Social Contribution Activities

We contribute to the sustainable development of local communities using technology and knowledge gained in business.

Young People Programme Harnesses the Power of Positive Visual Storytelling

As part of helping to realize a sustainable society, Canon Europe is developing the Young People Programme (YPP), which aims to nurture the creative potential of youth, as a regional initiative across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Based on the foundation of the UN SDGs, and working with local NPO partners, YPP aims to give disadvantaged young people education and opportunities for creative expression through photographic and visual media. YPP has supported more than 4,750 young people since its launch in 2015. In 2020, with many schools forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, YPP ran workshops both online and in-person in many countries, including UK, Spain, Poland and South Africa.

As part of YPP, Canon South Africa provides equipment and training support to Wild Shots Outreach, a non-profit organization that aims to stimulate awareness about nature conservancy, educating young people about wild animals through photography. To date, more than 600 young people have participated in the project, in the process learning about the value of their natural heritage, enabling them to find work in conservation and drive positive change in disadvantaged rural communities.

Students participating in the Young People Programme

Supporting young people working on SDGs activities


Canon Europe is supporting the “Canon Young Champion of the Year Award” inspired by the YPP. This award was established as a category in the British Sustainability “Global Good Awards.” It recognizes and encourages young people from around the world who are working on social and environmental issues related to the SDGs. In the selection process, four judges, including Canon employees, evaluate documents, photographs and videos that summarize the main points of the activities and their relationship with the SDGs.

Participants in Eco action

Miraisha Programme Aims to Increase Employment Opportunities and Technical Skills in Africa

High youth unemployment is a severe problem in Africa. Moreover, while demand is increasing for photography and printing, most of this business is done by foreign companies because local skill levels often do not reach international standards. In response to this situation, Canon Europe has been promoting its Miraisha Programme, a social investment initiative in Africa. Miraisha is a portmanteau of the Japanese word mirai, meaning future, and the Swahili word maisha, meaning life. Through the program, Canon aims to improve the technical skills of and increase employment opportunities for local young people in Africa’s growing photography, video and print industries. Workshops in photography, filmmaking and professional printing have been conducted in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and other countries.
Through partnerships with local organizations, educational institutions and event organizers, and with the assistance of Canon Ambassadors, the Miraisha Programme has so far provided training to more than 5,850 workshop participants. Canon has also organized a training program to develop local photographers and video producers as Canonaccredited trainers for the Miraisha Programme. As of the end of 2020, a total of 26 people had been accredited as Canon Certified Miraisha trainers, with two of these recruited as Canon Group employees.

Miraisha workshop held in Embu County, Kenya

The 4E’s Project in India

Canon India carries out the 4E’s Project in cooperation with the NGO Humana People to People India. The project provides various forms of assistance in the four fields of eye care, education, environment, and empowerment to impoverished villages near to the Canon India office.

One element of our business development strategy involves focusing on the field of eye care. Using the technology from our medical business as part of strengthening and expanding these operations, we are dedicated to improving eye care to assist people with vision impairment. In India, despite the fact that 80% of cataracts, a major cause of visual impairment, are believed to be preventable or treatable, the issue is lack of access to appropriate diagnostic or therapeutic care due to insufficiently developed healthcare infrastructure. Canon India opens vision centers in selected villages to provide eye examinations using equipment made by Canon. A total of 1,578 people visited these centers in 2020, with 270 receiving free eyeglasses, and 80 patients being referred for treatment in hospital.

In the field of education, amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided support for online learning to help prevent negative impacts on children’s education, and supported individual classes on how to prevent the spread of infection.

Eye testing at a vision center in India

Support for Education in Asia

Canon is helping to support the education of the next generation across Asia.

Respecting the right of every child to receive an education, we have set up ten Canon Hope Elementary Schools in China to provide a better educational environment through improved access to education. Every year, as part of its support program, Canon Dalian Business Machines holds events to help broaden the knowledge of students attending these schools, including environmental conservation classes and tours of cultural facilities in Dalian. In 2020, school necessities worth a total of around ¥1.11 million were donated to four schools.

The Canon Group in Vietnam is involved in building classrooms and donating items such as desks, chairs and books. The support program targets schools in regions with lagging infrastructure development. Employees regularly visit recipient schools to assist in the renovation of toilets, hand washing stations and other facilities, and to present donations of school supplies and other materials. Canon also cooperates with local universities in efforts to improve Vietnam’s technology infrastructure, such as by organizing technology competitions in which students create mechanical devices based on a given theme.

Meanwhile, the Canon Group in Thailand has continued with its program of voluntary activities at elementary schools. The program aims to build the skills of students while also helping them to cultivate a mindset for future economic independence. In 2020, more than 50 employees visited elementary schools to organize a wide range of activities, including classes in farming, cooking, and how to make soap or hand sanitizer at home. Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group donated two wash stations to schools.

Elsewhere, Canon employees can make donations under a matching gift program. For example, since 1997 Canon Inc. has organized a Charity Book Fair to allow employees of the Canon Group in Japan to donate unwanted books, CDs and DVDs for sale at an in-house bazaar. The company matches the proceeds generated by the sale, and these funds will be donated to organizations supporting education and medical services in Asian countries, including Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

Donation of school necessities to Canon Hope Elementary School

Supporting Disaster Recovery Efforts

Fukushima Canon has concluded an agreement with Fukushima Prefecture to participate in restoring the protective barrier of trees along the coast in the Kashima district of Minamisoma City (Fukushima Prefecture), which suffered damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake. In 2020, Fukushima Canon employees carried out weeding activities in the area where 2,000 black pine tree seedlings were planted in 2018 and 2019. It is hoped this activity will serve to remind future generations of the day the area was hit by a tsunami of unimagined proportions, and at the same time encourage the community to value and maintain the protective tree barrier as a symbol of recovery.

