The global community expects companies to operate with due respect for human rights. Beyond meeting regulatory requirements and social expectations in countries and regions in which we operate, we are strengthening our commitment to human rights by proactively introducing more rigorous international standards such as the United Nations Global Compact and ISO26000.
Human rights are the basic rights that every individual is entitled to, and the issues related to them are both far-reaching and complex.
Ricoh's respect for human rights stretches back to our company's foundation, when "love your neighbor" was set as one of the key components of our corporate philosophy, The Spirit of Three Loves. Exemplifying the continued application of this tenet are measures we take to ensure there is no child labor or forced labor, not only within our own organization but within our supply chain as well. We mandate the Ricoh Group Supplier Code of Conduct and regularly monitor our suppliers to make certain they are complying with the code through CSR self-assessment reports. Deviations from the code are expected to be corrected immediately. We have also reinforced our approach to dealing with conflict minerals* — a particularly controversial topic — by launching a cross-organizational working group.
*The “Conflict Minerals Issue” is a issue in which the profits from minerals mined or traded finance armed groups and foster conflicts, and often involves human rights abuses, labor issues and environmental destruction, etc. The Dodd- Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, enacted in July 2010, requires specified companies to report the use of conflict minerals—tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold—and any other minerals determined by the U.S. Department of State which originated in the Democratic Republic of Congo and/or an adjoining country.
Our respect for human rights also extends to the health, security and safety of our customers. We pursue this objective in various ways, from making products easier to use to promoting "color universal design," which takes into account the diversity of color vision among the people of the world.
|November 1991||The Human Rights Enlightenment Committee was established and staff in charge of human rights enlightenment were assigned to each office and plant and the Business Assistance Division.|
|October 1994||A guidebook for enlightenment of human rights "Hito-o Aisu (Love your neighbor)" was issued and education to raise awareness of human rights was initiated.|
|September 1998||The Human Rights Counseling Center was established.|
|April 2002||Operation of a database on human rights and sexual harassment was initiated.|
|April 2002||The company signed the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).|
|November 2003||Respect for basic human rights was clearly stipulated in the Ricoh Group CSR Charter and the Ricoh Group Code of Conduct.|
|January 2006||The Ricoh Group Supplier Code of Conduct was established, which requested that suppliers respect basic human rights, and in 2009 the self-assessment system was established.|
|April 2007||An organization to promote "diversity & work-life management" activities was established.|
|April 2008||Color universal design activities (in consideration of the diversity of color vision) were initiated.|
|December 2008||The company signed the CEO Statement for the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).|
|February 2011||The company signed the United Nation's Women's Empowerment Principles.|
|March 2011||A stakeholder dialogue on human rights was held.|
|March 2012||The company announced its policy on conflict mineral issues.|
|November 2012||Conducted e-learning program for all employees.|
|January 2013||Working group on conflict minerals launched.|
|August 2013||Workshop on human rights due diligence is held.|
Our respect for human rights prioritizes due consideration for all stakeholders associated with corporate activities and requires that each and every employee who is involved in daily operations has a proper understanding of human rights and a deep awareness of human rights issues. As a second step in promoting this ideal, in August 2013, we brought together a total of 18 managers familiar with personnel and labor affairs from seven divisions where enhanced capabilities will be a priority going forward to participate in the Ricoh Group's first human rights workshop. Of note, in developing this human rights workshop, we garnered the support of Hideki Wakabayashi, Executive Director of the non-governmental organization Amnesty International Japan.■ Workshop objectives
Human rights education workshop
Workshops are an effective learning tool for discovering new perceptions
Amnesty International Japan
The purpose of human rights education is to draw out latent ability within employees, help them acquire knowledge they might not necessarily get through daily work activities, as well as judgment skills and a deeper sense of morality, and finally, elicit an awareness of human rights so that they are able to apply it to corporate activities that do indeed respect human rights.
However, listening to lectures and seminar presentations is a one-way process, and does not leave much of a lasting impression. The way to achieve results is by augmenting the human rights e-learning offered to date with workshops, which go a step further. The retention rate is extremely high when people are engaged because the practical activities reinforce whatever has been said.
This time around, the discussions about what kind of stakeholders exist on the corporate value chain and what kind of human rights issues are found there—this must certainly have fostered new perceptions about human rights. I look forward to seeing a wider group of people involved in the workshops, and human rights due diligence becoming more firmly entrenched within the Ricoh Group.
*Amnesty International Japan is the Japanese branch of the world's biggest international non-governmental organization for human rights, London-based Amnesty International Limited, which tackles human rights issues around the world through a network of more than three million supporters in more than 150 countries and territories. (Amnesty International won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.)