In 1993, Ricoh set in-house standards that restrict the use of environmentally sensitive substances in our products. By 2006, we had completed a chemical substance management system (CMS) for suppliers and a management system for chemical substances (MSC) contained in the products of the Ricoh Group. These systems are a reliable mechanism for reducing and managing environmentally sensitive substances across the entire manufacturing process both at the Ricoh Group and our suppliers.
Our system uses an information database linked to the Joint Article Management Promotion consortium (JAMP) system to determine levels of substances contained in different parts of a product. This allows us to take precise action to comply with REACH regulations* and react quickly to regulatory changes.
Toner, developer agents and other supplies contain a variety of chemical substances. As product safety is one of our fundamental principles, the Ricoh Group effectively controls chemical substances in its products with RECSIS*, a Ricoh-developed information system that automatically evaluates the safety of supplies. RECSIS generates a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and other safety specifications for Ricoh products and verifies their conformation to the regulations of various countries.
Safety evaluation system for supplies
Ricoh has established its own standards on chemical emissions*1 generated by products while in use and endeavors to reduce these emissions. Chemical substances emitted by products like copiers and printers are measured at the emission measuring testing laboratory located within the company. Ricoh is certificated as an official testing laboratory by Germany’s BAM (Bundesanstalt für Material-forschung und -prüfung; Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing), and measurement data from Ricoh’s testing laboratory will be recognized in registering for the Blue Angel, a German environmental label.
In addition, Ricoh obtained ISO/IEC 17025-based certification for reliable technical competence of our testing and calibration laboratories in February 2012. This enables us to submit authoritative, reliable test results within our capacity in seeking environmental labels and other certifications from independent accreditation bodies, helping us introduce environmentally friendly products to markets more quickly and efficiently.
Under this recent certification, we are qualified to test fine and ultrafine particles*2, for which there is increasing demand for international standardization.
Chemical emissions are chemical substances emitted by products and include ozone, dust, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Fine particles: diameter ranging between 0.1 μm and 2.5 μm; Ultrafine particles: diameter less than or equal to 0.1 μm (Source: ECMA-328 Determination of Chemical Emission Rates from Electronic Equipment, 5th edition [December 2010])
Emission-measuring testing laboratory (Ricoh Ohmori Office)
Ricoh supports its suppliers’ environmental conservation activities in three fields: resource conservation and recycling, pollution prevention, as well as energy conservation and the prevention of global warming.
In order to effectively execute these support activities, since fiscal 1988 we have assisted suppliers in building the foundations of their environmental conservation activities, namely environmental management systems (EMS) and chemical substance management systems (CMS).
Since fiscal 2005, the Ricoh Group has been providing training for suppliers’ employees and certifying the trained employees as CMS examiners. The purpose of these efforts is to establish CMS across our entire supply chain.
In addition to conducting internal audits at their own companies, the certified examiners are responsible for auditing their upstream suppliers (second- and third-tier suppliers of the Ricoh Group) that use environmentally sensitive chemical substances, and for supporting their establishment of CMS.
As of the end of September 2013, there were 1,730 certified CMS examiners with nearly 900 suppliers, and the CMS was in place at 2,009 sites for 940 first-tier suppliers. Of these first-tier suppliers, 269 carry out important processes in which environmentally sensitive substances are used.
The CMS for each supplier is audited every two years for certification renewal. In fiscal 2012, 306 suppliers completed the renewal procedure.
In addition, we hosted a CMS Examiner Training Session for suppliers in Thailand in August 2013, and newly certified 27 CMS examiners.
The Ricoh Group has been working to reduce its products’ lifecycle CO2 emissions, but most of the parts used in Ricoh products are manufactured and supplied by external vendors, who also often procure materials for their products from others. In order to reduce CO2 emissions from its production activities, the Ricoh Group therefore needs to have a system to collect and communicate a vast amount of environmental information in an accurate manner in cooperation with its suppliers. To this end, the Group built a system to conduct environmental surveys on materials and parts used in its products and communicate the obtained environmental impact information on RaVenderNET, a network infrastructure operated jointly with its suppliers. The system has been in operation since 2001.
For the information communication flow, Ricoh’s design department first selects the products and parts to be included in the information collection target, and then the materials procurement department specifies the information to be collected, such as the chemical substances contained in a particular material and the environmental impact caused by the production of the material. Subsequently, Ricoh asks suppliers to collect the necessary data and helps them operate the data collection tools and manage the collection process. Suppliers then submit the information to Ricoh. The submitted information is checked and an investigation is conducted as required. Information assessed as usable is then tabulated and disclosed.
For smoother and more accurate information collection and communication, Ricoh has been continuously conducting activities for suppliers in five global regions, such as providing them with education and training and creating manuals and guidelines in local languages.
Managing product information becomes more difficult the more materials and parts there are in them, and the risk of unexpected errors also increases. Based on this recognition, the design and production departments are implementing projects to collect information about materials, processing methods, and secondary materials used in production processes earlier than initially planned, in order to eventually narrow the target of information collection.
Flow of collecting/communicating information of chemical substances contained in products