Green Business Singapore Interview – Brother International Singapore Pte Ltd

Green Business Singapore is conducting interviews with business leaders, companies and organisations, who would share their views on going green and achieving environmental sustainability. This week, we have the privilege of interviewing Mr Takeo Shimazu, Managing Director of Brother International Singapore Pte Ltd.

About Brother International Singapore Pte Ltd

Brother is a leader in the development and manufacturing of technologies in the printing, communication and digital imaging industries for homes, SOHOs and enterprises who demand solutions that empower businesses and individuals to communicate ideas in every possible way. A trusted brand worldwide that believes in the “Customer First” approach in all aspects of their business, Brother has continuously met the varied needs of their customers through their comprehensive range of quality printing solutions. Brother’s regional South East Asia headquarters, with fully integrated sales, marketing and services capabilities is located in Singapore. Across the region, Brother has subsidiaries in Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia, as well as liaison offices in Indonesia and Vietnam.

1. Describe your organisation’s green initiatives and practices.

Brother globally takes the concept of “Corporate Social Responsibility” to heart as we seek to give life to “At Your Side”. Brother began a company-wide environmental organization for each product division in September 1991. Following in 1993, Brother formulated the first Environmental Action Plan to be implemented across all sectors including banning the use of CFC 113, all chlorinated solvents and trichloroethane in the production process for all Brother and wholly-owned subsidiaries’ facilities.

All Brother companies globally adopt the Brother’s Group in the 5R: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Reform and Recycle from product development and design to collection and recycling. Several environmental concerns are taken into considerations throughout these stages including complying with the laws and rules of various countries that are marketed, compact and lightweight to conserve resources, reduce CO2 emissions in distribution and transport, improve energy conservation when the product is being used, do not contain hazardous chemicals and are recyclable.

In Singapore, Brother is at the forefront of sustainable and environmentally responsible business. Not only have we gained the prestigious ISO 14001 Environmental certification this year, we also have in place a comprehensive consumables recycling program which not only seeks to recover Brother consumables from the corporate sector, but also to recover and recycle Brother used consumables from the mass consumer market.

2. Why did your organisation decide to go green?

As the world is taking measures to prevent global warming and with the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol being implemented, Brother, as a manufacturer place top priority on reducing CO2 emissions throughout all manufacturing processes and also in the use and transport of our products.

On a global level, the Brother Group continuously position environmental awareness and conservation as one of key topics in our businesses with the responsibility to protect the environment as global citizens. We aim to balance economics and the environment with the same attitude with “At your side”.

As the Brother Group expands the business on a global scale, we work towards minimising environmental load in all operation aspect and recognise energy conservation at manufacturing facilities. As for dealing with products, we implement resource recovery and recycling, and chemical management as top priority issues.

3. What are the challenges faced by your organisation in going green?

We would consider the implementation of public or mass strategies the most challenging, where we have to engage our customers in meeting our organisational goals such as high rate of returns for all consumables for recycling. These exercises take time and a lot of resources to fine-tune.

However, that does not mean we stop trying. We constantly brainstorm on new ideas to balance the equation between customers’ convenient, our available resources and the impact our activities would have on the environment. And we are confident that we can succeed by our will and determination. A good case in point is this project in which we are able to provide customer the convenience to return the used cartridges, enabling us to collect more used cartridges at manageable cost for recycling and at the same time making positive impact to our brand and the environment.

4. How has going green help your organisation?

Internally, there is an inherent satisfaction in helping our planet, and in doing our part for a worthy global cause. On the marketing front, it is good branding to have our customers trust in our products, and to have them engage in our recycling activities. At the personal level, the transformation of our habits and lifestyle towards environmental-friendly practices is also taking root such as turning off lights when meeting rooms are empty, double-sided printing to reduce paper usage, using recycled materials for goodie bags, etc. Ultimately, this translates to our staff playing our part to make Brother become a truly good corporate global company.

5. Does your organisation have other green plans over the next few years?

In Singapore, we have been an active player in the green category. In the past, we have already implemented a toner recycling program for our corporate customers where used toners and drums are collected regularly from their offices for recycling purposes. Some of these corporate customers include Motorola and Watson.

As part of our 100th year anniversary this year, Singapore has gone ahead with the next program by being the first printer company to launch the first islandwide recycling program in Singapore via local post (ie. Singapore Post Office).

Brother customers can now recycle Brother’s used consumables at their own convenience at anywhere in Singapore. They can post their used Brother ink cartridges in Brother’s own developed postage-free envelope. Envelopes can be collected from Brother’s authorised resellers and Brother customer service centre or request for an envelope online at www.brother.com.sg/recycling.

Other recycling activities conducted include placement of attractive Brother recycling bins at selected resellers’ stores located in Funan DigitalLife Mall and Sim Lim Square, as well as roadshows/ exhibitions like COMEX, IT Show and PC Show where customers can bring their used ink and toner cartridges for recycling when they visit the resellers to purchase new ones. Alternatively, customers can also deposit their used consumables at Brother Customer Service Centre located at Gateway East along Beach Road.

In the future, we want to create more awareness in our ink cartridge recycling campaign to increase the participation and also increase the locations on the placement of our recycling bins. For Brother Singapore, we hope to bring our recycling efforts to a higher adoption.

6. What advice would you give to organisations who are interested to go green?

We feel that environment conservation is an important role for everyone to play to ensure the future of Mother Earth. Organisations have to continuously market the importance of customers’ impact on the environment by educating them to purchase products from companies who abide with global environment standards from design and development of products to the end of the product cycle life.

This interview is conducted with Mr Takeo Shimazu, Managing Director of Brother International Singapore Pte Ltd. Visit Brother’s website at http://www.brother.com.sg/.

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