Sustainable business transformation – Konica Minolta’s formula for future leadership
Climate change is one of the most immediate global concerns triggered by humanity. The planet is undergoing dramatic changes which already have severe consequences for the ecosystems and society at large. Companies worldwide are realising their crucial role in achieving social and, possibly even more important, environmental goals, particularly in combating climate change. However, many companies struggle as they face the complexity of bringing together profitability and a positive environmental and social impact. What has to be at the core of such an effort, however, is a clear strategy and full commitment to it.
Where beneficial from a sustainability stand point, Konica Minolta therefore strives to capitalise on its culture of constant innovation to develop and apply digital solutions to contribute to the protection of the planet. At the heart of the approach is a detailed strategy of how Konica Minolta can contribute best, leveraging its strengths on the different levels of the organisation, and setting ambitious goals and their realisation with strong partnerships. This strategy entails the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and participation in the 50 Climate Leaders circle and its own initiatives, while corporate-wise, the processes have been optimised with regard to economic, social and environmental performance. Regardless of whether it is global programmes or activities on regional (European) and local (country) levels, Konica Minolta contributes on every level of its organisation. Konica Minolta even went a step further and added digital responsibility as another element to its sustainability initiatives. This also includes concepts of how digitalisation can be done in a more sustainable way or can be used for sustainable solutions. Its vision is to create value for its customers with relevant solutions by solving issues faced by society. Although sustainability requires continuous effort and progress, current results show how promising this path can be both from an economic and ecological perspective.
It is, thankfully, an outdated and oversimplified belief that commitment to the climate is automatically a burden on business. A focus on sustainability inherently entails concentrating on efficiency, and leads to the optimisation of existing processes in the organisation. It sheds light on potential for improvement, for example with regard to optimised resource and energy use and leaner processes. Additionally, one’s own focus on needs for sustainability can inspire the creation of products and services fulfilling other companies’ needs for improving their sustainability. It therefore leads to new business opportunities.
Scientific findings highly support this. First, commitment within the company itself is necessary, as corporate governance (internal and external) is crucial for the environmental governance of a company. This underlines the importance of a proactive way for every company. Also, considering the consequences of neglecting the needs for sustainability, the economic potential of a sustainability economy is huge: in their 2018 report, the UNFCCC found that the economy may gain USD 26 trillion when protecting the climate, compared to doing nothing. As research shows, it may be a profitable way to contribute to a more sustainable world. However, the way in which it is done is crucial. Haller-Mangold states in this context: “Konica Minolta believes in the huge potential of a sustainable business. We know that meeting ecological and social challenges means we all need to pull our weight together by making good progress, learning a lot and sharing experience and know-how with others.” This strategy develops a strong approach as to how Konica Minolta can benefit the climate – and how every company can implement this.
Leveraging a company’s strengths for the highest impact
Economy today is highly diversified – naturally, different players have different strengths and potentials when it comes to improving the social and environmental status quo. For example, an agricultural firm can optimise land use, resources and environmentally friendly production processes, while an IT company may focus on energy use, developing digital solutions that reduce the need for travel, and so on. Hence, Konica Minolta focuses on the creation of social and economic values based on innovations, such as digital solutions to foster sustainability that can only be provided through the expertise of their own organisation. The maxim of these technological and digital solutions for Konica Minolta is that their advantages for sustainability should always be greater than then the impact they have for implementation.
As the most renowned supranational organisation, the United Nations is able to shape worldwide efforts from a political side and has developed a global holistic strategy to overcome the main challenges of our time. The 17 SDGs are a wide framework with defined goals that tackle problems on an environmental, economic and social level. Companies play an essential part in realising these goals.
“The UN’s SDGs offer an excellent orientation for determining where your organisation may have the greatest impact with resources and levers available to contribute to a sustainable society”, Haller-Mangold says, elaborating on the benefits of having such a frame. Konica Minolta conducted a thorough analysis of the 17 SDGs for optimising the sustainability of its activities, particularly on a European level. As a result, six particular goals were placed in focus: Climate Action, Responsible Production and Consumption, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Partnerships for the Goals. Haller-Mangold explains with regard to the strategy: “While of course not losing sight of all 17 SDGs, we as Konica Minolta determined that we can contribute particularly well to reaching these goals. On this basis, we have defined specific targets for ourselves in these fields and set up a wide range of activities to successfully pursue them.”
