Epson and the Environment

Environmental History

Timeline of Environmental Action

Environmental History

Harmony, collaboration, and environmental commitment

Epson was founded in 1942 in Suwa, a city located in the rich natural environment of Nagano Prefecture. Harmonious co-existence with the communities in which we operate has long been a cornerstone of the company, and even as our operations have expanded globally, our culture of respect for the environment has never wavered. We demonstrated this in 1988, when Epson became the world's first company to announce that it would eliminate ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from its operations. We demonstrated this again by sharing our accumulated technical expertise under the banner of "collaboration before competition." We will maintain a high level of environmental action because, as stated in the Management Philosophy, Epson aims to be a progressive company, trusted throughout the world because of our commitment to environmental conservation.

1942-1979

1942- Pollution control

Epson began treating wastewater discharged from its site so as to avoid polluting nearby Lake Suwa. In the 1970s, as pollution became a social issue, Epson stepped up its pollution control efforts and established tough new internal environmental standards with stricter water quality limits than required by legislation.

Lake Suwa, circa 1970

1980-1989

1983 Energy saving programs

Since 1980 Epson has carried out programs to save energy by setting energy reduction targets, conducting site energy patrols, installing energy-efficient equipment, and much more. In 1983, the Shoen Plant (now part of the Hirooka office) installed a system with microcontrollers to control lighting fixtures within the factory. The dramatic energy savings that resulted prompted the Illuminating Engineering Institute of Japan to recognize the Shoen Plant with a Good Lighting Award.

Daylight sensor
Full illumination control system fader console

1988 CFC-free declaration

In 1988, a year that would become the first benchmark year for Epson's environmental programs, Epson became the world's first company to announce that it would completely phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in its global operations. Thanks to an intensive Epson Group-wide effort to eliminate these ozone-depleting substances, we became CFC-free in Japan in 1992 and worldwide the following year.

CFC awareness poster

1990-1999

1991 Cleaning center

After quickly establishing CFC-free technology, Epson actively supported the efforts of partner companies (outside and on-site contractors) to eliminate the use of CFCs. As part of this effort, Epson set up a shared, CFC-free cleaning center in the former Shimauchi Plant and invited partners to use it.

The cleaning center

1992 CFC-elimination program recognition

In 1992 Epson received the first of six consecutive Stratospheric Ozone Protection Awards (both Corporate and Individual Awards) from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in recognition of the company's CFC-elimination program and individual accomplishments therein.

Tsuneya Nakamura, then Chairman of Seiko Epson, commented at the time, "When it became clear that CFCs were damaging the ozone layer, we quickly made a decision to phase them out of our operations. At first, I didn't think the decision was that big of a deal. Only later, when we were selected for this honor, did it dawn on me what we had accomplished.

Tsuneya Nakamura (second from the right)
accepting the award from the EPA.

1993 Local programs go global

Volunteer programs sprouted up across the Epson Group to foster harmony with local communities. In 1993, Epson America, Inc. (EAI) won a Waste Reduction Award from the state of California for its volunteer coastal cleanup program as well as its waste reduction efforts.

EAI volunteers at coastal cleanup

1998 The second environmental benchmark year

In 1998, a decade after the launch of the CFC elimination program and the year that Epson uses as its second environmental benchmark year, Epson established a general environmental action plan for addressing a range of environmental problems and formed six expert committees.

  • Environmental Product Committee
  • Energy Saving Committee
  • Zero Emissions Committee
  • Product Recycling Committee
  • Chemical Substance Control Committee
  • Green Purchasing Committee
Environmental awareness posters

1999 Began publishing environmental reports

In 1999 Epson began publishing an annual environmental report to inform the public of its environmental actions and to get public feedback that could be used to help shape future actions. In 2003 we began publishing an annual Sustainability Report that covers not only our environmental actions but also our social programs.

Environmental Report for 1999

2000-

2000 Energy patrols

In 2000, in response to requests from local businesses and organizations looking for ways to save energy at their own sites, Epson teamed up with some other companies operating in Nagano to form the Suwa Regional Energy Patrol Team. The team visits local businesses, offices, and other facilities to assess their energy use and recommend ways to reduce their energy consumption. In 2005, as the benefits of the program gained broader recognition, a new Shinshu Energy Patrol Team was formed to provide expanded coverage over all of Nagano Prefecture. A similar program was launched in Taiwan in 2010.

