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.
A vegetation survey conducted in cooperation with C.W. Nicol Afan Woodland Trust in the fall of 2010 revealed that the forest near the Ena Plant is home to a wide variety of hygrophyte plant species, including endangered ones, and has developed a unique ecosystem thanks to the lack of human interference over a very long period. Ricoh Elemex employees interested in conservation and like-minded others started forest conservation activities in 2011. Later, in April 2014, aiming to utilize the precious forest resources together with the local community, we 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. The organization has since been leading the efforts by local volunteers and Ricoh Group employees to conserve the forest and its rare species as well as conducting tree thinning for forest management and other efforts. As a thank you, participants in each volunteer activity event receive a gift certificate that can be used in shops operated by the Ena Tanpopo Social Welfare Organization, including a bakery, produce store, and local specialty store. As the forest is open to the local community, children also visit the forest to take part in educational programs where they learn about and connect with nature, while adults can be found enjoying relaxing walks through the woods.
Through these activities, the Ricoh Group will continue to make positive contributions not only to environmental conservation but also to the development of the next generation and the invigoration and development of local communities.