Development of Environmental Technologies -Concept and Targets-
Our aim is to bring about an "industrial revolution of the environment" through the development of innovative environmental technologies,thereby realizing a low-carbon society.
Concept of Product Development
The Ricoh Group develops products that–throughout their lifecycles–will keep their environmental impact below the limit at which the global environment becomes unsustainable. First, Eco Balance data on the environmental impact caused by overall business activities are identified and, based on the results, targets for products covered by the action plans are set (Plan). LCA-based designs are then drawn up, and production process technologies are developed to achieve the targets (Do). Results from these designs and process technologies are again reviewed alongside the Eco Balance data (Check) before being reflected in the next targets (Act). In addition to technological development directly related to products, we also work on technological development that will help reduce the environmental impact of society as a whole. We are promoting various activities–such as the development of new/ alternative materials, creation of a paperless environment through information technologies, and introduction of reuse/rewritable technologies to replace paper–to further evolve Ricohfs core technologies into environmental technologies that can be applied in a wider variety of areas.Focused areas for environmental technologies
- *Technologies that will contribute to environmental impact reduction throughout society.
Target for Fiscal 2010
- Develop environmental technologies that will help reduce the environmental impact of business activities and of society as a whole.
Acceleration of development of environmental technologies
The development of environmental technologies is one of the most important efforts to realize sustainable environmental management. It is the basis for providing customers with products that are low in environmental impact throughout their lifecycle from the procurement of materials and use by customers to their recycling, as well as for simultaneously realizing both a reduction in environmental impact and the creation of economic value.
The Ricoh Group is well aware that existing technologies are not sufficient for creating products that will help resolve the current problems of climate change and resource depletion, meet environmental laws and regulations, and expedite the realization of a low-carbon and resource-recirculating society. Ricohfs development of environmental technologies is based on this recognition. In fiscal 2009, we set targets for each stage of the product lifecycle in terms of technology development according to the Group's 2050 Long-Term/2020 Mid-Term Environmental Impact Reduction Goals and drew up technological strategies to achieve these targets. In fiscal 2010, our focus will be on enhancing the system that facilitates cross-cutting cooperation between different technology areas, aiming at more effective development activities concerning environmental technologies. In addition, looking at the 2020 mid-term goals, we will accelerate efforts to advance our environmental technology development, thereby increasing the potential for further reductions in environmental impact.
Promotion of LCA-based design
LCA-based design is a process where targets are set to reduce the environmental impact of products throughout their lifecycles, and the PDCA cycle is used to achieve these targets.
Ricoh developed the LCA calculation tool in fi scal 2006 to enable designers to carry out LCA-based design in a more effi cient and effective manner. This tool is now actively utilized to conduct LCA for products in the process of development based on their specifi cations, and, in accordance with the results, set environmental impact reduction goals for each product.
In recognition of its positive contribution to the reduction of environmental impact, Ricoh received the Award of the Director-General of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in December 2010, the highest-ranked prize of an award program organized by the Life Cycle Assessment Society of Japan (JLCA) and sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun Ltd. The program started in 2003 with the aim of recognizing and thereby supporting Japanese corporations and other organizations which work to reduce environmental impact across the entire lifecycle of their products. Ricoh has been working to build and operate LCA systems into product design processes since 1994. We use our original LCA calculation tools in the product development phase, which — together with the collaboration with materials and parts suppliers — allows us to design products with minimal environmental impact.
These efforts, as well as environmental technologies development and environmental conservation activities of the Group, led to this honor.
The award panel commented that Ricoh won the grand prize primarily for: its long-term, systematic implementation of LCA as part of its product development process; its development and use of original LCA tools and expanded involvement of suppliers; and the development of an LCA system which can be used on a real time basis during the product development process so that product design staff can easily use the system as part of their operations.
LCA means quantitatively identifying which and how much environmental impact exists in the lifecycle of a product, from the resource extraction for the production of raw materials to manufacturing, transportation, marketing, use, maintenance, collection, recycling, and disposal. LCA may also be applied to part of the above cycle.