Highlights 2 Toward Sustainable Paper Procurement
How to supply customers with paper that is compatible with the requirements of environmental and social sustainability? This has become a critical question amid the rise in social concern regarding deforestation. As a company whose core business is document services, problems occurring upstream in the paper supply chain have prompted us to reexamine our responsibilities in the paper business. This section introduces initiatives taken by Fuji Xerox based on its belief in the importance of pursuing unified efforts involving manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.
|Annual loss of natural forests worldwide||About 13 million hectaresNote 1 |
(About one-third of Japan’s total land area)
|Share of FSC®Note 2certified wood in forests worldwide||About 5 percentNote 3|
|Fuji Xerox adopts its first Paper Procurement Regulation Standards.||2004|
|On-site checking of paper suppliers completed by Fuji Xerox||100 percent|
- Note 1 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010." Data for 2000–2010.
- Note 2 The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certifies wood and paper products produced based on environmentally responsible forestry practices that take into account benefits for local communities and economic sustainability. Consumers can indirectly support the preservation of the world’s forests by purchasing FSC® certified products.
- Note 3 Computed based on Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010," and Japan's Forestry Agency, "Summary of the World's Major Forestry Certification Systems."
Social Issues Related to Logging
Forest resources that provide the raw material for paper can be sustained as a renewable resource if properly managed. On the other hand, inappropriate logging can lead to serious social and environmental problems. It not only destroys the living environment of local communities but also threatens biodiversity and can have a grave impact on global warming and climate change.
In paper manufacturing, FSC® certification and other systems exist for ensuring that raw materials come from properly managed forests. But this has not delivered a fundamental solution because only about 5 percent of the world's forest resources are certified. Various countries have responded to this situation by enacting laws and mechanisms banning trading in illegally logged lumber. The United States and Australia have followed the lead of the European Union to introduce penalties against such illegal trading.
The paper used for multifunction devices and printers constitutes a vital product supporting the core business of Fuji Xerox as a company focused on document services. Recognizing this, we have been involved in promoting the proper management of forest resources for a number of years. For example, in 1996, we invested in a plantation project in New Zealand and have been selling eco-conscious paper based exclusively on lumber from this source and used paper.
In 2004, Fuji Xerox adopted Environmental, Health, and Safety Requirements regarding Paper Procurement ("Paper Procurement Regulation Standards"), establishing key requirements for suppliers, including the traceability of raw materials and the environmental management of manufacturing plants. Our management has consistently believed that achieving stable procurement of our paper products while ensuring social sustainability and harmony with local communities is a basic precondition for our business.
New Forms of Responsibility
Fuji Xerox was deeply affected when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported in August 2011 that inappropriate logging by a major paper manufacturer had destroyed forests and seriously impacted neighboring communities. The Australian sales company of Fuji Xerox was named as a buyer of paper from this manufacturer. ABC carried the report just as Fuji Xerox was requesting the manufacturer to improve its relations with local residents and environmental NGOs based on its Paper Procurement Regulation Standards.
Customer responses to this report were strong and immediate. Fuji Xerox was cast as being involved in inappropriate logging and as acting indirectly to undermine the environment and local communities. Fuji Xerox and its Australian sales company lost no time in consulting outside experts and environmental NGOs, which led us to sincerely recognize the impact of our business activities on society. Based on this we made the management decision that, regardless of intent, Fuji Xerox must not allow its business activities to have a negative impact on the environment and local communities. We suspended all transactions with the manufacturer in question and embarked on formulating fundamental measures to prevent recurrence. In formulating these measures, we were acutely aware of a series of challenges. First was the importance of accepting responsibility for the entire supply chain and targeting it for our CSR activities. Second, assessing paper as just another product does not solve anything. Finally, we realized it was essential to share our concern for proper management of forest resources with manufacturers and to encourage them to foster a culture of taking the initiative in solving problems.
With this in mind, Fuji Xerox revised its Paper Procurement Regulation Standards in May 2012, replacing the practice of simple assessment of paper products with a new standard for the comprehensive assessment of suppliers against such CSR aspects as "environment," "rights of local residents," and "corporate ethics"(Supplier Criteria). Under this system, procurement is restricted to suppliers that satisfy the standard set by Fuji Xerox. Manufacturers able to supply paper at an acceptable price and quality are further checked for overall management, including CSR performance. Transactions are suspended if problems are found from the perspective of social or environmental sustainability.
To include the views of public in the assessment process, ar rangement s were made to incorporate the opinions of environmental NGOs. To prevent the assessment from becoming a mere formality, Fuji Xerox conducted on-site checks of the manufacturing facilities of domestic and overseas suppliers to confirm the conditions on the suppliers' front lines.
