Minimizing the adverse effects of chemical substances is the subject of an international agreement, and the Ricoh Group has established basic regulations for managing chemical substances based on this agreement. We aim to minimize the risks of chemical substances used in our business activities and products to people’s health and the environment, and thus are managing the substances to ensure safety for the Group and people involved as well as for the environment.
To prevent contamination by chemical substances used during manufacturing processes, the Ricoh Group takes measure to prohibit the use of harmful chemical substances at the pre-use, planning stage. We also share information on the amount of chemical substances used and emitted to the environment at the product use stage toward reducing the amount.
In addition, we are working to minimize the risk of soil contamination potentially caused by our business activities in the past, while implementing environmental risk assessments for chemical substances when we buy and sell land and property to ensure that necessary management and environmental impact reduction activities are properly performed.
The Ricoh Group is building a system for manufacturing processes in which impacts on people’s health and the environment are correctly learned and managed with a view to ensuring the following perspectives.
① Laws and regulations are complied with.
② Safety, use and emissions are managed for chemical substances that are used and emitted into the environment.
③ Measures to minimize the adverse effects of chemical substances and preventive measures to avoid their impacts are taken.
④ Technologies for reduction of environmental impacts are developed and used to contribute to a society capable of sustainable growth.
⑤ Activities to improve the quality, costs and productivity of product manufacturing are planned, taking into consideration human health and environmental safety aspects and taking necessary measures.
⑥ Communication with society is performed properly, and cooperative relationships and trust are established.
⑦ Each employee in the Group strives to continuously improve his/her own abilities and gain knowledge about chemical substances and to share information on chemical substance management necessary in other relevant processes.
Taking into account the movement toward international cooperation on the management of chemical substances associated with environmental conservation, the Group has designated chemical substances that are often used by it, including those subject to Japan’s PRTR Law, as environmentally sensitive substances. Since 1999, we have been managing the substances used in manufacturing, research and development processes accordingly.
With regard to asbestos used at Ricoh’s business sites and facilities, we survey the contents of materials (levels 1 to 3). More detailed surveys are conducted on level 1 to 3 materials at all sites in Japan. We take measures to prevent dispersal and confirm that the substance is at a level where it will not have adverse effects on the health of local residents, Ricoh employees and others. We will continue our systematic efforts for improvement and for removal of asbestos.
We inspect products that we own containing PCBs and manage them in accordance with laws and regulations. Some electronic devices such as capacitors and fluorescent lamp ballasts that contain PCBs are stored at our plants. They are placed in sealed containers to prevent leakage and regularly inspected for proper storage. The Ricoh Group started processing high-concentration PCB waste in fiscal 2008 and low-concentration PCB waste in fiscal 2012. We will continue this processing sequentially.
The Ricoh Group addresses the issue of soil and underground water contamination from the three viewpoints of social responsibility, environmental risks, and financial risks. With this recognition, the Group established the Standards for the Management of Risks Related to Soil and Underground Water Contamination and has been working in conformity with basic policies set under the standards.
① Top priority is given to preventing health hazards.
② Laws, regulations, and ordinances set by national and local governments shall be observed.
③ Efforts will be made to assess, manage and reduce risks of contamination caused by the Ricoh Group's business activities.
④ Efforts will be made to establish risk communication with local governments and residents.
⑤ Soil is checked for contamination when land is purchased/transferred or rented/returned.
We started voluntary activities on soil and groundwater contamination in the early 1990s and have been conducting research and improvement measures at all sites on a global scale, including the Ricoh Group’s non-production sites as well as the production sites.
We have created risk management scenarios and taken voluntary measures to reduce the risks to national standard levels.
When the Ricoh Group (consolidated companies) engages in the buying, selling or leasing of real estate, we implement the management of environmental risks, such as soil contamination, PCBs, asbestos and other elements, stipulated in environmental regulatory requirements. We have set our own Environmental Risk Assessment Standards concerning Buying, Selling and Leasing of Land and Buildings to minimize the impact on our businesses.
Our environmental risk management conducted under this standard follows three key principles: (1) to assess significant environmental risks and the related health risks when acquiring, selling and/or leasing property, including cases involved in M&A; (2) to develop plans to manage and reduce the assessed risks and implement appropriate measures according to the plan; (3) to provide relevant parties with important information on the identified environmental/health risks at the time of acquiring, selling and/or signing a lease contract for property. The division in charge and the Environment Division will discuss the matter before deciding whether to finalize the property transaction under negotiation.
We have established a chemical substance control system that covers the entire product manufacturing supply chain. Under the system, we reduce and manage the use of chemical substances that may affect the environment and human health. Applying these management measures, we pursue manufacturing processes that meet not only laws and regulations set by national governments around the world but also our own more stringent standards, including those for environmental labeling.
Since 1993, Ricoh has been managing and cutting back “environmentally sensitive substances that may be used in products” based on the risk management concept. Chemical substances subject to management and reduction are reviewed from time to time, incorporating the latest regulatory trends and scientific knowledge.
Many of the parts used in Ricoh products are manufactured and supplied by our suppliers. The raw materials of these parts are also procured by the suppliers. In order to carry out management and reduction of the environmentally sensitive substances contained in products under these circumstances, we have built a management system that involves not only members of the Ricoh Group but also our suppliers as one unit. The system allows for the accurate collection and delivery of a vast amount of information on environmental issues.
Toner, developer agents and other supplies contain a variety of chemical substances
Based on the view that product safety is a basic condition for customer satisfaction, the Ricoh Group has established strict internal standards that can meet laws and regulations around the world. We work to ensure the safety of supplies through appropriate chemical substance management. To ensure customers’ trust in the safety of our supplies, we publish information on their safety as Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
To ensure that customers can use the products comfortably, the Ricoh Group established its own standards on chemical emissions generated by products while in use*. We ensure that all products comply with the standards.
* 1 Chemicals emitted from products include ozone, dust and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).