Monday, April 20, 2009

Global 100; Ricoh makes the list for the 5th year in a row…

In a press release that reads “RICOH MAKES "GLOBAL 100" LIST FOR 5th YEAR IN A ROW “Ricoh touts that they have earned this prestigious award for the fifth time. The Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World is a project initiated by Corporate Knights Inc. (a Canadian magazine focusing on corporate social responsibility) and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, (research firm that sells information), and is a list of companies that are the world’s most sustainable. A sustainable corporation is defined as a company “that produce an overall positive impact on society and the environment."

“We believe that a company’s ability to manage its extra-financial aspects, such as those related to environmental, labour, and human rights, is a powerful proxy and a leading indicator for its overall management quality. Management quality, in turn, is the single greatest determinant of companies’ financial performance. The aim of this initiative is thus to promote better managed and better performing corporations regarding sustainability issues.” – Selection from the Global 100’s Mission Statement.

The list has been maintained since 2000 and this is Ricoh’s 5th year to make the grade. At first I was a bit leery about this list but after further review seen that Forbes and others have written about this list and its validity. “The list is not a ranking. It looks only at AAA-rated corporations that can be considered models of sustainability, and they are picked to cover a broad range of industries.” – Forbes Article 100 Corporations That Will Survive 100 Years

In Ricoh’s press release they talk about some of the factors that got Ricoh on the list and the importance that they put on sustainability. “One of the overwhelming factors in Ricoh’s favor was the company’s "Year 2050 Extra-Long-Term Environmental Vision," and how its current management strategies all support this initiative. Ricoh’s strong performance in the other three key indicators also contributed to its inclusion in this year’s list.” – Ricoh’s website

In a world where almost all competitive companies have an environmental policy, social responsibility policy it only makes sense that they parley this “mission statement” into a forward thinking sustainability movement. It is top of mind as workers that we seek employment from someone that is “sustainable.” Now more than ever newly unemployed are looking for somewhere to hang their hat that they can feel comfortable that they will not have to pick it up at the end of the day. Not only do workers want a safe place to work, they are also the same consumers that speak with their pocket books.

The sad thing is as applaud-able as a “Global 100” is it is very subjective and the organizations that put the list together didn’t give a methodology that is beyond reproach in fact it is a bit vague. The entire list could be pure hyperbole and an elaborate marketing scheme to help promote more products/services via advertising and elaborate analysis reports. One would hope that we would have enough real motivators to promote companies that can produce for the long haul but in a world of “quick thinking,” everything is suspect.

Ricoh on the other hand has had a long standing environmental policy and has actively been a forward thinking corporation that strongly thinks “green.” It will be interesting to see how this list produces against the Dow Jones industrial average and MSCI World Index over time. It is interesting to note that this list changes dramatically from year to year so one would wonder how sustainable the “lost companies” were. Although this list is more art than science there is a lot of “witchcraft” involved as everyone is being graded on a curve and not truly compared to each other and with no true standard set as a goal or “perfectly sustainable company.”

As companies look to “make a difference,” and to “make headlines” more and more we will hear of their efforts. As important as they are to the overall impact that a company has both good and bad to our environment they also impact the bottom line and affect their investors. Let’s hope this list helps to motivate corporations in the right direction and not just to spend more in “disinformation advertising.”

Pirate Mike

For more information on Ricoh’s sustainability efforts one can look to:

Digg my article

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