Monday 2 June 2014, by Lauramas, martallavari, Sandra Conesa

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A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

Why did we choose this company?

We have chosen Ricoh because it is a multinational company known for its commitment to the environment. The inspiration came as a result of a question: can a multinational company stay consistent with its values along all branch offices and be both profitable and ethical? In a sense, we want to see if it is feasible to have a certain philosophy in the global headquarters and apply it also to the daily life in all branch offices.

The CSR general model that Ricoh follows is based on 3 pillars: people, planet, and profit. These pillars are translated into 2 main activities: those that respond to their fundamental obligation to society (people and planet) and those value-creating activities that have synergy with their growth strategy (profit).

We believe this is a very challenging CSR model. The equilibrium between environment, society and people is difficult to obtain. We want to see whether Ricoh is able to do so, but only in the environmental part of its products. Further studies can be done related to people and profits, but we think it is out of the scope of this project.

The main facts about the activities of the company

Ricoh’s core business is the production of printing facilities in a “user-friendliness and energy conservation” mode. However, during the past years, it has also started in the business of technology and business consulting. The aim of this combination is to set people and information closer so that Ricoh’s clients increase their productivity and performance when working. New business lines aimed at the efficient management of documents have been created in order to meet Ricoh’s objective.

What’s more, the company believes understanding how to use its products is crucial for its clients. The easier your products, the more people will use them. This statement applies also to their energy-conservation mode. All their products have a low-energy mode and whenever they are in a sleeping mode, their energy consumption is minimum. Ricoh does not get money directly out from this energy saving mode, but it fulfills its value: respect for the environment.

The implementation of its values starts with the process of each project the clients want to implement with Ricoh. Each project starts with an analysis of the total costs for the client and the total impact for the environment. That is, consultants study the total amount of organic carbon and CO2 the installation will produce. Once the analysis has been conducted and the conclusions have been drawn, the project is designed according to the possible improvement areas. All in all, every new business line and product with Ricoh’s name on it, respects the environment.

What Ricoh tries to do, and we believe it is closer to its fulfillment, is to be respectful for the environment, society and its economic growth in every product it offers.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

Ricoh’s commitment to sustainability is a part of their heritage, which affects the whole structure of its business, from manufacturing to distribution, business centers to recycling.

The Ricoh Group deploys sustainable environmental management practices that help to preserve planet’s ecology while simultaneously improving its profitability. It is focused on developing energy-efficient products, reducing costs and minimizing its own environmental footprint though economical use of resources.

We will focus in its business activities, even though the company’s philosophy is implemented throughout all services and products too.

1. Pollution prevention

Ricoh Group is trying to reduce the amount of chemical substances used/discharged. In order to do so, it has established a system to manage the risks of chemical substances by applying a risk evaluation method.

Moreover, the Group has a global system to manage environmental risks and to control soil and underground water contamination.

2. Resource Conservation / Recycling

Ricoh is trying to maximize the productivity of its resources by limiting the generation of discharged matter and reducing water consumption. Measures have been implemented to reduce resource waste and cost, focusing on the production of polymerized toners and associated with the thermal media business.

3. Energy Conservation / Prevention of Global Warming

Ricoh tries to reduce greenhouse gases generated in its global business activities at all stages of the product lifecycle and reducing as well as limiting CO2 emissions. Ricoh Group companies are working on effective global warning prevention. They’re implementing some measures like innovation in production processes, introduction of highly efficient equipment, innovation in logistics and transportation, energy conservation in their offices and finally environmental impact reduction activities carried out with their clients.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

Since 1976, Ricoh has worked to develop environmental conservation activities. All its efforts led the company to pioneer the concept of “sustainable environmental management” in 1998. However, its vision about this concept goes beyond just balancing activities that generate profit with green practices. Ricoh integrates continuous efforts in conserving the environment into its business model. This means, the company recognizes the importance of developing solid and on-going activities to meet a long-term objective that ensures an effective environmental performance. What Ricoh points out is that, in order to gain real benefits from these conservation activities, the company has to be committed and conduct them not only during prosperous times and not omitting them to seek profits when bad times.

