Kumon's Environmental Activities that
Spread throughout the World
Activities in Japan
In April 2015, the Kumon Institute of Education and Kumon Educational Japan were merged, to become a new organization, the Kumon Institute of Education.
KIE and other Group companies in Japan (Kumon LIL, Kumon Publishing, KTRIE, and GC&T) have been promoting environmental management activities through the Environmental Committee in Japan. In FY 2015, they worked on the following activities.
The FY 2015 environmental data for Group companies in Japan shows that electricity usage was 110.6%, paper usage was 99.9%, and paper recycling was 87.2% of the previous year.
All companies are working daily on energy and resource conservation by thorough energy savings, digitizing documents, and conducting paperless meetings; however, electricity usage increased because KIE now occupies a larger area in the building after the merger.
As one of the activities for FY 2015, a demand monitoring system was installed in the Distribution Department located in Tsudanuma, Chiba, for peak saving of electricity. When the usage volume exceeds a certain level in the facility, the display changes from a smiley face to a frowning face, triggering an alarm. At that point, staff members need to turn off lights and devices around them, in order to save electricity, so long as it does not negatively affect their work.
In addition, the printing section installed a liquid waste disposal facility for used plate-making solution. Through this, water is extracted from the used liquid waste and reused as recycled water for the next plate-making process. As the disposal volume of liquid waste is reduced to one-eighth by concentration, through the removal of the water content, the frequency of transportation to the disposal service has also been dramatically reduced.
Continuous effort will be made to reduce the environmental burden.
Environmental Date in Japan
Activities by KNA
During the summer months, KNA participates in the “Daylighting Campaign.” It is designed to increase the use of natural sunlight in offices throughout Canada and the US, and was launched on June 19. It continues every Friday from 12:30–1:30 PM. During that hour, they will be turning off all of the main lights (hallways, bathrooms, and enclosed offices excluded). Fifteen KNA offices and our warehouse and printing facility (KSNA - Kumon Service North America) also participate.
The purpose of the campaign is to allow natural sunlight to reduce the hours spent using electricity and carbon footprint emissions. In addition, this can reduce stress and improve staff members’ concentration, moods, and productivity. It is also hoped that the program can increase staff awareness about energy savings and encourage green habits that staff members will bring home with them.
Also, Kumon Canada delivers its monthly meetings via the Internet for Instructors in remote areas, or for those who missed the meeting. Staff members view presentations by the Instructors online, while a remote mouse pointer is used to engage them as they discuss slide content together. The moderator, usually a Field Consultant, delivers the content. Questions are submitted through a chat window, or participants are unmuted and can ask questions verbally. These meetings are recorded on the server for later viewing and archiving. Sharing the monthly meeting content online helps to reduce expenses, saves time, and decreases the environmental burden caused by transportation.
Activities by KSA
KSA constantly tries to reduce its paper usage by implementing systems, using digital media, and improving work processes.
One example is demonstrated by their accounting department. The accounting department receives about 1,000 payment slips from other departments or branch offices. The logistics department, which controls the inventory of worksheets and various items, sends 90 slips in an average month. Through interdepartmental communication, they decided to prepare only one slip for several invoices, instead of making one for each invoice. This idea for process improvement, suggested by the staff, successfully reduced paper usage by 71% in three months.
In addition, the personnel management department saved the staff’s time and reduced the paper usage by implementing a portal site for personnel management. Using this portal site, all staff members can manage their working hours, receive salary statements and information, and apply for benefit packages. Previously, all locations printed their staff timesheets and sent in the sheets after leaders’ approval, which required seven days of data entry and verification. Today, as each member enters his or her own data into the portal site, and KSA can complete checking within a single day. Further, paper usage for printing salary statements and time management reports has dropped to almost zero, thanks to the portal site.
By raising our awareness to care for resources and pursuing Chairman Toru Kumon’s word, “There must always be something better,” we can achieve better results in a shorter time, expending less effort and cost.
Activities by KAO
Kumon Malaysia is carrying out two activities as part of the environmental management program. The first activity is switching off the lights in designated areas of low usage for the reduction of electricity usage. The second is paper recycling. Currently, they are mainly recycling newspapers, used cartons, and shredded papers every month-end.
In 2014, Kumon Malaysia started to hold paperless meetings. Instead of distributing printed materials, the contents or topics of the meeting are stored in the computer and then projected onto LED screens. In this way, they reduce the wasteful use of paper and thus contribute to the environment.
Kumon Thailand aims to promote energy conservation and recycling and raise staff awareness of environmental preservation by posting notices near copy machines, lights, and trash containers. They also conduct awareness activities by sending e-mails to all staff members, telling them that they should unplug PCs and other electric devices during long vacations.
Activities by KCN
KCN works on environmental activities through the “four Rs.”
KCN actively works on the reduction of its electricity and paper usage. To reduce electricity consumption, they turn off unnecessary lights and use the energy-saving mode for air-conditioning. Immediately after a meeting, lights and electric appliances are turned off. In addition, to achieve a minimum use of paper, they promote digitizing documents, and staff members are getting accustomed to softcopies.
KCN typically implements both-side printing, but they also reuse one-side printed paper for new printing. In order to promote the use of recycled paper, Kumon Hong Kong collects recycled paper near its printers.
Kumon Shanghai reuses cartons. Regional Headquarters and Kumon Guangdong reuse event materials such as badges and lanyards. Furthermore, Kumon Guangdong reuses moon cake boxes as materials containers.
To raise staff awareness, Kumon Shanghai posts environmental tips on a bulletin board every month. They also added a “Green Column” to the monthly Instructors’ newsletter to raise Kumon Instructors’ environmental awareness.
Activities by KEA
Kumon Distribution Centre (KDC) has proactively looked to optimize vital resources and waste management.
At the end of 2012, KDC replaced all lighting with energy efficient presence detectors and daylight dimming luminaires. This has resulted in a 15–20% reduction in electrical consumption for the last two years.
KDC uses wooden printer pallets to ship worksheets in bulk from their supplier. However, with no merchant willing to take this type of pallet, KDC originally disposed of them via general waste. In response, KDC looked for a merchant that could recycle these pallets and investigated other distribution routes. KDC is now in negotiations with the merchant to recycle a full container load of wooden pallets. This will result in wood recycling of approximately eight tons per year.
Furthermore, a change in the worksheets’ supply chain has greatly increased the volume of cardboard boxes being received by KDC to 10,000. By reusing these boxes for processing returns and bulk shipments, KDC is successful in reducing expenditures on packaging and recycling, while contributing to resource conservation.
- Promotion of environmental conservation and preservation of
forest resources together with outside partners