A strategic approach to reaching your goals
Konica Minolta then determined the necessary approaches to contribute to reaching these goals on a European and local level, building and expanding on existing activities. The IT specialist defined the field of climate action as one of the most important SDGs and is hence laying a special focus on the topics throughout its measures.
Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment. If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.
Fulfilling its responsibility in this field, Konica Minolta has ambitious aims such as Eco Vision 2050 for reducing CO2 emission by 80% by 2050 compared to 2005, or to join RE100 and commit to sourcing 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2050. On the European level, Konica Minolta defined three ways to take action on climate change – realised on the corporate and product level.
First, avoiding and reducing energy consumption. This includes the aim of increasing energy efficiency while cutting CO2 emissions. Hence in Europe, the overall consumption of energy has been reduced. Decreased pollution and increased efficiency by transportation of goods via inland vessel or train and through consolidation of shipment is one decisive factor. Also, our MFPs have a low TEC value, as acknowledged by the Blue Angel label. With its deeply rooted innovation culture, Konica Minolta is able to utilise its products and knowledge to develop and sell products that combine unique customer benefits with improved sustainability. Take AIRe Lens, for example, a wearable augmented reality solution – smart glasses that optimise assembly and manufacturing processes for the customer. At the same time, the solution makes remote support intuitive and powerful – as if the support is effectively there. This significantly cuts service times and reduces the need for travel by service employees, saving CO2 emissions. Additionally, Konica Minolta contributes to a greener office with bizhub ECO, which is a solution to effectively reduce energy and resources consumption through smart printing rules, highlight this.
As Keypoint Intelligence stated in its last “market and vendor insights analysis” for sustainability in the printing sector, Konica Minolta was very strong in a variety of fields: “Konica Minolta scored highly across four major segments of sustainability. Product innovations range from indoor air quality to reduce emissions through to service packages such as the ‘bizhub ECO’, which is comprised of eco settings, carbon neutrality and tree sponsorship. smartChain is a solution that leverages blockchain technology and big data to involve customers in the management of their toner cartridges and consumable supply chain. The differentiator for both of these solutions is that the end customer is introduced to these services and becomes the acting stakeholder – a clever method to spread action to new groups.”
Second, where energy is needed, Konica Minolta aims to substitute CO2 emitting power sources with green energy. With the overall goal of having 100% renewable energy at major European sites, the major sites like the European and German headquarters Langenhagen, one server facility in Hannover and all German offices are already supplied with 100% green energy.
In case of unavoidable CO2 emissions, Konica Minolta aims to compensate them while increasing turnover for sustainability solutions – this is the third way. Therefore, the IT specialist has partnered with ClimatePartner since 2015 to support Gold Standard-certified projects. Since 2015, more than 19 million kilograms of CO2 have been compensated for and Konica Minolta currently supports the project of a wind energy park in Aruba. Included is the European Leadership Campus event is carbon neutral. In addition, the whole business in the Netherlands is carbon neutral. A major achievement is that Konica Minolta Europe has been a carbon neutral company since 2018.
Involving and considering the entirety of the organisation
Some organisational levels are often overproportionately concentrated when pursuing a sustainability approach, frequently as they are closer linked to the headquarters where decisions are being made. In the case of an international organisation, this can for example lead to many measures being taken on a global level while the regional and local levels are underrepresented.
Such a structure may also be beneficial to the strategy when applied on every level. Due to the international setup of Konica Minolta, the company is able to contribute actively on several levels: on the global level with Konica Minolta Inc. with headquarters in Japan, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe located in Langenhagen, Germany, as well as the national companies in each country.
“While the production of our printers, for example, is controlled by our global organisation, we on a European level focus on the activities with which we can particularly optimise our sales infrastructure as well as our organisation in Europe with regard to sustainability. For instance, we further provide our local country organisations with guidance and help them share their best practices with each other,” explains Olaf Lorenz.
