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Ricoh Ramps Up SDGs Commitment on World Environment Day

By Kousuke Ito

The Ricoh Group announced plans to expand its annual month-long push for environmental sustainability and social awareness and action. Ricoh Global Eco Action has been renamed Ricoh Global SDGs Action, a nod to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that help guide Ricoh’s approach to helping build a sustainable society.

With Ricoh Global SDGs Action, the company aims to accelerate its contributions toward achieving the SDGs through actions as promoting a zero-carbon society by contributing to counter measures for global warming. Ricoh also addresses a broader range of social issues. The company aims to leverage its global reach and decades-long commitment to sustainability to drive change.

The month of action kicks off on today, World Environment Day, with an SDGs Action Month Symposium at Ricoh headquarters in Japan. The symposium invites speakers who have successfully implemented social and environmental initiatives to discuss strategies, tactics and potential hurdles to be overcome.

Ricoh employees exemplify the company’s commitment to the SDGs

Also, on June 5 every year, all members of the Ricoh Group worldwide are encouraged to think about and take sustainability actions, wear green to show their commitment, and share eco-mindfulness with a larger audience. Additionally, Ricoh turns off all their billboards and signage — except for the solar- and wind-powered ones — for the day.

At the Ricoh offices in Asia, Europe, U.S. and Japan, corporate events are held to increase environmental and social sustainability awareness and to encourage action by individual and group employees.

During June, employees can undertake personal challenges based on the United Nations’ SDGs, such as recycling more paper or volunteering to a social cause. Employees can track their progress in a Ricoh-provided pledge manager.

Groups can also pick a sustainability-minded theme, then work together to plan and implement activities around that theme, such as volunteering to clean-up a park or donating supplies to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Employees are also encouraged to share their SDG activities on social media, to set a strong example and to remind others of the importance of taking action on behalf of sustainability.

Social sustainability is also important to Ricoh

As part of its commitment to address broader social issues, Ricoh supports several organizations leveraging employees’ engagement and participation.  More than a fundraising program, the United Way annual campaign, which has raised more than $1 million annually over the past seven years, gives employees the opportunity to volunteer and give back to their communities.

Another example is the RICOH Run for Heroes in support of veterans.  This initiative is a "virtual" and physical run that creates awareness and raises funds for military veterans. Each year Ricoh selects organizations that provide direct support to service members and their families. This year, the event will benefit the Fisher House Foundation, a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment

Logging progress for SDG actions will help teams fine-tune their approach in future years, and particularly successful groups and individuals can win awards.

Getting involved at every level

For more than a decade, Ricoh has set aside June to put a stronger emphasis on its year-round commitment to environmental and social sustainability. This effort’s expansion to become Ricoh Global SDGs Action represents a closer alignment to U.N. goals. It also represents an initiative to get everyone in Ricoh’s global workforce, from the top down and the bottom up, involved in sustainability activities.

This new approach drives home the message that humanity only has the one planet to share, and everyone is in this – the fight for the environment and social issues – together. Furthermore, it takes concrete action to make change and encourages others to do so, too.

Kousuke Ito serves as Director of Environmental Sustainability and Product Compliance for Ricoh in the Americas. In this role, Ito is responsible for designing and executing Ricoh’s environmental and green marketing strategies along with overseeing environmental, health and safety (EHS) compliance for Ricoh’s products and services in the U.S. and Canada.

Read more stories by Kousuke Ito