Olympus America

Social Responsibility: Environment

Olympus and its employees are committed to the betterment of society and fostering a sustainable planet. In August 1992*, the Olympus Group established its Environmental Principles to articulate basic positions on issues and to set ambitious goals for protecting the environment. Our social responsibility activities are based upon these principles.

View of the Earth taken from space with an Olympus E-3.

Environmental Protection Declaration

Olympus Group, respecting nature and the health and safety of mankind, is focused on using technological development and ecologically compatible business practices to contribute to the reestablishment of a healthy environment and a society in which sustainable development is possible.

Guidelines for Environmental Action

In all business activities, the Olympus Group gives priority to environmental protection and applies itself with dedication to this task both on an organizational and individual basis.

Technology Development

We develop products, services and production technologies with a careful and conscientious regard for safety and environmental protection. Furthermore, we make the results of such developments available to everybody.

After evaluating the distinctive features of our business, Olympus created its own standards in order to reduce the environmental impact of our products and services as much as possible. These standards, established pursuant to the Type II environmental label stipulations of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14021:1999, focus on:

  1. Environmental protection and safety - controlling hazardous substances used in manufacturing processes and contained in products and packaging;
  2. Energy conservation - reducing energy consumption of manufacturing processes, products-while-in-use and product logistics;
  3. Resource conservation - promoting efficient use of materials in manufacturing processes, reduction of material content in products and recycling of products and packaging at end of life; and
  4. Information disclosure - providing details on environmentally conscious products to our customers. Olympus Eco-Products are easily recognizable with the Eco-product mark.

Drawing up Norms and Assessing Results

Olympus is dedicated to achieving consistent and measureable annual improvement on CO2 emissions and other operational environmental practices – from product research and development through production and sales to realize continuous improvements.

Specifically, Olympus has adopted the goal of reducing its global carbon output to one-half of 2007 levels by 2020. This goal of “Carbon ½ 2020” targets not only our manufacturing, service, distribution and administration facilities, but entire product lifecycles including procurement, sales, logistics, use by customers, service and disposal.

Olympus Green Team

Protection of Natural Resources & Prevention of Pollution

Olympus makes a united effort to conserve natural resources and save energy. Furthermore, many of our facilities have been designed with a focus on energy and resource efficiency, and are striving to increase recycling rates and minimize other environmental impacts through employee ‘Green Team’ efforts. By reducing our impact on the environment at work and in our communities, employees can support Olympus Corporation’s social responsibility efforts globally and play an integral role in society.

Environmentally conscious facility improvements at Olympus have targeted:

  • Energy - Reducing usage by eliminating unnecessary lighting and installing energy-efficient equipment, including lighting retrofits, fixtures, bulbs and occupancy sensors. By replacing 890 light fixtures at our Maple Grove, Minn. facility, energy usage was lowered by 300,000 kWh annually and CO2 emissions were decreased by 113 tons annually.
  • Water - Conserving by installing hands-free faucets and toilet flush valves as well as using indigenous plant species in landscaping, eliminating the need for irrigation.
  • Waste – Expanding recycling programs to include paper, plastics, glass, aluminum, scrap metal and waste electronics and batteries (e-waste) so as to minimize disposal needs. Our Center Valley, Penn. headquarters now disposes its non-recyclable trash via a waste-to-energy facility, which produces more than 159,000 kW of clean, renewable energy each year (enough to power almost 160 homes for a day) and keeps waste out of landfills.
  • Air - Encouraging employees to take alternate modes of transportation such as bus, rail, bikes and carpooling. In one year alone, employees at our San Jose, Calif. facility spent 4,438 fewer vehicle days commuting, as a result of carpooling.
Recycle 1.800.8.battery

Compliance & Activity Support

We strive to comply with environment-related laws and regulations, and cooperate with environmental measures recommended by government bodies. We actively participate in environmental protection activities being carried out by regional and international communities.

We encourage all of our customers to recycle their used waste electronics (e-waste). E-waste recycling conserves natural resources by recovering materials from old electronics and promotes sound management of hazardous materials such as lead and mercury, which are sometimes contained in electronics.

Information on recycling e-waste in your area can be found by contacting your local municipality, or by visiting the Electronic Industries Alliance’s Environment Consumer Education Initiative.

Rechargeable Battery Recycling
With its eye on the environment, Olympus supports the non-profit, public service Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC). Its Call2Recycle® program in North America helps U.S. and Canadian consumers conveniently and at no cost recycle their used, rechargeable batteries found in our digital cameras, voice recorders and other portable electronics. Since 1996, Call2Recycle has diverted more than 60 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from the solid waste stream and established a network of 30,000 public collection sites.

Mercury-added Products
Reduction of hazardous substances contained in products is an Olympus priority. For certain medical, scientific and industrial equipment, however, mercury is an essential constituent in specific product components. While the amount of mercury contained in these products is very small, improper handling of such product waste can contribute to releases of mercury into air, water or land.

Thus, it is important that Olympus lamps, LCD monitors and other products containing mercury be properly managed to protect the environment, and not be discarded in regular trash. For this reason, Olympus encourages the recycling of such products when disposed. To learn more about recycling, visit the National Electrical Manufacturers Association or Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.

Education & total staff participation

We publicize and engage in other activities with the purpose of informing all Olympus employees of the need for environmental protection. As part of our commitment to social responsibility and in support of the United Nations’ World Environment Day (WED), each year Olympus holds a global environmental awareness campaign in the month of June to encourage all employees to rethink their activities at work, at home and in their communities. By reducing our impact on the environment, we can all play a proactive role in society.

Global Warming Witness

Olympus also works to raise awareness of the increasingly serious problem of climate change, and invites you to visit the Global Warming Witness website. The site features photographs by Mitsuaki Iwago, highlighting the impact of global warming on wildlife and natural environments throughout the world.

Structure to Promote Activities

Under our director in charge of environmental protection, we make clear our responsibility to promote environmental protection. We follow a structure through which we can take appropriate measures to deal with changes as they occur inside and outside Olympus, pursuant to our environmental policy.

Our medical endoscope National Service Center (NSC) in San Jose, Calif. has become certified to the ISO-14001:2004 standard**. The NSC’s environmental management system has been focusing efforts on its significant environmental aspects including energy use, electronic waste and employee-induced vehicle air emissions. Environmental management systems at other Olympus R&D and manufacturing facilities around the world also are certified to the ISO-14001 standard.

* The Olympus Group revised its Environmental Principles in October 2005.

** ISO 14001:2004 certification is the recognition provided by the International Organization for Standardization regarding a framework for a holistic, strategic approach to an organization's environmental policy, plans and actions.