Light & Color Laboratory Educational Program

Canon Inc. hosts a children’s educational program, Light & Color Laboratory, in partnership with the Japan Science Foundation. The program aims to spark children’s interest in science and technology by providing a place where they can enjoy learning. It explains the science behind the optics and color technologies in Canon products using an entertaining show format featuring various experiments. Although the program was only able to run from January to February in 2020, a total of 1,153 children participated.

Preserving Japanese Cultural Assets for the Future Through the Tsuzuri Project

Canon and Kyoto Culture Association (NPO) launched the Cultural Heritage Inheritance Project, commonly known as the Tsuzuri Project, in 2007.

The initiative seeks to make facsimiles of highly valuable Japanese cultural assets such as folding screens and fusuma (Japanese sliding doors) by first photographing them with a digital camera, then processing the image with precise color-correction technology using a proprietary system, and printing the image on a large-format inkjet printer. Finally, traditional craft techniques from Kyoto, such as applying gold leaf and mounting, are used to make the facsimile as close to the original cultural asset as possible. These facsimiles are donated to former owners or temples, museums, and local governments having some connection to the cultural assets. Through the combination of conserving important Japanese cultural assets and using highresolution facsimiles, the project contributes to preserving and communicating Japanese culture.

In 2020, the project created five high-resolution facsimiles of famous works and donated them to the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage. The four works from the Tokyo National Museum were Pine Trees by Hasegawa Tohaku (National Treasure), Cooling Off by Kusumi Morikage (National Treasure), Kabuki Theater by Hishikawa Moronobu (Important Cultural Property), and Autumn Grasses by Tawaraya Sosetsu (Important Cultural Property). The fifth facsimile, from the Kyushu National Museum, was Namban Ships and Chinese Junks by Kano Takanobu. In creating a high-resolution facsimile of Pine Trees, we upgraded the system using the latest Canon equipment to produce high-resolution images containing around 5.4 billion pixels of data while minimizing the burden on cultural assets. The result is a high-resolution facsimile even more faithful to the original.

Furthermore, a joint research project with the National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties (CPCP) was launched in 2018 to take advantage of highresolution facsimiles to gain a wider audience for Japan’s cultural assets. The project has yielded five works of art, including Wind God and Thunder God/Flowering Plants of Summer and Autumn Grasses by Ogata Korin/Sakai Hoitsu (Important Cultural Property). Along with the donated works by the Tsuzuri Project, these facsimiles are being made widely available to museums around Japan so young and old alike can enjoy them. This included an exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum entitled “TNM and Art Tunes! Present: Becoming Japanese Art – Round Two!

Exhibit at the Tokyo National Museum using a high-resolution facsimile of Pine Trees (National Treasure)

  • Cultural Heritage Inheritance Project “The Tsuzuri Project” has been certified as a “Tokyo 2020 Official Programme (Cultural Olympiad)” by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

Sharing CSR Information Through Instagram

Canon Group companies around the world are using the massively popular photo-sharing social media platform Instagram to send out information on their CSR activities. The official Canon CSR account publishes photomessages created by Group companies to convey the vibrant local atmosphere and show the expressions of participants. The goal is to help stakeholders get a better feel for and understanding of Canon’s CSR activities. We also strive to show the connection between the various activities and the SDGs and express how they contribute to solving social issues in a way that is easy to understand.

Canon’s official CSR activities Instagram account

Supporting Research Activities that Contribute to the Sustainable Development of Humankind Through the Canon Foundation

The Canon Foundation was established in 2008 with the aim of contributing to the development of science and technology. Operating completely independently of Canon’s business activities, it provides assistance in a wide range of science and technology research fields.

Over the past 12 years, the Canon Foundation has disbursed a total of 177 research grants totaling ¥3.2 billion. The foundation enjoys recognition from universities and public research institutions across Japan as a distinctive research grant foundation which provides an average project grant of around ¥18 million—a relatively high amount mainly for fledgling research projects and young researchers just starting out.

The foundation’s aim has been to create new value for society by adopting an approach of supporting research that addresses cutting-edge fields of science and technology. Based on this concept, the foundation since 2019 has supported two research programs, focusing on the themes of “Science and Technology that Achieve a Good Future” and “Science and Technology that Create New Industries”.

Canon Institute for Global Studies, Dedicated to Conquering the Problems Faced by Humankind

The Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS) is a non-profit privatesector think tank established in 2008 as a general incorporated foundation in commemoration of Canon Inc.’s 70th anniversary.

In this age of globalization, CIGS analyzes current conditions and positively proposes strategies from the perspective of Japan’s position within the global economy as well as what roles and responsibilities Japan should take for global economic development. The institute brings together researchers with diverse backgrounds in business, academia, and government to exchange ideas and information and to expand its global activities. The institute disseminates information and policy proposals based on scientifically valuable research. CIGS research seminars and other events were conducted online in 2020 even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Research Seminars Held in 2020

Seminar title
Adapting to a Super-Aged Society
COVID-Induced Balance Sheet Issues
Impact of COVID Pandemic on Management of Health Systems and Medical Institutions
Energy Case Studies
Renewable Energy and the Law
The Challenge of Global Warming
Next-Generation Nuclear Power
Digital Transformation and Public Utilities
The National-Provincial Relationship
Empathy Robot (ER) Workshop