- Environmental Management
- Case studies
Reducing the environmental impact of our products and services at customer sites
Case 1: Joining the EPEAT program: adopting international green labels and complying with environmental regulations
The Ricoh Group began registering its products in the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEATTM)* program in February 2013, as soon as the program’s registry expanded to include imaging equipment such as MFPs and printers. The United States government uses EPEAT as part of its procurement process.
Established to promote the development and sales of environmentally friendly products, EPEAT has three registry categories — Gold, Silver and Bronze — that reflect the percentage of the assessment criteria met. The criteria cover the environmental performance of the products themselves; supplies, packaging and other related elements, which include performance in the areas of resource and energy efficiency, and reduced or restricted use of hazardous materials; and environmental activities performed by manufacturers.
In addition to the US federal government, state governments, municipalities and educational institutions have adopted EPEAT as their mandatory or voluntary standard. The Canadian, Australian and New Zealand governments have also started preferential procurement of EPEAT-registered products. Given this momentum, the program is expected to have quite an impact on negotiations for large transactions with governmental agencies and businesses around the world.
The Ricoh Group had already established ambitious voluntary targets and actively disclosed its achievements, which include reducing standby power consumption levels to below 1 watt and a recycling rate of supplies collected of over 75%. As a result, we readily met the program’s stringent standards and registered the largest number of Gold-rated models in the industry (as of August 21, 2013). Our ultimate goal is to have all our products placed in the EPEAT Gold registry. By meeting customer demand for higher environmental performance, we can strengthen our competitiveness while making a greater contribution to environmental conservation.
* EPEAT is an environmental rating program intended to promote the development and sales of environmentally friendly products. The United States federal government uses it as an assessment tool during its procurement process. The program originally started in 2006 to evaluate PCs and monitors, and expanded in January 2013 to include imaging equipment. EPEAT registers qualified products under either the Gold (meeting 75% or more of the voluntary criteria), Silver (50% or higher), or Bronze (less than 50%) categories, based on their evaluation results against 33 mandatory criteria related to resource conservation, energy conservation, reduced or restricted use of hazardous materials, and other areas, as well as 26 additional optional criteria.
A product reuse business will not last unless the reused products generate new economic value. Reuse efforts are worthless if they result in increases in related costs and environmental impact. Since the 1990s, the Ricoh Group’s product reuse business has both improved profitability and reduced environmental impact. We accomplished this by planning and developing easy-to-reuse products and components, devising new reuse technologies, building and improving the channels for collecting used products, and a variety of other efforts.
Since we released our first recycled copier in 1997, we have proactively expanded our lineup and now offer a wide range of recycled machines. The main reason for this success is the steady efforts we have made based on the Comet Circle concept.
To encourage product reuse — the innermost loop of the Comet CircleTM — we build and operate product collection channels with optimal collection costs and quality and an inventory management system for the products collected. We have also developed a system to forecast the volume of used products to be collected — how many units of which model will be collected when — so that we can fulfill orders from customers without missing opportunities.
To promote product reuse at even lower costs, we design and develop products with recycling in mind.
Specifically, we plan their useful life, durability, ease of disassembling and other elements based on our Policy on Environmentally Friendly Product Design. We also use environmentally friendly technologies, such as our dry-washing technology, which requires no water, so that our recycled copiers will have less environmental impact and reduced manufacturing cost.
Our product reuse business is now spreading beyond Japan, and we are optimistic about its potential to succeed in markets around the world as we advance our initiative to raise corporate value while lessening environmental impact.
Lineup of recycled MFPs
Reduction of environmental impact: imagio MP C4000RC
Outer shell designed to ease recycling
Case 3: Offering comprehensive support in reducing the environmental impact in the printing environment
The interests of business managers these days have shifted to simultaneously conserving the global environment and environment and pursuing business sustainability. With corporate competition intensifying globally, customers are seeking greater management efficiency, which they expect will reduce the environmental impact brought about by their business activities and offset rising concerns about the environment.
