The global community expects companies to operate with due respect for human rights.
Beyond meeting regulatory requirements and social expectations in countries and regions in which we operate, we are strengthening our commitment to human rights by proactively introducing more rigorous international standards such as the United Nations Global Compact and ISO 26000.
Human rights are the basic rights that every individual is entitled to, and the issues related to them are both far-reaching and complex.
Ricoh’s respect for human rights stretches back to our company’s foundation, when “love your neighbor” was set as one of the key components of our corporate philosophy, The Spirit of Three Loves.
Exemplifying the continued application of this tenet are measures we take to ensure there is no child labor or forced labor, not only within our own organization but within our supply chain as well. We mandate the Ricoh Group Supplier Code of Conduct and regularly monitor our suppliers to make certain they are complying with the code through CSR self-assessment reports. Deviations from the code are expected to be corrected immediately.
We have also reinforced our approach to dealing with conflict minerals*—a particularly controversial topic—by launching a cross-organizational working group.
Our respect for human rights also extends to the health, security and safety of our customers. We pursue this objective in various ways, from making products easier to use to promoting “color universal design,” which takes into account the diversity of color vision among the people of the world.
We will continue to strengthen our commitment to human rights, as it is at the core of our social responsibility as a global business.
* “Conflict minerals” are raw materials mined in certain parts of the world under conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, whose trade finances illegal armed groups and sustains conflict. In the United States, under the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, businesses are required to disclose their use of tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold and other materials designated by the Department of State as “conflict minerals” sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or adjoining countries.
Two elements in addressing human rights issues
|Risk avoidance||Corporate value improvement|
|1. Human rights due diligence
2. Recognition of the extent of influence
3. Avoidance of taking part in conspiracy
|1. Protection of consumers
2. Respect for diversity
3. Coexistence with communities
Ricoh Group human rights respect promotion framework
Our respect for human rights prioritizes due consideration for all stakeholders associated with corporate activities and requires that each and every employee who is involved in daily operations has a proper understanding of human rights and a deep awareness of human rights issues. As a second step in promoting this ideal, in August 2013, we brought together a total of 18 managers familiar with personnel and labor affairs from seven divisions where enhanced capabilities will be a priority going forward to participate in the Ricoh Group’s first human rights workshop. Of note, in developing this human rights workshop, we garnered the support of Hideki Wakabayashi, Executive Director of the non-governmental organization Amnesty International Japan.
1. Discover elements of human rights concealed within business processes (using one’s imagination), and identify points to keep in mind.
2. Get participants to think about issues that will instill a greater sense of due diligence into everyday business processes in each division, and promote activities toward this end throughout the respective division.
Comments from participants (excerpts)
・I thought my team had done enough, but when I heard the other teams’ presentations, I realized we fell short in some areas.
・With several divisions participating, we gained different perspectives for discussion and covered a lot of processes.
・I came away with a concrete understanding about all sorts of information on human rights. This was far more useful than a typical lecture.
Human rights education workshop
Workshops are an effective learning tool for discovering new perceptions
The purpose of human rights education is to draw out latent ability within employees, help them acquire knowledge they might not necessarily get through daily work activities, as well as judgment skills and a deeper sense of morality, and finally, elicit an awareness of human rights so that they are able to apply it to corporate activities that do indeed respect human rights.
However, listening to lectures and seminar presentations is a one-way process, and does not leave much of a lasting impression. The way to achieve results is by augmenting the human rights e-learning offered to date with workshops, which go a step further. The retention rate is extremely high when people are engaged because the practical activities reinforce whatever has been said.
This time around, the discussions about what kind of stakeholders exist on the corporate value chain and what kind of human rights issues are found there—this must certainly have fostered new perceptions about human rights. I look forward to seeing a wider group of people involved in the workshops, and human rights due diligence becoming more firmly entrenched within the Ricoh Group.
* Amnesty International Japan is the Japanese branch of the world’s biggest international non-governmental organization for human rights, London-based Amnesty International Limited, which tackles human rights issues around the world through a network of more than three million supporters in more than 150 countries and territories. (Amnesty International won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.)