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How Epson makes CSR more than a buzzword

23 Apr 2020

Epson has been included in the FTSE4Good Index Series for the 15th consecutive year. 

The FTSE4Good Index Series measures the performance of companies demonstrating strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. 

These indexes are used by a wide variety of market participants to create and assess responsible investment funds and other products.

In a statement, Epson outlined the steps the company leaders are taking to ensure they are making a positive impact on global issues while maintaining profitability. 

The statement says that Epson aims to “create new value by looking hard at solutions to social issues, understanding the expectations of society, and then providing products and services that far exceed those expectations.”

This is reflected in Epson’s ongoing product releases such as the recently launched WorkForce Pro range.

The company says it is “committed to the development of a sustainable society through the four areas of innovation identified through its Epson 25 Corporate Vision” and it “considers any action designed to realise Epson's Management Philosophy to be a corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.”

In addition to ensuring compliance, observing corporate ethics, and fulfilling responsibilities at a level that exceeds what society requires, Epson says it aims to demonstrate CSR by creating value through the products it develops and manufactures. 

Many companies have come under fire in recent years for ‘green-washing’ – that is, making negligible or superficial changes that have little to no real effect but make the company appear ecologically or socially responsible.

Epson, on the other hand, seems to take the term ‘corporate social responsibility’ seriously, understanding that it is not a series of actions or one-off charity drives, but an expectation that every decision a company makes is considered in the context of how the effects it will have on the planet and the people who inhabit it.

Epson has approached this by developing a materiality matrix that identifies key CSR themes, such as environmental issues, respect for human rights, human resources development, and governance. The company uses this matrix to guide and strengthen its CSR activities.

Epson has also selected CSR themes, taking into account social issues defined by ISO 26000 and other sources. 

They evaluated them from both a company perspective and a social perspective, and prioritised the key themes in the "Key CSR Themes" matrix.

To help ensure that Epson’s activities are effective, the company specified action items and targets (KPI) for each key CSR theme. 

Epson periodically revises the key CSR themes and action items based on feedback from stakeholders and will systematically drive continuous improvements.

This is not to say that Epson is perfect. This information is all coming through the company itself. However, the process itself and the statement it makes is a powerful one. 

Recognition from external sources like the FTSE4Good Index also indicates the company is moving in a positive direction.

Through a process of research, integration and reflection, the company is proving that CSR can and should be an inherent part of any company’s vision.