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Ricoh Announces Start of Forest Ecosystem Conservation Project in Malaysia

Tokyo―June 29, 2011. Ricoh Company, Ltd. (President and CEO: Shiro Kondo) today announced the start of a forest ecosystem conservation project in Malaysia entitled "Mangrove Forest Recovery Project" at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park with BirdLife International Asia Division (Regional Director: Cristi Nozawa, hereinafter "BirdLife"). This nature park is located 60 km north of Kuala Lumpur.

To work toward achieving a sustainable society, Ricoh isn't only working to reduce its impact on the planet, but is also engaged in biodiversity conservation to improve self-recovery capabilities of the global environment. Since 1999 Ricoh has been working in partnership with environmental NGOs and local communities in nine countries, including China, Ghana, Russia, and Brazil, promoting 11 projects particularly focused on forest ecosystems where biodiversity is richest. The "Mangrove Forest Recovery Project" at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park is another of these, making it Ricoh's 12th project in its long-term support for building a framework for continuous forest conservation.

Mangrove is a generic term for vegetation that grows along coastlines where saltwater and freshwater mix, a common ecosystem in Malaysia. These areas have the characteristics of tidelands and they are thick with trees and shrubs. They consequently have high productivity of nutrients carried from upstream by rivers and the ocean. Such a rich environment makes possible the activities of many living things. These areas are therefore abundant in biodiversity. The Kuala Selangor Nature Park, which is a part of the North-central Selangor coast, has been designated by BirdLife as an IBA (Important Bird Area), and is home to 150 species of birds, small animals, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles such as Smooth Otters, Silvered Leaf-monkeys, Long-tailed Macaques, monitor lizards, lesser adjutants, mudskippers, and various waterbirds. The local communities use the area primarily for nature/cultural-based tourism, recreation and fisheries. However, it is difficult to preserve this biodiversity because the mangroves are shrinking annually due to trespassing and illegal lumbering. Nevertheless, it is designated as a nature park.

While sharing the importance of mangroves along with the local residents, this project which Ricoh is implementing aims to rejuvenate the mangrove forests in ten years by starting with activities that focus on promoting and understanding of biodiversity conservation and mangrove afforestation. Ultimately Ricoh would like to construct an environment where continuous mangrove conservation activities are sustained by the local residents, with the goal of registering with the Ramsar Convention*1, which works internationally to preserve wetlands especially as waterfowl habitats, and the Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway*2.

In addition, Ricoh's local sales subsidiary, Ricoh Malaysia, in cooperation with a local parter of BirdLife, Malaysia Nature Society, is planning to the "Mangrove Forest Recovery Project" at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park. Ricoh Malaysia's support will include educational and awareness activities for local communities to raise their awareness and interest on the mangrove habitat and its fauna and flora of the area as well as undertaking mangrove tree planting

Ricoh's concepts and activities regarding biodiversity conservation
Ricoh works actively at ways to reduce environmental impact in line with its policy of sustainable environmental management which balances environmental conservation with profits. At the same time, Ricoh appreciates that business operations are dependent on the earth's ecological blessings, which are the foundation of biodiversity, and not only works to reduce their impact, but also strives to conserve biodiversity in order to maintain and improve environmental resilience. The Forest Ecosystem Conservation Project, which focuses on conservation of biodiversity, and the Environmental Volunteer Leader Development Program, which supports the practice of environmental conservation activities by employees inside and outside the Company, began in 1999.
Ricoh's Forest Ecosystem Conservation Project is not simply afforestation, but is being undertaken to construct a framework for sustainable forest conservation that focuses on improving the habitat for local species and the lives of the local people. Funds for these activities are provided by the Social Contribution Reserve, which Ricoh has established to continuously contribute to society as part of its social responsibility. Provided that approval is gained at the general shareholders' meeting, 1% of Ricoh's annual profit after deducting annual dividends is allocated for the reserve (up to \0.2 billion). The reserved fund is used for addressing multiple global issues, including global environment conservation and youth-related issues. The "Mangrove Forest Recovery Project" at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park gained approval at the general shareholders' meeting held on June 24, 2011.

*1: Ramsar Convention
This is an international treaty enacted in 1971 to protect wetland ecosystems. Each country that has adopted the convention designates wetlands within their borders and has them registered with the Ramsar Secretariat. Plans are then developed and carried out for the appropriate use and conservation of these areas based on designated measures to promote the conservation of wetlands and the plants and animals that inhabit them, especially waterfowl.

*2: Partnership for the East Asian-Australasian Flyway
This is a framework for international coordination and cooperation between major organizations involved in the conservation of migratory birds in the East Asian and Australasian regions. It was established in 2006 by international organizations and NGOs such as the Ramsar Convention Secretariat to construct an international network of important bird habitats and conduct internationally collaborative operations to promote public awareness and conservation activities regarding them.

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Related Subject CSR/Environment