Nikon and Environment
While a large number of Nikon's employees seem to be unaware of the fact that the company is part of Mitsubishi group, activist groups like the Rainforest Action Network International and the Burmese Relief Center, Japan, through their events have made it very clear to others of this relationship. RAN's boycott of Mitsubishi group products, including Nikon's cameras, was to convince Mitsubishi to stop cutting tropical wood in the endangered forests of Malaysia. RAN and the Burmese Relief Center arranged for a "haiku attack" in Osaka, "using poetry and artwork to save the rainforests and to restore democracy and human rights in Burma." Here too boycott of Mitsubishi group producrs was urged.
Should Nikon pay the price for its parent's transgressions, or should it be evaluated independently? The goal of the boycott was to put pressure on the entire Mitsu group. Here, we will try to judge Nikon's environmental and other corporate social responsibility record without any reference to the Mitsubishi group.
Nikon and its Peers
With every company claiming to be environmentally-friendly and socially conscious, noise is overwhelming. We will revisit this issue again but based on some dated material a few observations should be pointed out.
Kyocera (Kyocera, Contax and Yashica lines cameras)
Founded in Kyoto by Dr. Kazuo Inamori and colleagues, Kyocera produces photovoltaic solar cells; ceramics that allows engines to operate at higher temperatures and burn fuel more efficiently; and cartridge-free Ecosys document imaging systems. Its cameras offers Carl Zeiss lenses made by another apparently socially responsible company.
Carl Zeiss Stiftung
"As early as 1900, the benefits included an eight-hour work day, paid holidays, health-care, profit sharing and a pension plan. These are common today, but were unheard of when first introduced by Abbe." [Zeiss USA website]
Calvert group, a mutual fund investing in socially-responsible companies had over 1 percent of its World Values International Equity Fund invested in Canon.
It is alleged that Nikon borrowed (without permission) heavily German-inspired designs for its cameras. Only recently it seems to have appointed its first non-Japanese CEO in a subsidiary. More later.