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The Planet Earth we all inhabit is imperiled by the environmental stresses of human activities. Most people are familiar with news about climate change linked to global warming and shrinking forests, as well as such abnormal phenomena as catastrophic floods, poor harvests, and frequent forest fires in different parts of the world. The deteriorating global environment has put many living species at risk of extinction, and it is said that as many as 40,000 species disappear each year. Yet some people do not think that the loss of living species will have a profound impact on human activities. This view is mistaken, we believe. Potable water, food, clothing, medicine, and many other daily necessities are made of natural materials. The earth’s natural environment has evolved over a long period of time into a complex food web of plants, animals, and microorganisms. Human beings are dependent on the ecological blessings of nature.
The Ricoh Group seeks to contain the environmental impact of human society within the earth’s self-recovery capabilities. At present, however, human environmental impact far exceeds the self-recovery capabilities of the global environment, making it essential to reduce environmental impact in every conceivable way as soon as possible. Accordingly, our production division pursues energy and resource conservation through recycling, and our non-production division also implements highly effective measures to reduce environmental impact in such areas as air conditioning, lighting, and waste disposal. Our pressing goal is to help build a sustainable society through such efforts to lessen environmental impact. The Ricoh Group also believes that limiting environmental impact within the earth’s self-recovery capabilities requires not only proactive intervention but also impact reduction by improving the earth’s self-recovery capabilities. In other words, it is necessary to change this “seesaw” balance by lightening impact and leveraging capacity.
Maintaining the environmental impact within the range of the earth’s self-recovery capabilities
Biodiversity conservation activities are vital to the recovery and improvement of the earth's self-recovery capabilities. The Ricoh Group places a priority on the particularly rich biodiversity of the forest ecosystems of our planet, promoting Forest Ecosystem Conservation Projects in different parts of the world since fiscal 1999. Unlike simple afforestation, these projects aim to build a sustainable forest management framework, working from a long-term perspective based on conserving of the habitats of indigenous species and the lives of local residents. In addition, the Ricoh Group promotes employees’ volunteer work in seeking to improve the earth’s self-recovery capabilities.
At the start of the Philippines project, which came to a successful close in 2009, a destructive cycle of logging native forests was dramatically decreasing the number of forests. This in turn led to the loss of habitats for many wild indigenous species and, worse still, to the impoverishment of local residents, who then had to continue illegal logging to earn their living. Accordingly, NGOs and local government initiated activities aiming to help the forests recover and enhance the economic independence of local residents. In 2000, the Ricoh Group determined to endorse these activities and initiated support for the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park in northern Luzon. By 2009, a total of 63,185 trees had been planted to conserve water resources and produce fruit, making it possible to harvest mango, avocado, and cacao crops while conserving forest growth. Additionally, the Ricoh Group took proactive action, including holding seminars with cooperation from the local government to provide technical support for local residents, enabling them to maintain their own agriculture. The 10-year project successfully attained its goal, with administrative control assumed by residents.
In addition, the Ricoh Group will perform activities to reduce the negative impact of business operations on biodiversity in line with its "Biodiversity Policy."
Biodiversity conservation activities by the Ricoh Group consist of four initiatives: “Forest Ecosystem Conservation Projects," "Environmental and Social Contribution Activities by Group Organizations,” "Employee Volunteer Activities," and "Network Expansion Activities." The Group conducts these activities in cooperation with local communities around the world.
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