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Digital Responsibility for a sustainable society

Social innovations and digital solutions to help tackle climate change

In the wake of the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations and the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, many private sector organisations have begun to align their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) targets with the Accord; Konica Minolta goes further.

Konica Minolta are a brand that place a great deal of importance on acting in a sustainable manner. With Velinda Cox, General Manager of Global Business explaining, “Sustainability to me means that we have a place for my grandchildren to thrive. Sustainability to me means that everybody is part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

The company is making a commitment to create the values for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and to be using 100% renewable energy by 2050. In order to meet these targets Konica Minolta has recently rebranded with an aim to ‘Rethink’ how sustainability can be incorporated into their operations. Currently there is a concerted effort being made to encourage employees to be more sustainable on a day-to-day level, with the company doing its part as Velinda Cox explains. “Konica Minolta’s doing a lot of things to encourage our employees to be sustainable and to create that environment of awareness; whether it’s biking to work, focus on electric cars – we have stations where people can plug in. In our US operation headquarters we have solar panels that cover the entire parking lot where we’re putting energy back on the grid.”

All levels of the company are being engaged in the effort, with access to information across geographical areas and situations in need of direct input from stakeholders – company executives and individuals alike – made available by an Environmental Management System. This allows people in the company to work out where their priorities lie in the effort to be sustainable and to act accordingly.

An innovation agenda means that Konica Minolta products are being built to be sustainable, the impact noticeable across company workspaces. “Konica Minolta has a long history and, all the time, innovation is an important part of Konica Minolta.” Says Keiji Okamoto, President of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe. With offices in 49 countries worldwide, the multinational technology company can offer its customers more sustainable products and solutions, making customers themselves more sustainable and having an effect beyond the company’s internal efforts.

Konica Minolta is using the need for sustainable action to inform its philanthropic work in other nations. Velinda Cox explained that, instead of giving gifts, all attendees at a recent meeting bought trees in Kenya. “We also enable small businesses in poverty-stricken areas by giving them a tree where they can actually start a business – they can sell the fruit as the tree starts to bear and that gives them sustainability in their community.” Such sustainable practices are indicative of Konica Minolta’s broader commitment to sustainability by improving the lives of communities well beyond their usual consumer base.

At the end of the day, it is simple and expedient for companies to commit to changing to more sustainable operations. Increasing pressure from the public means that such changes are a growing necessity to ensure continued patronage from the consumer base. However, Konica Minolta are proving that it is possible to be sustainable as a company and have a positive impact on the wider planet and communities alike.

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