Readily accepting its share of responsibility for promoting green practices, the Ricoh Group sees sustainability as a top corporate priority and has had a 'no regrets' policy in place since 1998. This made environmental thinking a core company value and has led to continuing strategic initiatives and long-term targets designed to create real change, and prove that it is possible to make profits and protect the world around us at the same time. 'That is real environmental management,' says Toshiki Fujino, assistant general manager at Ricoh China's social environment department. 'One goal is to reduce our impact in 2050 by 87.5 per cent compared to the level in 2000.' To do this, Fujino says Ricoh China puts its faith in a philosophy that 'balances people, profit and the planet'. The company has made the '3Ps' an integral part of its corporate culture. A big part of this approach is to promote the company's total green office solution (TGOS) concept to customers. The three main elements are using eco-friendly products to cut consumption of power and paper; reducing noise and carbon dioxide emissions at every step of the supply chain; and developing an in-house 'Eco-doc' survey to check customers' general awareness and follow up with practical suggestions. This can entail advice on cutting electricity bills with energy-saving digital office equipment, minimising consumables and providing 'lifecycle solutions'. Typically, these would include the collection of used machines for recycling and the refilling of bottles of toner. 'We want to be an environmental partner for customers, communicating about these issues, as well as arranging joint activities such as tree planting,' Fujino says. 'Many big companies now appreciate our objectives and service and take this into account when purchasing. We are always willing to share our knowledge of best environmental practices and can see that customers want to learn from us.' Ricoh regularly organises TGOS seminars on the mainland for up to 200 attendees at a time to spread the word about sustainability as proactively as possible. Such sessions generally focus on topics such as the green supply chain and show how efficient logistics operations can save time and money, while leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Speakers outline ways in which the right technology along with close collaboration between suppliers, logistics providers and end-users can bring about all kinds of win-win situations. These might relate to a reduction in packaging material or a need for fewer delivery runs. But more broadly, of course, any improvement in such areas can soon have an exponential positive impact. 'Environmental management involves the whole supply chain and we must work together to achieve our goals,' Fujino says. 'This is now in our corporate DNA and we are also willing to open our office and factories to show people how Ricoh puts these principles into practice in our daily work.' He adds that it is important to bring this to the attention of the supply chain community and that the GS1 Hong Kong conference provides an excellent platform to share the company's vision. 'It takes joint efforts to achieve environmental sustainability and an efficient supply chain is one of the key issues,' he says.