consumers by auditing their supply chain and publicizing this information. The launch of the activist videos and online video game parody are the initial steps of a robust campaign. Walk Free has organized a worldwide Day of Action, which will take place on June 22 and 23. Over 1,000 activists in 64 countries will dress as Mario and Luigi and will deliver messages to stores that sell Nintendo products. Using materials found in Walk Free’s downloadable Activist Toolkit and social media outlets, activists will create a “Gallery of Activists,” amassing a global constituency of people invested in Nintendo’s ability to address this issue.
In a press release, Walk Free stated that “despite the efforts of the public over the last six months, Nintendo has refused to join electronics companies like HP, Intel, and Apple,” which have established conflict minerals programs to address their supply chain and the role that they play in the perpetuation of the conflict mineral trade. The trade in conflict minerals continues to be a main driver of violence in eastern Congo. The Enough Project recognizes the power of consumers to create change by choosing to purchase products from companies that are actively taking steps towards eliminating their use of conflict minerals in their products.
Results of the consumer movement can be seen by Intel’s commitment to making a fully conflict-free product with minerals from Congo by 2013, as well as the development of the Motorola Solutions for Hope Project and certification systems in the Great Lakes Region. Enough Project Senior Policy Analyst, Sasha Lezhnev, adds, “When consumers raise that human rights abuses and the world’s deadliest war cannot be inside the product that I use every 10 minutes, then I think companies start to pay attention.”
Connect with Walk Free’s campaign and activists by using the hashtag #SlaveryIsNotAGame on Twitter and Facebook. If you are participating in the Day of Action, upload photos and videos to saymario.com. To learn more and get involved with Walk Free’s campaign, visit www.slaveryisnotagame.com.
Photo: Walk Free video game (Walk Free)