Case Study from Canon Singapore: Towards Building a Sustainable Enterprise

November 9, 201610:31 am797 views

In recent years, the role of corporations has increased in importance due to growing awareness and societal expectations. Besides financial accountability to stakeholders, ever-diversifying responsibilities, profit maximisation and so forth, consumers still expect corporations to demonstrate business sustainability. It is a practice not just confined to economic viability, but also strong commitment to the environment and society.

For instance, Canon has adopted kyosei as its corporate philosophy since 1988 to fulfil responsibilities to society and build relationships with customers, business partners, communities and the global environment. Kyosei means living and working together for the common good, influencing business values, how companies treat people and the activities companies undertake to serve the community at large.

How Canon Brings Sustainability to its Business

At Canon, we believe that in order to become a truly excellent global corporation that is admired and respected by stakeholders around the world we must not only advance our business activities but also contribute to the realisation of a better society as a good corporate citizen.

In carrying out CSR activities, we capitalise on advanced technological strengths, global business deployment, and diverse, specialised human resources. At the same time, we believe in sharing and practicing a common understanding of the Canon CSR beliefs across the Canon Group global workforce, while having the flexibility to partake in activities that best serve the needs of the local communities.

Similar to what Canon has done, there are many different ways businesses can enhance their sustainability efforts.

Businesses can look at developing new technologies, products and solutions, services that fulfil the needs of the customer and provide solutions to social issues at the same time. During the development process, businesses can consider working with universities and research institutions to create products and services that deliver value to the community.

As the threat of climate change from global warming increases, there is an urgent need to be aware of the impact that operational activities have on the environment. Our bid to lower carbon emissions and offer cutting-edge sustainable business solutions to our customers begins at the inception of product design.

We build on our advanced technological strengths, investment in continuous research for even more innovation solutions and insights on the wide-ranging impact raw materials and smart design has on the community. For example, the Canon image RUNNER ADVANCE C5500i series of multi-function devices employs bio-degradable materials in manufacturing and incorporates green technology and other energy-saving features. This is an example of how businesses can innovate with sustainability in mind.

In addition, businesses can look at stimulating local communities and economies through job creation. By focusing on local employment when establishing or expanding production bases, businesses can grow and prosper together with members of the community, building better ties as we move forward with globalisation.

Case Studies of Sustainable Businesses in Singapore

There are many cases of sustainable businesses in Singapore and the region. Since 2009, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) organises the Singapore Sustainability Awards (SSA) to recognise the most innovative and impactful sustainable and green practices deployed by organisations in Singapore.

Among the remarkable winners of the 2015 awards was personal product giant Kimberly-Clark, who was recently praised for its efforts in water reduction and for investing significantly to support the water needs of the communities, in which the firm operates. In Asia Pacific, they achieved 40 percent reduction in absolute water consumption and a 15 percent reduction in absolute greenhouse gas emissions (both against a 2010 baseline) for the business.

Canon, which won the Green Technology Award in 2015, had an interesting case study. This effort was jointly supported by National Environment Agency (NEA), National Library Board (NLB) and Canon. All three came together for a project called Project Homecoming, which encouraged Canon and other printer manufacturers to start a national recycling programme for ink and toner cartridges.

This project aimed to foster a recycling culture within the community by bringing greater convenience to the public who are keen to make a personal contribution to recycling efforts across the island, and really helped the different partners with bringing good to the society.

A move towards sustainability is not an immediate change. The move requires commitment from the company management and incorporating the sustainability mind-set as part of the company’s strategy. It is a journey of discovery and each company will be at different points in this journey.


But what is certain is like all journeys, there are discoveries to be made and ensuring sustainability in the business equation creates value for the business.  This further ensures the best possible way to achieve prosperity for longevity and growth, while maintaining harmony with society and the environment.


Author credit: Vincent Low, Director and General Manager of Business Imaging Solutions, Canon Singapore


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