"We have always acted with speed to achieve socially responsible paper procurement," says corporate Advisor of Fuji Xerox InterField Ken Watanabe who has long been involved in the paper businesses of Fuji Xerox. "Adopting the Paper Procurement Regulation Standards in 2004 is a case in point. We had no previous experience with on-site inspection of paper plants, and creating a new system was not easy. But once the system was in place, we persisted with the PDCA cycle and made necessary adjustments and improvements. Keeping an initiative like this going takes commitment and a lot of effort. What fuels our drive is the Fuji Xerox philosophy that the customer comes first at all times."
In addition to revising the procurement standards and launching on-site checks, a Committee for Socially Responsible Paper Procurement was established as a companywide body to monitor and manage related activities on the executive level. Committee members are drawn from Fuji Xerox and its affiliate Fuji Xerox InterField, overseas sales companies, as well as domestic and international affiliates involved in paper procurement and sales.
The committee periodically checks paper suppliers for compliance with the Paper Procurement Regulation Standards and speedily determines countermeasures when compliance is in doubt. The committee meets to discuss methods for on-site checking, and receives and reviews reports on the compliance status of paper suppliers. In its deliberations, it has decided to continue the suspension of procurement from two suppliers that have not made satisfactory improvements.
Promoting the Selection of Sustainable Paper
Involving all suppliers in programs for socially responsible paper procurement is vital to accelerating the appropriate management of forest resources. In addition to improvements on the supply side, it is important to encourage customers and society as a whole to opt for the use of sustainable paper that is environmentally and socially friendly. Supporting customers in making the right choice is a responsibility that falls on us. There are encouraging signs of change as some customers are beginning to add environmental and social friendliness to cost and quality criteria in their selection of paper.
In November 2013, Response Ability, Inc. and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Japan joined five Japanese companiesNote 4 to form the Consortium for Sustainable Paper Use. Comprising a number of companies that are major end-users of paper, the Consortium aims to expand and encourage the use of sustainable paper throughout society. Its procurement policies and other basic principles accord with those of Fuji Xerox. To support the spread of this movement, we believe Fuji Xerox must take action in relation to our customers on two fronts. First, we must convey to them the importance of selecting environmentally and socially friendly paper. Second, we must endeavor to offer sustainable paper at appropriate prices and quality.
"Paper represents the most heavily used material in banking," says Chief Sustainability Officer Tsukasa Kanai who is in charge of CSR at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Ltd., a member of the Consortium. "Thus, paper holds a very important position in the supply chain management of banks. The problem is that we use a very wide variety of paper to meet specific needs. Dealing with a broad range of suppliers makes total traceability difficult to achieve. This is why we have high hopes for the program launched by Fuji Xerox. We also hope that this movement will spread to include companies that handle a wider variety of paper than just copy paper. Ultimately, we need to create a society where consumers are empowered to make ethical choices on the use of paper."
"With its business links to both end-users and paper manufacturers, Fuji Xerox is in a particularly advantageous position to promote the spread of ‘sustainable paper,'" says Mr. Sadayoshi Tobai, Conservation Director at WWF Japan. "We feel that Fuji Xerox can play a very big role, and we hope that initiatives taken by Fuji Xerox will help set a new social standard. To succeed, we would like to see continued efforts on the part of Fuji Xerox conveying the value of this undertaking to both customers and suppliers." As a company positioned in the middle of the supply chain, Fuji Xerox aims to contribute to the resolution of problems related to forestry as well as paper by interacting with both suppliers and customers.
- Note 4 Two companies were added to the Consortium in June 2014.
Commitment of Fuji Xerox
As a company positioned in the middle of the supply chain, Fuji Xerox aims to contribute to the resolution of problems related to forestry as well as paper by interacting with both suppliers and customers.
"Supplying sustainable paper that is both environmentally and socially responsible is an integral aspect of social responsibility for Fuji Xerox," says Director and Executive Vice President Katsuhiko Yanagawa, chair of the Committee for Socially Responsible Paper Procurement, as he explains the future direction of the Company's policies. "Naturally, we need to thoroughly manage the paper used inside our own company. But it is equally important to work toward solving the problem by developing a shared awareness of the importance of this initiative with suppliers and customers. We are committed to continuing to actively inform the public, both in Japan and overseas, of our ongoing initiatives and to sustaining our activities for ensuring the proper conservation and use of forest resources in the paper business.
"Fuji Xerox will continue to dedicate itself to promoting efforts to share common CSR values with customers and suppliers of paper and realize a sustainable society.