top of page

ESG OSINT User Interview: Ricoh Company, Ltd. - Catching Regulatory Trends and Creating Good Product

OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) refers to a method of gathering necessary information from information that is publicly available and accessible to all.

OSINT is being used not only in the military and security fields, but also in the business field, as companies are analyzing supply chains based on financial and public relations data. Through RuleWatcher, OSINTech is promoting the use of OSINT in ESG fields such as environment, society, and governance.

We spoke with Kosuke Yamakawa and Tomiko Takahashi of Ricoh Company, Ltd.

Kosuke Yamakawa Belonging to the copier/printer development department, he was in charge of cost planning for about 12 years. After working in purchasing in Thailand, he has been in charge of purchasing for new businesses since his return to Japan. Currently in charge of inkjet printing batteries and magnetoencephalography(MEG) system/spinal magnetometer themes.

Tomiko Takahashi Belonging to the R&D department and is in charge of system control development for copier mechanism control and measuring equipment, and development of environmental impact assessment technology. Currently is in charge of environmental aspects such as environmental impact assessment and strategies for new businesses.

Ricoh does business in line with European standard

Oda:Your company started exports to Europe earlier than other companies. Therefore, I assume you have been dealt with a high environmental standard which is not required in Japan.

Mr. Yamakawa:Yes. For instance, we started introducing Life Cycle Assessment(LCA) much earlier. We have a measurement to wholly evaluate the process from making the raw materials to throwing them away, not just producing the products themselves and using them.

Oda:It is the sphere Ms. Takahashi is in charge. There is few company that make a position for LCA as far as I know, and I feel it while listening to so many people in enterprises. I think the way you perceive environment and actions you take become the brand and culture of Ricoh, which has been fostered by the high standard required and by dealing with it responsibly.

More environmentally friendly products through LCA

Ms. Takahashi:You are right. I am mainly responsible for the means to calculate the environmental cost such as LCA and so on in environmental sector. It is used to calculate the environmental impact of our products, including the parts and raw materials that make up the products, and to reduce and improve the impact during actual manufacturing. Compared to conventional products, we are working to improve our products to make them more environmentally friendly.

Oda:Mr. Yamakawa, you are in charge of purchasing sector within new business projects.

Mr. Yamakawa:Yes, I am. We are working on new projects in several themes, and from the perspective of environmental regulations, we are gathering information and trends related to domestic and international regulations. Depending on the theme, some of our products are to be sold domestically and some are to be developed overseas. We hope to grasp domestic and overseas information in advance so that we can use it as material for considering whether we can proceed with development as is or whether we need to change materials depending on the region in which the product is to be sold.

Oda: Regulations can differ greatly between Japan and other countries, so we need to be especially careful when expanding overseas.

Mr. Yamakawa: Yes, the standards for environmental regulations differ greatly between Europe and the United States, and Japan.

I used to be involved in purchasing parts for copiers, but since we were selling them all over the world, we had to select parts that would meet various environmental standards.

On the other hand, a new business may start with domestic sales and then consider overseas sales. In such cases, we must take care of whether the specifications are acceptable as they are or whether they need to be changed. There are many things to consider, such as whether the parts are OK and whether the suppliers should be the same. In addition, regulations change on a daily basis, so it is essential to gather information so that we can respond to them as much as possible.

Catch up with regulation trends updated every day

Oda:It is very important to gain the information on Europe and the States in order to know the various regulations, not only the domestic information.

Ms. Takahashi: Both are important. It is easy to find domestic information, but when it comes to overseas information, it is very difficult to search through the database, so I use RuleWatcher.

I used RuleWatcher to find out what kind of regulations and trends are related to PLAiR, a foam sheet made from biodegradable PLA (polylactic acid) and other materials, and how it can contribute to in a global perspective.

Ms. Takahashi: PLAiR is almost 100% plant-derived, but even so, there is room for thought. For example, the edible/non-edible trend: the raw material for PLAiR is starch/sugar derived from feed corn, but depending on how we view the food system, we may need to consider the raw material in the future. Since "Food System" category was just added to RuleWatcher, I have set up an alert email to check it and see what information is relevant.

Oda:As you specify, food system is one of the spheres we must pay attention to from now on. Also, I feel that even to make one product, the spheres are cross-sectional and you have to see climate change and food system, for example.

Being in the front line, latest information is constantly necessary

Ms. Takahashi: It is good to see early on that new regulations are going to be like this. For example, the same is true for edible and inedible as I mentioned earlier. At first, materials like PLAiR are created because carbon neutral is good for the environment, and then a new discussion about edible or inedible is born. Knowing what regulatory trends are likely to emerge next will give us an idea of what we need to check out outside of the areas we have been looking at.

Oda: That is an interesting story. From your talk, I understand that when you try to make a new product, you need to make it not only for convenience, such as "good performance" or "usefulness," but also in accordance with the rules set by each country, right? I imagine that the level of difficulty has increased considerably.

Mr. Yamakawa: Yes, that's right. In the case of copiers, we already have what we have accumulated over several decades, and we only need to consider how to respond to new regulations, but for new businesses, we are trying to respond in line with the product characteristics of new businesses based on what we have developed in copiers.

Oda:You are making the rules on "how to purchase",

Mr. Yamakawa:Yes. In the case of copiers, we already have a standard for selecting suppliers, but we are creating a separate standard for new businesses. We are planning to quickly incorporate information on overseas regulations, compile information on what is to be adhered to as a new business and what needs to be added, and build a solid selection standard.

Oda:Thank you very much, Mr. Yamakawa and Ms. Takahashi.

Join the RuleWatcher community!

RuleWatcher® is designed as a place where people who want to solve environmental and social issues can bring together their different knowledge based on primary information and seek solutions so that one solution does not lead to another problem. We invite you to join this new community of diverse people from all over the world who come together around global issues.


bottom of page