On November 8-9, 2023, the Reuters NEXT 2023 Forum was held in New York, USA. Ryoshi Yamashita, chairman of Ricoh Group, was invited to deliver a speech entitled "how to empower employees to be promoters of ESG" at the forum. Ricoh Group is actively promoting its own digital transformation with environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) as its core.
In his speech, he stressed Ricoh's determination to put ESG at the core of its business philosophy, shared Ricoh's achievements in the process of great global change, and gave an in-depth introduction to Ricoh's efforts to achieve the mission and vision of "enjoyable work", corporate sustainable development management planning and its commitment to solve social problems.
Reuters NEXT is a global forum led by Reuters. Global business, political and domain leaders gather to discuss important issues. These topics relate to geopolitical and volatile governance challenges, how to recover from inflationary pressures, the difficulties of implementing climate action, and the disruptions in the digital transition.
Era-oriented, start the ESG transformation
Yamashita made it clear from the beginning, emphasizing that ESG is the core idea of Ricoh's digital transformation. Citing Deloitte's 2023 annual survey of Generation Z and millennials, he found that millennials will account for 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025, and their career choices will be profoundly influenced by the company's ESG practices: more than half of Gen Zers analyze the company's environmental policies before applying for a job, and more than 40 per cent of respondents have changed jobs or are willing to change jobs because of climate issues.
The impact of this change on enterprises is not only reflected in attracting talents, but also affects customers' decision to choose partners. In North America, nearly 60% of customers consider environmental, social, and corporate governance factors when choosing partners, and bidding requirements related to environmental, social, and corporate governance have surged 200% over the previous year.
Millennials, who are becoming emerging decision makers, are the first to seek innovation, skill development and positive social impact in the work environment. Therefore, Yamashita concludes that a firm commitment to the environment, society and governance is essential to maintain competitiveness, attract talent, and meet customer expectations. Companies need to be firmly committed to developing a corporate culture that promotes ESG and millennium values.
Looking back on the past, never forget the original intention of the enterprise
Looking back on the founding history of Ricoh Group, Yamashita specifically mentioned the "three love spirit" put forward by its founder, Mr. Ishimura, namely, "love your neighbors, love your motherland, and love your work." the extension of this spirit forms Ricoh's corporate vision: "enjoy work".
He stressed that by empowering employees, motivating employees to become ESG promoters is the basis for realizing the corporate vision. A survey conducted by Ricoh in Europe shows that some senior decision-makers disagree with their employees on environmental issues, and most employees are willing to work for employers who are committed to solving social problems. Therefore, enterprises need to take proactive measures to make employees feel their determination in ESG.
Set an example and make great achievements in environmental protection.
From "loving the motherland" to "loving the earth", Yamashita shows Ricoh's remarkable achievements in environmental goals, further confirming the indispensability of ESG for the sustainable development of enterprises: in 2020, Ricoh revised its greenhouse gas emission target (range 1 and range 2) from a 30% reduction in 2030 to 63% relative to the 2015 fiscal year, because the actual performance successfully exceeded the original target. Ricoh, which is taking practical action to implement energy conservation activities and the use of renewable energy, has taken the initiative to assume greater responsibility for achieving sustainable development. As the first Asian company to join "RE100" (a global event aimed at achieving business activities through electricity provided by 100% renewable energy), Ricoh will continue to play an exemplary role in the industry, calling on industry partners to join in solving the two major ESG environmental social issues of "zero carbon society" and "economic cycle".
Work together to create a development environment
Next, Yamashita turned his theme to the other two core principles of Ricoh's "three Love Spirit", namely, "loving your neighbors" and "loving your work". These two are Ricoh's commitment to employees, and also reflect Ricoh's guarantee of creating an environment in which employees can work passionately. " If a company can convey a sense of mission and effectively share it with employees, it can motivate employees. Yamashita further introduces how Ricoh has created an environment for corporate ESG activities that stimulate employee innovation, increase retention and participation through specific measures such as cultural excellence program, SCALA skills retraining program, and bridging the digital divide. The cultural excellence program advocated by Carsten Bruhn, CEO of Ricoh North America, takes diversity as the core concept, which not only improves employees' job satisfaction, but also demonstrates corporate social responsibility inside and outside the company. Through the SCALA program, Ricoh provides digital skills training for more than 4000 field engineers to help employees adapt to the new positions created in the company's digital transformation. At the same time, Ricoh supports women artists in rural India and other places through skills training programs to narrow the digital technology gap and raise their income levels. The program has also been extended to Japan, Vietnam and other regions, providing development opportunities for local young people.
Empower employees to promote social progress
From corporate behavior to individual employees, Yamashita proposes the importance of giving employees an in-depth understanding of the ESG agenda and demonstrates their creativity and influence when they are aware of the link between their work and ESG goals. In order to solve this problem, Ricoh has invested a lot of resources to help employees understand the ESG agenda. Not only through simple training, lectures and other popular science sessions, Ricoh has also carried out a large number of thematic activities such as ESG Action month to encourage employees to participate in ESG spontaneously and actively. Nearly 38000 responses to an ESG survey of employees showed that 92 per cent thought their work would help solve social problems, while almost the same number said it made their jobs more fulfilling. This shows that the enthusiasm and identity gained by employees participating in ESG activities is very important for realizing the common progress of enterprises and society.
Once employees begin to see their connection to the ESG agenda, the company will make unexpected progress and gains. Yamashita demonstrates how employees can inspire unprecedented creativity when they realize the link between their work and ESG goals through examples of ESG-oriented scientific and technological innovation, such as the use of polylactic acid materials, 3D health care, and PEKOE hearing improvement programs. Through their own work to solve social problems of satisfaction, so that employees' thinking to a new height, beyond the limitations of daily tasks, in-depth thinking about how their work positively affects the environment. While realizing that individuals promote social progress, employees realize the win-win situation of personal self-improvement and the realization of social value.
At the end of the speech, Yamashita pointed out the theme of the speech: "I firmly believe that if proactive team members can see how ESG matches their roles, then they are an untapped force that can promote the building of a sustainable society." As a leading global digital service provider, Ricoh Group has always regarded ESG as the core strategy of its enterprise development. Looking back on the past and looking forward to the future, Ricoh will adhere to the direction of digital services, work together with global customers to protect the environment and create innovation through new intelligent solutions. Ricoh will continue to empower employees to become active advocates of ESG, promoting enterprises to achieve better results in environmental, social and governance.
Just as Yamashita quoted a proverb at the end of his speech: "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but we borrow it from our children." It is the responsibility of all of us at present to create a more livable future for future generations. Ricoh Group will work with enterprises and institutions around the world to achieve comprehensive development in environmental protection, society and governance, fulfill its commitment to solving social problems, and lead to the corporate vision of "enjoying work". To create a better future.
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