Ricoh electronic service company talks about benchmarking and BITCs CR Index

When Ricoh learned they were one of only a few companies to achieve top scores in the CR Index this year [2017], they were naturally delighted at the news. Ricoh is a Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company that provides document services, consulting, software and hardware to businesses around the world. We caught up with James Deacon, Head of Corporate Responsibility, People & CR to discuss how benchmarking as a measurement discipline aligns to the company's CR strategy.

What does it mean to your company to be awarded 5 stars in our Corporate Responsibility Index? James Deacon_Ricoh

This year marks the successful achievement of Ricoh's long-term target to score 99% and 5 stars within the CR Index, recognising our continued efforts to improve both our performance and our external reputation as a responsible business.  Now that we've reached 99% and 5 stars the 'journey' doesn't stop but - paradoxically - gets even tougher as we seek to maintain this high level of performance through further increasing the depth and breadth of our Responsible Business programme.

Why did you feel it was important to participate and to benchmark yourselves , and what will it mean for your organisation going forward?

Ricoh has always strived to be a leader in Responsible Business, to always seek continuous improvement and the best way to do this is to learn from others.  We commenced our 'journey' with the CR Index in 2011, using it primarily as an annual gap analysis and benchmarking tool, with the added bonus of a nationally recognised credential and ratings system as well, from which to drive continuous improvement.  In the early years of our CR Index participation we initiated one-to-one peer benchmarking meetings with many high-performing CR Index participant organisations, asking if they'd be prepared to share some of their Responsible Business best practices to help close some of Ricoh's 'gaps' identified within our CR Index Feedback assessments.  We were pleasantly surprised by just how willingly and transparently such information and expertise was volunteered, and which really accelerated our performance improvement for a number of Responsible Business strategic initiatives, e.g. Sustainability Reporting, community investment, employee volunteering, diversity & inclusion.
Going forward, Ricoh would willingly share best practice information with other BITC member organisations interested in enhancing their own Responsible Business programme, whilst also recognising that Ricoh is always striving to learn and improve and, as mentioned earlier, we are continuing to further increase the depth and breadth of our Responsible Business programme.

How do you actively seek to integrate responsible business principles and practice throughout your operations and company strategy?

Ricoh's Responsible Business principles and practice are integrated throughout our operations and strategy by means of our long-standing strong Responsible Business working culture, stemming from our Ricoh Code of Conduct and reinforced through our five core Company Values:

  • Ethics & Integrity
  • Customer-centricity
  • Teamwork
  • Winning Spirit
  • Innovation

Ricoh operates a Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee, comprised of the CEO, Director of People & CR, Finance Director and the Head of CR.  The committee directly shapes Ricoh's Responsible Business strategic direction, impacting areas such as current and future marketplace needs, future technologies, supplier engagement, workforce planning, talent development, diversity and inclusion, environmental and societal issues.  The Responsible Business strategy is deployed to the business through projects, programmes, communications and practical 'hands on' opportunities for employees at all levels to get involved.
All employees are encouraged to volunteer during working hours, with a Company strategy to support and enable such volunteering through our dedicated Community Investment Manager and a network of Ricoh Corporate Responsibility Champions across our business.  All employees can take up to two days 'volunteer leave' additional to their Annual Leave, to donate skill and expertise to good causes aligned to our three CSR strategic themes: Environmental Conservation, Raising The Next Generation and Community Development.

Ultimately, what does being a responsible business mean to you?

For Ricoh, being a Responsible Business is very simply 'Doing the right thing' in all aspects of business conduct.  This requires engagement with all stakeholders to understand their requirements and their areas of importance and interest.  It requires continued internal and external monitoring of our strategic direction and how such strategy is translated into action, making sure that our actions and behaviours are consistent with our good intentions, as well as ensuring that we are creating positive impacts and outcomes.

Business in the Community’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) Index is a robust tool to help companies systematically measure, manage and integrate responsible business practice. It does this by conducting a gap analysis, benchmarking against industry peers, and recognising and communicating achievement.​  Learn more about the CR Index and our Advisory Services.