As part of its business activities, NRG Benelux B.V., a Ricoh sales subsidiary, established a business model to produce and supply high-quality recycled copiers at a recycling center (a plant that recycles used copiers). This achieved both a contribution to environmental conservation and a social contribution beyond Benelux borders.
NRG Benelux's social activities based upon clear policies
NRG Benelux actively engages in social contribution activities. Its policies for such activities: 1) should agree with the company's business activities, 2) should encourage the social values of the organization in the areas of environment and education, and 3) they should contribute to positive participation by employees.
This feature article is about social activities beyond Benelux borders. The project was initiated by Afghan employees working at the company's recycling center, who were concerned about their home land.
Hopes of employees coincided with the policies of the company, resulting in a donation of copiers to Afghanistan
Afghan employees, concerned about the worsening social conditions in their country following the collapse of the regime in 2001, proposed that the company do something to help with the reconstruction and future of their country. NRG Benelux held detailed discussions on whether such activities coincided with its policies on social contributions.
They agreed to support the rehabilitation of Afghanistan as part of the company's business activities (sales and service related to copiers including multifunctional products), since promoting the use of recycled copiers would positively affect the global environment and would promote positive participation by employees in socialactivities. They decided to donate 75 recycled copiers as an initial lot to help to improve the difficult educational environment for children. Two hundred copiers have been installed to date. NRG Benelux thought copiers would be useful because they could be used for copying learning materials, much of which had been lost in the war.
They spent 18 months in careful preparation, and project team members conducted a field survey and held a series of face to face discussions to gain the trust of the Afghan government and understand their requirements. Particular attention was paid to selecting recycled copiers that could be used under severe conditions and establishing a maintenance system for the products. Finally in September 2003, the copiers were put into operation at schools in Kabul, thanks to the cooperation and support of many stakeholders (employees, governmental bodies, NGOs, NPOs, etc.).
Significant impact felt in the company
The donation of copiers did not constitute the entire project. NRG Benelux also supported the foundation of a company to maintain the copiers, contributing to the economic independence of the area through the creation of employment opportunities.
The project attracted people's attention as it was widely covered by the media, and the importance of social contributions by companies was widely recognized in the community. Employees at NRG Benelux felt proud of their project, which united the company in a common purpose.
One of NRG Benelux's customers, who appreciated the value of the project, reported on the activity in detail in their company's Christmas issue of their newsletter, impressing upon employees the importance of social contribution.
This one example of several community based projects NRG Benelux is currently involved in to support their CSR policies.