In addition to Resolution of social issues through business activities（Creating Shared Value：CSV）, we are also committed to carrying out socially beneficial activities in a steady, responsible manner, both within and outside of our business functions. These activities include initiatives the Group and its employees lead as well as support given to nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations.
The Ichimura Nature School Kanto gives children a chance to “learn how to live from Mother Nature” in an agricultural community. The program runs for nine months, or one entire agricultural season from planting in March to harvesting in November.
Every other week Friday after school, 28 boys and 28 girls come to the Nature School and work the fields until Sunday afternoon, growing some 40 different kinds of vegetables. In this way, they learn how to “develop yourself by thinking together, using each other’s ideas, and doing field work together with the blessing of nature.”
Since the school opened in 2002, it has earned a stellar reputation for activities sustained over the course of years. In 2012, the school’s efforts were recognized by the Japan Philanthropic Association with an award—the 10th Corporate Philanthropic Award—and in 2013, the school was honored with the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award in the newly established category that recognizes companies promoting hands-on activities for youth.
We also support activities of Daichi no Kai (the Earth Club), a group voluntarily established by alumni of the program, particularly in organizing major activities, such as general meetings, summer camps, and alumni farms. We will continue to support the development of students, including graduates of the school, as they take their place in society.
When it came to Ricoh’s attention that children were losing interest in science, a program—Ricoh Science Caravan—was launched to provide opportunities for children in Japan to develop a love for science. The caravan travels to educational facilities, mainly science halls and schools throughout Japan, engaging children in science experiments.
The program touches on topics that are easy for elementary school children to understand, such as the basic principles of copiers using static electricity and structure of digital cameras, and the presenters are volunteers from local Ricoh Group companies nationwide. This showcases the Ricoh Group’s unique efforts to contribute to society.
Since its launch, the program has been enjoyed by numerous children, providing opportunities to experience the mysteries and joys of science.
The Ricoh Group has been engaged in activities to conserve a forest in Ena, a city in the southeast part of Gifu Prefecture. The forest is located on the premises of a plant operated by Ricoh Elemex Corporation, a manufacturing subsidiary of the Ricoh Group. Ricoh Elemex purchased the vast tract of land in 1963 to build its manufacturing plant. In addition to the site used for the manufacturing facilities, the acquired property includes a huge undeveloped area encompassing more than 40 hectares. The Ricoh Group started its forest conservation activities on this site in 2010 to mark the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10) held in Nagoya, Japan. The activities reflect our gratitude to the local community for its support of our manufacturing facility over the past almost 50 years as well as our commitment to maintaining harmonious relationships with our neighbors. Aiming to achieve a millennium forest that will sustain long into the future, we have launched the Ena Forest, Nakasendo Satoyama Conference, which consists of representatives of local residents, local businesses, and nonprofits as well as representatives of Ricoh Group companies. Through this project, we are working to contribute to global environmental conservation, raising the next generation, and community development.
All sorts of creatures exist in places all over the world, from forests to lakes and marshes and further to coral reefs and oceans, and each of these places exhibits a unique ecosystem. The destruction of these ecosystems could spell the end of the natural environment that is indispensable for sustaining human life, as well. Forest ecosystems, which present particularly rich biodiversity, are of special interest to Ricoh, and the Company has been promoting forest ecosystem conservation projects in five countries and six regions since 1999 in partnership with environmental NGOs and local communities.
Unlike simple afforestation, the primary objectives of these activities are to protect the habitats of indigenous species and the life of residents and to establish a system for sustainable forestry management.
For a company to effectively utilize its resources to address social challenges, enhanced social awareness of its employees is essential. With this view, we offer a spectrum of opportunities to help individual employees raise their awareness and sensitivity toward social issues, and encourage them to take action in some form by participating in volunteer activities or making efforts within their business engagements.
FreeWill is an employee-led endeavor launched in 1999 that seeks to turn individual donations into a sizable fund for social contribution activities underpinned by greater participation and sustained involvement in the movement. Currently, employees of a total of 10 group companies including Ricoh are voluntarily participating in activities as FreeWill members.
Employees who belong to FreeWill donate a portion of their salary and bonus, with the collected funds going to nonprofit and other organizations that promote solutions to social problems and employees’ social contribution activities. The club invites suggestions from members, based on which the delegate members discuss which organizations and activities to support.
The donations made by employees are matched by contributions from the 10 member companies (Ricoh, Ricoh Japan, Ricoh Logistics System, Ricoh IT Solutions, Ricoh Leasing, Ricoh Creative Service, Ricoh Industry, Ricoh Technologies, Ricoh Electronic Devices, Ricoh Industrial Solutions).
FreeWill also organizes member activities. Among major programs are: a cherry tree planting activity along the tsunami water line in Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture, which was devastated by the catastrophic tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake; and the Picture Book Project, in which members send Japanese picture books to children in India and Bangladesh after attaching stickers of the text translated into local languages. These activities provide many members with opportunities to become involved in social contribution.
In 2006, the Ricoh Group designated one day in June as "Ricoh Global Eco Action" day, during which Group employees around the world think about and take action on behalf of the global environment. On this day every year, we hold a variety of environmental events, including biodiversity conservation activities and energy-saving campaigns.
This year, in London, employees of Ricoh Europe helped restore and improve parks in their community, tending to gardens and installing bird boxes.
In 2012, a database was created to record social activities, including Global Eco Action. Since then, Group members have been able to find out about activities occurring in other parts of the world through the database and share their knowledge.