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World Wildlife Fund and Ricoh Corporation Sign Agreement to Advance Forest Conservation in Mexico

Washington, DC - World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today announced its agreement with Ricoh Corporation, the leading provider of digital office equipment, to advance forest conservation in Mexico's Sierra Tarahumara.

Under the partnership, Ricoh Corporation has committed to support WWF's Mexican Sierra Tarahumara Forest Ecosystem Conservation Project. The overall goal of WWF's project, supported by Ricoh, will be to improve the ecological integrity of the forested ecosystems of the Sierra Tarahumara and the forest-based livelihoods of local people through expanding and augmenting community forest management. To do that, WWF is working with selected communities in the Sierra to protect sacred sites, develop their capacity to administer and manage their forest resources sustainability, and improve forest conditions to ensure continued water production.

"Ricoh prides itself on leading the office automation industry in creating environmentally friendly products and processes, and in promoting partnerships among government, industry, and environmental groups," said Sam Ichioka, vice chairman, Ricoh Corporation. "We're especially proud to support this important WWF project and look forward to sharing in its achievements in the coming months and years."

The Sierra Tarahumara, a mountainous area of pine-oak forests located in the Sierra Madre Occidental in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, is the birthplace of the most ecologically and culturally important rivers in northern Mexico. One of the main economic activities of the Sierra is timber production, but the forests have not been managed well and local people haven't benefited. WWF, with support from Ricoh, is working to address these issues.

Over the past decade WWF has championed "ecoregional conservation" as a way of prioritizing global conservation. Ecoregional conservation first identifies the most biologically rich and most threatened areas of the globe, called the Global 200, and then develops a biodiversity vision and action plan for the ecoregions of highest priority. The Sierra Tarahumara is in one of these priority areas. It is part of the Sierra Madre Occidental Pine-Oak Forests Global 200 and also has major influence on the Chihuahuan Desert and Freshwater Global 200 ecoregions.

In addition to its philanthropic efforts, Ricoh Corporation sets ambitious environmental goals for itself, including ISO 14001 certification, and engages in a wide range of environmental activities designed to achieve them. In May 2003, Ricoh Corporation was awarded the 19th annual World Environmental Center (WEC) Gold Medal for its International Achievement in Sustainable Development. Ricoh Corporation has also contributed toward the establishment and spread of the Energy Star program in America as part of its leadership campaign to combat global warming. In recognition of its efforts, Ricoh Corporation won the Energy Star award for 5 straight years, from 1996 to 2000.