This can be suitable for every company or environmentally active player: when knowing the “how”, commitment can be made much more precisely, making it more realistic to reach goals. In this situation, when everyone brings in unique strengths, a strong network develops that masters the tasks jointly.
Strong partnerships for success
Having strong partnerships is core to the overall business strategy of Konica Minolta and translates optimally to commitment for sustainability. For Konica Minolta, the SDG “Partnerships for the Goals” is not just a target but also lays at the core of achieving its sustainability vision. With different partners, Konica Minolta is able to benefit on various occasions.
The 50 Climate Leaders are an important pillar of this strategy. The initiative from the private sector united in order to show commitment to the economic landscape and to act as a community in counteracting global climate change. In March 2020, Konica Minolta will join a summit of the 50 Climate Leaders, moderated by the United Nations. “Participating in a group of ambitious companies creates a mutually encouraging environment and enables knowledge transfer on a global level, making a huge audience aware of the topic as well”, Haller-Mangold says, addressing the weight of the network.
The partnership with Treedom is another example for a successful cooperation: the social business encourages everyone to plant trees to fight climate change and support a social cause. Konica Minolta contributes to the initiative by linking it to their ecologic products: for every bizhub ECO sold, a tree is planted in the Konica Minolta forest in Kenya. Treedom not only promotes reforestation: since female small farmers are core to the commitment, gender equality is also supported.
The arguably most important partnership for Konica Minolta remains the one with its customers. As Konica Minolta aims to provide its customers with the best possible solution, it also aims to support them to achieve their sustainability targets – they are, after all, core to the sustainability strategy of Konica Minolta. For example, the IT specialist offers the effective compensation programme “Enabling Carbon Neutrality” together with ClimatePartner, to support its customers in their sustainability goals. Since the start of the offer in 2015 Konica Minolta helped its customer to compensate more than 10 million kilogrammes of CO2.
An ongoing process – non-stop evolution and improvement
We know that our approach and goals are ambitious and that we haven’t yet reached all of our targets, but we are proud to have such commitment to overcome the main challenges of our time – with our solutions, knowledge and digital technology. This is a process where everyone needs to contribute their strengths, and we constantly need to reflect critically on our actions. However, we are fully confident that our way will lead to success – economically and ecologically. The first results highlight that.
As an innovator in ICT, Konica Minolta can rely on its solutions and knowledge to support its strategy, as innovating and evolving is core to its business and sustainability strategy. As already seen, a business can be empowered to unite economic success and sustainable business. With the right strategy and commitment, everyone can meet their responsibility to tackle climate change.
More information here.
 Corporate Governance and Environmental Performance: A Systematic Overview; Miroshnychenko, Ivan; Barontini, Roberto; Testa, Francesco; 2019
 Climate Smart Growth Could Deliver 26 Trillion USD to 2030, Finds Global Commission; UNFCCC; 2018
 Keypoint Intelligence, MARKET AND VENDOR INSIGHTS SUSTAINABILITY; September 2019
About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe
Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. Konica Minolta enables its clients to champion the digital era: with its unique imaging expertise and data processing capabilities, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers and solves issues faced by society. As a provider of comprehensive IT services, Konica Minolta delivers consultancy and services to optimise business processes with workflow automation. The company further offers its customers solutions and managed services in the field of IT infrastructure and IT security as well as cloud environments. With regard to its office printing solutions, ‘IDC MarketScape: Western Europe Smart Multifunctional Peripheral 2018 Vendor Assessment’ stated that Konica Minolta is ‘recognised globally as a leading smart MFP provider of note’. As a strong partner for the professional printing market, Konica Minolta offers business consulting, state-of-the-art technology and software and has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa (InfoSource). In the healthcare sector, Konica Minolta drives digitalisation of clinical workflows and offers a broad range of next-level diagnostic solutions. Its Business Innovation Centre in London and four R & D laboratories in Europe enable Konica Minolta to bring innovation forward by collaborating with its customers as well as academic, industrial and entrepreneurial partners. For its solutions that combine ‘smart service with smart technology’, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘Buyers Lab PaceSetter Award for Outstanding Serviceability 2018/2019’ from Keypoint Intelligence. Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With almost 10,300 employees (as of April 2019), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over EUR 2.39 billion in financial year 2018/19.
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