From October 16 to October 18, 2009, the Ricoh Group participated in the "Stand Up and Take Action" event, a global action program to fight against world poverty and achieve the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The campaign started in 2006, calling on people around the world to "stand up" and urged world political leaders to take aggressive action. The 2009 event was joined by 31,298 people in Japan and some 173 million people worldwide to send a strong message to the world.
The Ricoh Group first joined the global movement in 2008 to promote employees' awareness of MDGs, a set of key global agenda, and make them realize that they can be a part of the solution to today's issues by using Ricoh's technologies and human and other resources. In 2009, the number of participants from Ricoh grew more than sevenfold from the previous year to 1,915, the largest group from a single corporate participant.
From Ricoh Kansai Co., Ltd., for example, nearly 700 employees from 15 sites joined the campaign, partly thanks to active promotion by its CSR Department. At Ricoh Chugoku Co., Ltd., 190 people "stood up" at a management team meeting held outside of the campaign period. In Ichimura Nature School, children attending the course stood up after the school head's lecture about the mission of this global action.
At a symposium held as a campaign event, we as a representative of the business world explained how the Ricoh Group has been working against poverty and what these activities mean to us.
Through active participation, we would like to continue to provide Ricoh Group employees and stakeholders with opportunities to raise their awareness of global issues and think about what each of us can do to address these issues as an individual and collectively as a corporate citizen.
Children stand up at Ichimura Nature School
Under the slogan "Let's start with what you can do!" Ricoh Hokkaido invited its people to join in the Stand Up and Take Action campaign. In a photo contest for campaign participants, the company was a standout.
Ricoh has a program to develop environmental volunteer leaders who have a deep understanding of the importance of biodiversity and are capable of planning and operating environmental conservation activities. After completing such training at Ricoh Nature School, certified environmental volunteer leaders plan and implement various activities, inviting the participation of their coworkers and local communities. However, some leaders have a hard time coming up with activity ideas because there are no forests or natural setting in their local areas.
As part of efforts to help this situation, a project to construct a biotope pond with local children took place in Aoyama Elementary School in Tokyo on February 6, 2010. This nature school event started with an open class for participating fourth-graders, who learned the importance of considering the needs of other creatures and understood that the true purpose of the event was not to create a biotope but to take voluntary action to interact with nature. Following the class, 18 volunteer pupils from the school and environmental leaders constructed the biotope. Work included activities such as solidifying the ground and planting water plants and weeds and finally filling the pond. Comments from the environmental leaders who participated in the event include: "Moving forward, we would like to invite the active participation of the local community. This project is not about creating a biotope but about raising understanding of the importance of conserving ecosystems," and "We would like to monitor the development of the biotope pond as a responsible custodian because we created the pond from scratch."
Fixed-point observation has been conducted on the biotope and the latest developments have been shared with local people. Recently, many frog eggs were found in the pond. For upcoming events, we are planning nature watching and vegetation surveys with children.
Elementary school students, local residents
and Ricoh Group employees got together
Environmental volunteer members and
pupils creating the biotope pond
Tomohiro Sakanushi (President of Ricoh Hokkaido, right) and award winners
In addition to corporate programs, employees may engage in volunteer activities by themselves or with like-minded peers. Such grass root volunteering is also an integral part of a company's effort to create a harmonious relationship with local communities. With this recognition, our sales subsidiary Ricoh Hokkaido started an award program to commend such employees in fiscal 2007, aiming to create a corporate culture that encourages and values active contribution to society.
Among the candidates, including those who put themselves forward and those who were recommended by others, annual awards go to the employee or group of employees conducting year-round activities which are continuous, have potential for wider participation, and are relevant to the company's business. In fiscal 2009, three activities: an individual's efforts to expand a social contribution activity network, a youth development sports program, and a sanitation service at mountain lodges for environmental conservation, received awards. Award winners are honored and their activities are introduced at the company's annual employee convention. With employees commending their coworkers' achievements together, the award presentation event builds stronger comradeship among Ricoh Hokkaido employees and may inspire them to take their own actions.
Ricoh Hokkaido's approach to social contribution activities
Ricoh Rugby Football Team hosted the 10th Ricoh Rugby Festival in June 2009. More than 500 children from Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures joined the event, playing rugby with Ricoh players. Running around on the pitch, the little athletes learned many things, especially the importance of teamwork. Ricoh will continue to hold this Rugby event to encourage children to play more sport and to support their healthy development.