Pollution Prevention

We are exposed to a wide variety of chemical substances on an daily basis. The various impacts of these substances on human health and the environment have not all been identified yet. To minimize chemical substance-related risks, we at the Ricoh Group identify and manage chemical substances contained in our products following the SAICM* approach, and thereby offer products with minimal adverse impact on the environment and human health.

  • *Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM): a policy framework to promote the sound management of chemicals adopted in February 2006 by the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) and endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Management of environmentally sensitive substances contained in our products

We operate a system to reduce and strictly manage environmentally sensitive substances contained in our products in all manufacturing processes, including those conducted by suppliers. We also work to minimize emissions of ozone, dust, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the use of our products and ensure the safety of supplies to be used with the products.

Operation of the Ricoh Group's chemical substance management system since 2006

Ricoh set original standards for environmentally sensitive substances that could be used in its products in 1993 as an indication of its determination to reduce these substances. Since then, all the divisions engaged in production have worked together to improve the chemical substance control system. By the end of March 2006, a chemical substance management system (CMS) for suppliers was created on a global basis. At the same time, the CMS within the Ricoh Group was strengthened, completing the management system for chemical substances (MSC) contained in products within and outside of Japan in July 2006.
As part of its risk management efforts, Ricoh has expanded the list of chemical substances controlled by the Group since 2008. We also then started to operate a quantity control system that keeps track of which chemical substances controlled by Ricoh are contained in which part of our equipment and in what quantities. With this quantity control system in place, we are now well-positioned to take prompt action in the event of permission to use currently approved chemical substances being withdrawn due to regulatory change.

Substance groups whose use for equipment is controlled by the Ricoh Group
Substance groups whose use for equipment is controlled by the Ricoh Group

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Systematic global efforts to comply with the REACH Regulation

Under the REACH Regulation1, a European regulatory framework on chemical substances, producers and importers of substances, preparations and articles produced in, or imported into, the EU are required to register and give notice of all chemical substances included in their products whose quantity is above certain threshold levels. Producers and importers are also required to fulfill their duties to communicate information to customers and general consumers on designated substances contained in products2. It is anticipated that the number of chemical substances subject to this regulation will eventually exceed 1,500.
The Ricoh Group established the REACH Compliance Working Group with 180 attendees from the production division (including the general sales division) in February 2008 to solidify Ricoh's REACH compliance system. The core mission of the working group is to develop a system that will allow us to collect and manage chemical substance information accurately and efficiently from partners both upstream and downstream in the supply chain, and to provide the information to customers upon their request.

Framework for chemical substance control (MSC and CMS)
Framework for chemical substance control (MSC and CMS)

In 2008, we also developed a database and formulated common rules for the communication of chemical substance information based on a related system developed by the Joint Article Management Promotion-consortium (JAMP), of which Ricoh is one of the founders. This system has been introduced at some 1,200 suppliers in Japan, China, and Korea. In 2009, we started employee training programs to ensure the accuracy of information collected, and prepared and distributed written instructions on appropriate handing of the information of applicable chemicals. From October 2009, the information on SVHC in products for the European market has been made available on our website3. The Ricoh Group is fully able to comply with the REACH requirements and is ready to respond promptly to future development of the regulations.

  • *1This is a new EU regulatory framework for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). It requires the registration and management of all chemical substances used in businesses in accordance with their conditions of use to ensure safe assessment of chemical substances. It came into force on June 1, 2007, and the regulations have been gradually enforced since June 1, 2008.
  • *2Called "Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC)," these are substances on the European Chemicals Agency's candidate list for eventual inclusion in Annex XIV.
  • *3On the Health & Safety Information page of Ricoh Europe's website, see REACH FAQs, Q3 "SVHC—Machines"

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Chemical substance control and pollution prevention at our manufacturing sites

Efforts are being made on a global scale to reduce the amount of chemical substances used/discharged in the manufacturing processes and to prevent pollution in the areas surrounding our manufacturing sites, based upon the idea of risk management.

Risk minimization and information sharing as part of chemical substance control at our manufacturing sites

In compliance with the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the Ricoh Group has established a system to manage the risks of chemical substances by applying a risk evaluation method, aiming to minimize the risk throughout the lifecycle of chemicals and to share related information.
Under this risk management system, all the chemical substances used, discharged and disposed of in the manufacturing processes of Ricoh products are assessed in two steps: (1) screening in terms of discharged amounts, according to the hazard* level scale; (2) for substances evaluated as above a specified level, exposure assessments are conducted. Based on the results obtained, we assess the risks of hazardous substances that may affect the health of local residents as well as water-borne creatures living in the surrounding areas. Enhancing this risk assessment scheme, we are working to establish a global system to reduce risks related to chemical substances.
In addition, the Group has a system in place to manage environmental risks. To control soil and underground water contamination, we have formulated basic principles, provided in the group management standards and other guidelines. In case of contamination, we voluntarily conduct an investigation using the group's uniform standards and promptly take steps for remediation.
Regarding soil and underground water contamination, PCBs, and asbestos, the Group started to make efforts to understand environmental liabilities that could have a financial impact.

  • *Harmfulness to human beings and the environment

Accurate and swift information disclosure through chemical substance control system

The Ricoh Group uses its chemical substance control system to monitor data on chemical substances used, discharged, and disposed of at business sites. The system is designed to promote the reduced use of chemical substances, to prepare materials for PRTR reporting, and to quickly respond to inquiries received from around the world.

Chemical substance control system
Chemical substance control system

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