Shinshu Energy Patrol Team

2000 Reforestation project support

As a way of contributing to Indonesia, a country where Epson has manufacturing operations, Epson established a reforestation program on Kalimantan, an island that has been rapidly losing its tropical rainforests. Enlisting the help of The Japan International Forestry Promotion & Cooperation Center and working closely with the Indonesian government, Epson replanted and maintained the "Epson Forest," a roughly 300 hectare area, up until 2008. By adopting an agroforestry approach, wherein agricultural crops are planted along with trees, this project not only restored a forest in decline but also improved the lives of local inhabitants.

A monument commemorating the Epson forest

2001 ISO 14001 Certification

Epson was quick to acquire certification for compliance with ISO 14001 as a way to help ensure the continuation and effectiveness of its environmental programs. In 1995 U.K. affiliate Epson Telford Ltd. (ETL) earned certification for BS7750 (a British Standard for environmental management systems on which ISO 14001 is based). By 2001, all of Epson's major manufacturing and non-manufacturing sites around the globe had acquired ISO14001 certification.

ETL employee conducting an internal audit

2001 Epson Ecology Labels

In 2000 Epson began the Epson Ecology Label Program. Under this program, we used labels to provide consumers with information about the environmental attributes (self-declared) of Epson products and to promote the creation of eco-conscious products. The LP-9400 (EPL-N7000 in some regions) page printer, released in 2001, was the first product to qualify for a label.

The LP-9400 and the symbol used at the time for qualified products

2003 Green purchasing of production materials

We started a standardized, global program to guarantee that certain banned substances are kept out of our supply chain. This program serves to assure that the parts and raw materials procured by Epson Group companies anywhere in the world meet criteria published in the Epson Group Green Purchasing Standard for Production Materials.

Click here for more information about green purchasing.

Presentation on the Green Purchasing Standard for Production Materials

2003 Zero emissions program

We launched a "zero emissions" program in 1997. The goals of this program are to recycle 100% of the emissions generated by our business activities (Level 1) and to reduce our total emissions (Level 2). By 2003 every Epson site around the world had achieved Level 1. Presently, we are working to reduce the volume of waste itself and to achieve a higher level of recycling.

Zero Emissions Level 1 Qualification Ceremony

2008 Environmental Vision 2050

To do what we can to fundamentally address the deepening problem of global warming, we established Environmental Vision 2050, a document that states Epson's long-range environmental goals.

Scenario for achieving the environmental vision by 2050

2010 SE15 Mid-Term Environmental Policy

Epson's SE15 Mid-Term Environmental Policy sets out the first milestones along the path toward achieving Environmental Vision 2050.

Conceptual image

2010 New perspective

We launched the SurePress L-4033A. This digital label press was designed with a view toward using innovative Epson products and technologies to reduce environmental impacts during use. Employing Epson's Micro Piezo technology, the SurePress offers label manufacturers a dramatically lower environmental impacts than traditional analog label presses.

SurePress L-4033A

2012 Pursuing compactness

To improve the basic eco-performance of our printers and to provide users with more installation options, we completely revamped the design for compactness. The Expression Premium XP-600 inkjet printer has smaller mechanisms and a new, slimmer type of print head and ink cartridge, making them significantly smaller in every dimension than its predecessor the Artisan 730.

Expression Premium XP-600

2014 Changing office printing

Epson's advanced inkjet technology is driving changes in office printing by accelerating the shift from laser to inkjet.
Office inkjet printers equipped with high-capacity ink packs save resources and time by dramatically reducing the need to replace consumables, and reduce the work involved in replacing, ordering, managing, and transporting consumables inventory. And with no heat used in printing, Epson inkjets use far less power than laser printers.

Printer with high-capacity ink packs

2015 Recycling paper in the office

Epson has developed technology that will change the paper cycle, give new value to used paper, and stimulate in-office recycling. The PaperLab paper recycler, scheduled for commercial release in Japan in 2016, uses Epson's original Dry Fiber Technology to securely destroy confidential documents and recycle them without using precious water resources*.

* A small amount of water is used to maintain a certain level of humidity inside the system.

PaperLab in-office paper recycler

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