Ricoh sets an example as it becomes first Australian IT services company to achieve carbon-neutral status
Ricoh has announced that its Australian business operations are now carbon neutral with the company also becoming the first Australian IT services company to achieve this accolade.
Since establishing operations in Australia 50 years ago, Ricoh has had a stated aim of being an environmentally responsible company. Working closely with its clients, Ricoh has consistently searched for ways to reduce consumption and improve the efficiency of its operations and products.
In April 2013, Ricoh Australia became the first technology services organisation in the country to achieve a carboNZero certification. This internationally accredited certification required detailed external auditing of the company's existing greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and its ongoing emission reduction plans.
"Every aspect of our national operations was put under the microscope so we could understand the sources of all our existing GHG emissions," says Tori Starkey, General Manager – Marketing, Ricoh Australia. Taking such a holistic approach meant we would be well placed to make our subsequent activities as effective as possible."
As part of the review process, strategies were identified that could assist Ricoh to reduce its footprint while also helping customers to reduce their own. To meet these goals, Ricoh worked closely with not-for-profit Enviro-Mark Solutions to develop a multi-pronged GHG reduction strategy. This strategy covered a number of key areas including:
A reduction in overall power consumption of 26 per cent was achieved through a number of initiatives. These included the consolidation of Ricoh's national offices and shifting the company headquarters into a more energy-efficient building.
A flexible working policy was also introduced that allowed staff to work from home or other locations on a more regular basis, helping to lower in-office power consumption.
Freight and fuel usage:
All components within the company's supply chains were examined and moves taken to consolidate freight shipments, thereby reducing fuel usage. The program focused on how consumables were distributed to customers.
Driven by the need to offer sustainable solutions to its customers, the new system ensures far better utilisation of toner and also reduces the environmental impact of freight by consolidating delivery for colour devices. By automating the process, Ricoh has improved the speed of toner re-supply and reduced inefficiencies and wastage caused by replacing toner too soon. At the same time, Ricoh has consolidated deliveries for colour devices resulting in a reduction of freight costs.
More resources were also allocated to the company's call centre so that an increased number of issues could be dealt with over the phone rather than requiring staff to travel to a customer site. GPS tracking was also rolled out to ensure that any site visits were co-ordinated in the most efficient way, reducing double ups and the total number of kilometres travelled.
Staff air travel:
To reduce emissions associated with staff air travel, a new telephone system was implemented with the capability to connect laptops for video conferencing sessions. Rather than needing to travel for meetings, staff are now able to instead join a video discussion from their current location.
Waste to landfill:
Careful evaluation has also been completed relating to the amount of waste ending up in landfill as a result of company operations.
“Our recycling, consumption reduction and emission reduction programs all exhibit elements of the reduce, reuse, and recycle approach and align to our product stewardship policy and our ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ principle,” says Starkey.
Ricoh’s recycling programs are not limited to machines and consumables. In an industry first Ricoh operates a parts recycling program whereby service parts replaced by technicians during the servicing of machines in the field are either recycled using the collection boxes at the customer’s premises or removed and returned to the Ricoh branch into designated recycling receptacles. These programs have combined to successfully divert tonnes of Ricoh trade waste from landfill to date.
“These strategies are helping Ricoh reach its aggressive goals for ongoing GHG emission reduction through taking practical steps that improve everyday business operations. Far from being a set-and-forget exercise, these strategies will continue to be evaluated and improved over time. At the same time, customers are enjoying more efficient service and product deliveries while also being able to achieve their own footprint improvements.
"Ricoh is committed to a sustainable future for businesses within Australia. With increasing attention being paid to achieving a reduced corporate environmental footprint, many businesses have set a goal of making their operations carbon neutral. For Ricoh Australia, this goal has become a reality,” says Starkey.