Last week there was some unpleasant news that Nintendo was forced to confront, with the revelations that manufacturing partner Foxconn employed under-age interns to manufacture Wii U. Foxconn accepted responsibility and admitted that under-age employees had been hired and subsequently released, while Nintendo for its part stated that it would investigate the allegations that this had taken place at a facility producing its products.
Charlie Scibetta, Nintendo of America's senior director of Corporate Communications, has now issued a statement following Nintendo's investigation and dialogue with Foxconn.
Nintendo was concerned to learn that underage individuals had been working at a Foxconn facility in China where components for some Nintendo products are produced. Nintendo investigated the incident and determined that this was a violation of the Nintendo Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Procurement Guidelines that all Nintendo production partners are required to follow, based on relevant laws, international standards and guidelines.
Foxconn has taken full responsibility for this incident and has moved quickly to ensure that all affected individuals no longer work at Foxconn. In fact, Foxconn's own policies prohibit the employment of underage individuals and the company has pledged to Nintendo via direct communications to improve its process of enforcing this policy to avoid any similar issues in the future.
As one of many companies that work with Foxconn to enhance CSR along the whole supply chain, we take this issue very seriously. As part of our ongoing procurement process, Nintendo staff will continue to carry out on-site inspections of our production partners in order to understand the actual on-site conditions and to promote socially responsible procurement.
There are no real surprises in this statement, with its main purpose seemingly to confirm and remove doubt that these school interns were indeed working on Nintendo manufacturing. Promises of further site inspections and enforcement of standards is positive, too, as long as it's genuinely enforced to improve Foxconn's practices.
We've already written about the uncomfortable truth that affordable consoles come at a cost, and there'll be plenty of attention on whether these conditions and Foxconn's standards genuinely improve and avoid controversy in the coming months.