25 Apr How to lead with your ESG commitment
Ricoh’s ESG commitment is not just a part of our history; it’s an integral part of our DNA. When our founder Kiyoshi Ichimura created the company that’s now Ricoh in 1936, he did it with three principles in mind: Love your neighbour. Love your country. Love your work.
Today, we’re grateful that Mr Ichimura was a visionary ahead of his time. The values and ESG commitments on which he built Ricoh are more pertinent than ever.
We like to believe that we’re continuing his legacy. Everything we do is with the belief that our ESG values should be default, sincere tenets permeating every area of business. Ethics can’t be performative or linked solely with environmental days. Rather, they should be year-round, and tangible in all we do.
An organisation’s ESG commitment is relevant to, and underlies, every stakeholder group and business area. It’s important for businesses to recognise the spotlight they’re under. Customers, employees, and other stakeholders are more tuned-in to “green-washing” and “clout-chasing” than ever before. Therefore, your ESG values need to be sincere and demonstrable.
This is the first in a series of articles outlining our commitment to ESG. If you’re interested in partnering or working with us, here’s a chance to understand our values. I’ve written about this subject before and will continue engaging in this conversation.
Our ESG commitment
Our ESG strategy is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) laid out by the United Nations in 2015. They address key social and environmental issues.
A commitment to these goals, and a rejection of apathy and stagnation, are vital. Our research suggests that 1 in 4 business leaders believe their organisation can’t make improvements to reduce their environmental impact. Further, 60% of decision makers agreeing there are no incentives for C-suite executives to help mitigate environmental impacts.
A strong ESG commitment is not only our collective moral imperative and responsibility. It also makes strong business sense. Akira Oyama, Ricoh President and CEO, had this to say:
“We are promoting our activities in recognition of the fact that businesses that do not respond to SDGs will be eliminated from the market. At the same time, we view ESG initiatives as ‘future finance’ that will ring fence us against potential risks and capture future opportunities for our businesses.”
Our global mission is to help people find fulfilment through work. This feeling is gained from achievement and self-development. If we enable people to work smarter, we can unleash their potential and creativity to realise a sustainable future. This applies to our own employees as well as our customers’ workforce.
In my role as executive sponsor for inclusion, I have made a personal commitment to make Ricoh UK a diverse and fully inclusive workplace. One where everyone can be themselves and excel. We have active affinity and employee support groups relating to LGBTQ+, gender, ethnicity and disability. To champion inclusive behaviours across all levels of our organisation, we developed the Living the Ricoh Way programme, and I’m proud to say that the initiative was shortlisted in the 2023 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Tech Awards.
We’re investing in our people’s development to ensure that they have the right skills for the future. At the same time, we recognise that work can be both rewarding and challenging, and I’m very proud that our comprehensive wellbeing strategy is based on a holistic view of what wellbeing means to different people.
Our approach to sustainability touches every part of our organisation. From manufacturing to distribution, business sites to recycling, and how we work and consult with our customers.
Ricoh’s commitment to the environment is based on socially responsible supply chain management. This includes a best-practice approach to carbon reductions and a circular economy. We are aiming for Net Zero, and have set a 100% renewable energy target for 2050. We have also committed to reducing 63% of all direct greenhouse gas emissions from our manufacturing sites, offices, and vehicles by 2030.
There are many examples of programmes and innovations that will help us achieve these goals. One of them is Ricoh Comet Circle – our blueprint for creating a truly circular business. We’re very proud that our global efforts have been recognised in numerous sustainability awards. I’m looking forward to going through these initiatives in more detail as part of this series.
In February 2023, Ricoh donated twelve million Japanese yen to support global humanitarian relief. This was in addition to volunteering and donations of goods. Ricoh UK plays an important part in this global effort.
Every Ricoh UK employee has an opportunity to spend 2 days every year volunteering and supporting local causes close to their hearts. 186 unique volunteers took this opportunity in the 2022 financial year alone, supporting 41 events nationwide to give back to their communities.
We have a long standing partnership with the Prince’s Trust, which I’m personally very passionate about. Over the past 8 years, our employees have dedicated their time to mentoring and upskilling young vulnerable people to help them find employment. 15 of them have been employed by Ricoh.
Through our Social Mobility Pledge, we reach out to schools and other educational facilities to provide coaching, mentoring and career advice to disadvantaged communities.
ESG is an ever-changing landscape, with new targets, directives, and data coming out all the time. Whilst it is crucial for organisations to have clear targets and metrics broken down by business activity and function. It’s also important to be agile in their approach. For example, we recently revised our greenhouse gas reduction targets from 30% by 2030 to 63%, because we were well on track to surpass our initial goals.
These steps couldn’t be taken without involving our people. Our research suggests that two thirds of European employees expect their employers to be part of the solution for issues such as climate change and inequality. Over a quarter said they would be willing to take a 10% pay cut to work for an employer committed to helping solve societal issues. We’re proud to be empowering our people globally to be ESG advocates. In FY2023 Ricoh UK will form our first ESG Taskforce — a forum of experts within our business with a mission to reduce our carbon footprint, promote and deliver social value, and ensure strong governance of our supply chain. Members will meet on a regular basis to discuss our targets, progress and opportunities to shape the way that we operate and grow as a responsible business.
We evaluate performance not just on financial metrics, but on how we respond and act in response to the greater societal and environmental challenges we all face. Though ESG goals are always evolving, it’s important to remain committed, agile, and motivated.