Therefore, Ricoh accepted from its beginning the need to act in order to meet the world’s social and environmental changes. In its own words: “for large changes in particular, it is too late to respond to them after they become clear”. That has allowed it to anticipate from others and develop innovative technologies and services that meet the changing needs of its customers and the environment. It has adapted its “Imagine and Solution” business because it wants to exceed the expectations of its stakeholders and achieve more robust growth with a sustainable approach to business.

This inspiring vision of running businesses becomes real with the activities of each subsidiary of Ricoh Group. Initiatives like “Ricoh Global Eco Action” make us believe that the company is making real efforts on conducting and strengthening its “Ricoh way” of doing business. The former action started in 2006 and consists in several activities that are carried out every June and aimed to make “all members of Ricoh Group around the world think about the global environment, take eco actions, and improve their eco awareness”. This year, the idea is that a wide range of stakeholders, from employees, family members, local communities, to business partners, will participate in environment-related initiatives to share and promote awareness of environmental issues and encourage cooperation among all for a more sustainable future. There are planned common global activities for all Ricoh subsidiaries:

• Turning off the lights in Ricoh advertising towers and signboards on June 5
(excluding natural energy powered billboards).
• Creating dedicated Facebook* and blog pages to share activity reports globally.
• Individual Ricoh employees making a pledge for eco-action (ECO Declaration).

As well as each company of the Ricoh Group prepare local activities encompassed in:

• Hosting events in collaboration with government and business organizations.
• Participating in environmental events held by local communities.
For instance, Ricoh Spain will participate in the 4th Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility in Catalunya (12th June)
• Encouraging customers to select the energy-saving mode setting on MFPs and printers.

It is not an isolated action. Ricoh subsidiaries around the world carry out many similar initiatives. They can be consulted in the Ricoh Sustainability Report.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

To conserve the global environment and achieve a sustainable society, it is necessary to limit environmental impact to a level within the Earth’s self-recovery capabilities. Global environmental conservation is a challenge for which there is no second chance, so the Ricoh Group has set the mid- to long-term goals of reducing total lifecycle CO2 emissions (reduction by 30% by 2020 and 87.5% by 2050 from the fiscal year 2000 level). However, the CO2 emissions depend on how Ricoh’s business operates but also on the use Ricoh’s consumers’ make out of Ricoh’s products.

On the other hand, Ricoh’s image can be damaged due to the lay out they conducted last fiscal year. If their CSR model relies on three pillars, one of which is not fulfilled, people can believe the others are also not fulfilled. We believe there is a big misalignment here because Ricoh is giving reasons not to believe it is consistent with its policy. This challenge can be due to the organization of the company. In a sense, being a multinational company can lead to the disappearance of the values. Maybe, if the company was a mission-controlled company, the goal would be the only driver of its activities and no possible inconsistent thoughts would arise. If this were the case, the three pillars should be established as three goals and maybe it would be easier for the company to stay stick to its core values.


-  Ricoh Group CSR Charter. CSR Charter_t_57-2539.pdf

-  Ricoh Sustainability Report 2013. Creating Value.

-  Ricoh Europe Sustainability Report 2013.

-  Strategy -Essential Issues for Sustainable Environmental Management
(Issues of Materiality)

-  Identification of risks and opportunities.

-  The Ricoh Group’s 17th Environmental Action Plan (FY 2011-2013).

-  Ricoh Global. Information available at:

-  Ricoh España. Information available at:

Location: Tokyo (Japan)

Sector: Manufacturing

Official website:

Key figures:

-  Area of Influence: Worldwide
-  Products: Office Equipment / Production Printing, Software, Digital Cameras, Industrial products
-  Revenue: US$ 21.5 billion
-  Net Income: US$ 298 million
-  Employees: 107,431
-  Commendations and Awards:
2014: Included in the global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World for ten consecutive years.
2013: Selected as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute (U.S.) for the fifth year in a row.
2009: Ricoh Europe received the “Ruban d’Honneur” in the 2009 European Business Awards for “Corporate Sustainability”, recognizing the impact of our activities within the workplace, the market, the environment and the community.
2005: Ranked No.1 in the Computers, Peripherals and Office Electronics category for corporate social responsibility for 2004/2005 by Oekom Research AG of Germany.
2002: Ranked 1st in the world for corporate responsibility rating by Oekom Research AG of Germany.
2002: Grand Prize in the 10th Corporate Contribution to the Society Survey held by the Asahi Shimbun Cultural Foundation.

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