Konica Minolta’s digital innovation converges with social
Shoei Yamana, President & CEO, Konica Minolta, Inc
Konica Minolta’s Vision is to be a global company that is vital to society. To this end, we undertake business activities that have the potential to deliver new solutions for the environmental and other challenges facing the world. With the core technologies and knowhow we have built up over decades, we believe that we can develop new products and services that will make a significant contribution to the global society. Many of our current business solutions target the reduction of environmental burden and energy use. It is our experience that by pursuing innovations that benefit society, we ensure our own sustainable growth as a global corporation.
Contributing to the SDGs through digital innovation
When the United Nations adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, expectations were high that businesses would take actions to help usher in this new era. Konica Minolta responded from the outset, targeting SDGs in the environmental field by focusing on digitization, which is one of our core strengths.
Industrial printing, which includes packaging, labels and textiles, is one of the fields where our efforts have borne fruit. Konica Minolta technologies enable on-demand printing in which only the necessary number of items are printed and only when needed. Compared to conventional printing methods, which are based on mass production, on-demand printing conserves resources, eliminates a huge amount of production waste, and reduces the amount of energy used for transportation. This lowering of the environmental burden ripples across the entire value chain.
Some of the most eye-catching results come from the adoption of inkjet textile printers. Compared to conventional analog textile printing, Konica Minolta’s advanced inkjet systems can cut CO2 emissions by over 90 per cent and water usage by more than 60 per cent.
At present, the rate of digitization across the entire field of industrial printing is only a few per cent. But as the global movement toward digitization sweeps forward, the impact from the reduction of CO2 emissions will be substantial. As a complementary benefit, since on-demand printing enables the production of one-of-a-kind products and unique ways to meet individual needs, it promises to create new avenues of business growth and enrich human life.
Condition monitoring, which involves the use of intelligent surveillance systems, is another area in which Konica Minolta technologies are leading to environmental solutions. We developed a monitoring system called 3D-LiDAR, which integrates optical, laser scanning, and data processing technologies. This system is used in a wide range of areas, including at industrial facilities, for purposes such as detecting gas leakages and suspicious behavior. It is capable of real-time analysis and is so accurate that it not only detects abnormal emissions of gases, but can even pinpoint their sources. Such accuracy has the benefit of reducing the number of false alarms, which in turn further saves resources. Through the development of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, Konica Minolta is seeing more and more ways to contribute to quality of life and environmental protection.
Carbon Minus: Going even further to reduce CO2 emissions
In 2009, Konica Minolta initiated a long-term environmental vision, Eco Vision 2050, which guides us in our responsibilities as a global corporation. In the years since, we have exceeded our initial CO2 reduction goals by stretching the purview of the product lifecycle to include activities beyond our business group. This year we have expanded further our environmental vision into New Eco Vision 2050, which adds the goal of “carbon minus.” This is to say, we have taken the approach that CO2 emissions reduction concerns everyone on earth, and thus we should share our knowledge and where needed coach other companies and communities in ways to lower the burden on the environment. Through the exchange of critical information, Konica Minolta is striving to spread awareness that CO2 reduction is a goal to be achieved by society. This approach promises change on a dimension far greater than any single company could achieve.
At Konica Minolta, we have turned our attention toward digital manufacturing, which holds an extraordinary promise for the future. The integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and automation technology in the manufacturing process leads to advances in efficiency as well as quality. Many of the efficiency gains directly contribute to CO2 emissions reduction. Moreover, digital manufacturing improves our ability to compile, analyze and share data.
“Konica Minolta is contributing significantly to solve social issues with digital innovation and the ambitious goal of ‘Carbon Minus'”
Now we have a plan to build a comprehensive database of environmental knowhow gleaned from work occurring at actual production sites. Our intention is to compile the very latest information and make it available to be shared with all. By creating an “open source” system and encouraging cooperation, we are hopeful that this database will become an essential repository of knowledge for environmental protection and safety.
Sharing our knowhow and assuming a leadership role
Achieving the SDG agenda demands unified action and global cooperation to share knowhow and information.
Konica Minolta is ranked highly in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) indices, confirming our commitment not only to environmental matters, but also in areas of corporate governance, such as quality management, competitive IT strategy development, and health and productivity management. By offering to share our data and knowhow with others outside our company, we are discovering that the ripple effect will not only benefit
As we focus on the SDGs, it is critical to involve the various stakeholders in our business as well as other companies. We have, therefore, begun to exchange more information on CSR with investors and analysts to gain their cooperation on social issues. This effort has already begun to generate positive results.
Aiming to assume a leadership role in achieving the SDGs in the environmental field, Konica Minolta will continue to promote cooperation, approaching other corporations and academic institutions with plans to coordinate and nurture worldwide activities.
About the Author
Shoei Yamana is President and CEO of Konica Minolta, Inc., a leading global technology company of creative minds that provides innovative solutions to business and society. With affiliates and branches in 50 countries and with over 40,000 employees, the Konica Minolta Group serves 150 countries worldwide.
Under Mr Yamana’s leadership, Konica Minolta has transformed its business, achieving new growth while implementing innovations to reduce environmental burden and enhance quality of life. Konica Minolta is on the CDP’s Climate Change A List and has been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index each year since 2012.