In response to these needs, Ricoh Europe(RE), our European sales headquarters, currently offers a Sustainability Optimization Program (SOP) that visualizes the environmental impact and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) associated with the printing environments of its customers. RE also monitors the effects of Ricoh services after their implementation so that we can offer support in making continuous improvements.
The SOP process first analyzes a customer’s printing environment in detail and makes the cost and environmental impact visible. It then suggests the optimal equipment arrangement and helps set a specific goal for reducing the environmental impact.
As part of the implementation, RE supports customers in optimizing the environmental awareness and sustainable behavior of all employees through collaborative activities. Furthermore, RE provides training so that the customer can make the most of the energy-saving mode, double-sided printing, and other functions. By monitoring variances between the target and actual figures, the program runs and manages the system toward continuous improvements.
The process then offers Carbon Balanced Printing, to offset the remaining and unavoidable CO2 emissions by carbon credits generated by Clean Energy Projects in which Ricoh has invested*1. Through this program, customers are able to achieve their environmental goals and consequently fulfill their social responsibility at a low cost.
Customers who have implemented the program have responded with high praise, making comments such as, "It is an outstanding program that has helped us to achieve both optimal business management and sustainability," and, "The program helps us to achieve our environmental goals." The series of programs have been certified by the global business standards organization BSI*2, which confirms the effectiveness of the programs.
These trends have led us to propose more environmental impact-reducing SOP in FY2012 than any of our other TCO programs aimed at achieving efficient printing and reducing costs, and the CO2 emission levels of our customers have reduced by 36% compared to those prior to SOP implementation.
The program was also launched in Australia in May 2013 in line with our policy of meeting customer needs on a global scale.
*1 Carbon credit that, under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Ricoh invested in and acquired after official U.N. approval.
*2 The British Standards Institution
The Sustainability Optimization Program
Carbon offsetting in Europe: The Generali example
The Swiss branch of the insurance company Generali was the first business in Europe to receive the Ricoh Group’s Certificate of Carbon Offset, and the second in Europe to achieve complete carbon offsetting.
Generali introduced Ricoh’s Managed Document Service (MDS) four years ago, and decided to implement carbon offsetting in its office printing environment in order to further promote its environmental conservation activities.
Generali’s CO2 reduction initially began by switching to new models, but Ricoh Europe PLC (RE) took it further and proposed solutions that restrict resource consumption. These included the use of Ricoh eco technologies such as Quick Start-Up (QSU), which “wakes” a printer to full readiness in a few seconds from standby mode, reducing power consumption. Setting the default output to double-sided printing also reduces paper use, and monochrome rather than color printing cuts toner consumption. The company also used high-quality, energy-saving PxP toners, and Ricoh suggested a program for collecting used toner cartridges.
Finally, purchasing carbon credits offset the remaining unavoidable CO2 emission. With this, Generali achieved a fully carbon-neutral document environment.
Established 1831 in Trieste, Italy, Generali has over 500 offices in 68 countries around the world, and employs about 85,000 people.
"Ricoh’s concept of document management is comprehensive and contributes significantly to our company achieving its environmental sustainability targets."
Manfred Balmer, Project Manager, IT Infrastucture, GENERALI, (Schweiz Holding AG)
Case 4: Carbon footprint labeling on catalogs for production printers
The catalogs of our production printers, such as the RICOH Pro C901/C901S, now display a Carbon Footprint of Products (CFP) label.
The CFP label indicates a product’s CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions during its entire life cycle, from raw material procurement to disposal and recycling. Through this visualization, we intend to generate demand for lower carbon emissions and alter social behavior.
CFP is being adopted by many sectors, including the printing industry. For instance, it is included in the consideration points of the Green Purchasing Network’s guidelines for offset printing services, and some offset print materials already display CFP labels.
As printing increasingly shifts to an on-demand basis, the need for CFP labels on on-demand documents are likely to grow as well. The Ricoh Group is taking the initiative to promote CFP labeling by displaying the carbon footprint of our products on catalogs and helping printing companies who use Ricoh production printers meet requests from customers who want to include CFP labels in their printing orders.