As citizens around the world were encouraged to socially distance and stay at home amid the initial spread of COVID-19, two things soared in popularity: household supplies, such as cleaning wipes and toilet paper, and one of Nintendo’s newest console releases. The Nintendo Switch has kept millions of people occupied while transitioning into a completely new- and for many, less busy- lifestyle. What may be the most fascinating aspect of this spike in product demand is that the purchasers of the Nintendo Switch have not only found a new pastime, but also contributed to the fight against global poverty from their very own couches.
Nintendo Fights Global Poverty
Nintendo’s headquarters are located in Kyoto, Japan, but the company has bases in almost forty other countries. However, benefits are not exclusively reserved for countries that house Nintendo stores. The company’s popularity, success and reach are also advantageous for other countries that are exporters of some of the necessary raw materials needed to make Nintendo Switches, such as various metals, fossil fuels, chemicals and plastics. Being an exporter of materials in high demand means that a country can earn high profits. Not only do these exporting countries see such an increase in profits, but they can also use the opportunity to lower the unemployment rate, as they will require more workers to accommodate rising global demand.
As its popularity spreads, Nintendo is expanding and creating more jobs across the globe. Despite Nintendo’s classification as a gaming company, expansion means that diverse positions in management, computer science, janitorial services, marketing and more will need to be filled as new regions, branches and stores are opened. And put simply, when more people earn wages, poverty can be reduced.
Nintendo Empowers Women
As Nintendo fights poverty by creating jobs in everything from metal transportation to software engineering, it has also developed a corporate promise to empower women. In 2016, the company set a goal to increase the percentage of women recruited or promoted by 5% throughout the following five years. Female employees have praised Nintendo for its active support on issues ranging from parental leave to paying for courses in professional female empowerment. Women make up approximately 70% of the globally impoverished due to pay gaps, being held primarily responsible for child-rearing and a smaller likelihood of being educated, and Nintendo’s efforts are slowly but surely lowering their global poverty rate.
Poverty in the United States
United States chapters of Nintendo fight poverty by donating annually to charities. These charities include the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue, for which Nintendo holds drives to collect school supplies for low-income families and support chapters in low-income areas, the YWCA Family Village, where it sponsors a Thanksgiving dinner drive, and the Nintendo Annual Golf Tournament, from which proceeds are donated to a different charity every year. It also supports employees’ interests through its dollar-for-dollar gift-matching program to any certified organization of the employee’s choice.
As medical professionals continue to encourage people to stay at home, boredom is bound to ensue, and it may lead to an increase in sales for Nintendo consoles and games. For every product sold, dozens of Nintendo employees benefit; the truck drivers transporting materials, the project manager in Thailand overseeing electrical equipment exports, the factory worker making the consoles, the cleaning crews coming in after dark, and countless more. The interconnectedness of global industry ensures that one purchase can have effects in places customers have never even seen; those who have done nothing over quarantine but play on their Nintendo Switches can rest assured, then, that their impact is much larger than they think.
– Becca Blanke