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Image giant’s new HQ will bring investment in tech and the sciences to Bedford, says Mayor

JAPANESE tradition came to Bedford at the opening of imaging, information technology and healthcare giant Fujifilm UK’s new headquarters.

Bedford Borough Mayor Dave Hodgson joined Japanese embassy minister Kyoichiro Kawakami and Fujifilm UK executives in a Kagami Biraki ceremony, in which the lid of a sake barrel is smashed open to represent good fortune, harmony and new beginnings.

Pictured above: Mayor Dave Hodgson joins Minister Kyoichiro Kawakami from Japan’s UK embassy, Roz Campion, director of the Office for Life Sciences joined Fujifilm UK executives Tom Watanabe and Duncan Edgar n a Kagami Biraki ceremony.

The Mayor talked about the importance of innovative businesses such as Fujifilm setting up in Bedford Borough and the high value jobs that it provides to local people. He also remarked on the growing contribution that Fujifilm is making to the UK economy through significant investment and the positive impacts that it has.

“We are delighted to have Fujifilm opening their new UK headquarters, which will bring investment in technology and the sciences to Bedford Borough,” Mr Hodgson said. “We are excited to continue the great working relationship we have with them moving forward.”

He paid tribute to landowner Southill Estate and developer Graftongate for investing and developing “ambitious premises with sustainability and innovation at its heart”.

Mr Hodgson added: “It is great to see that large-scale international organisations are taking note of the benefits that come with having their headquarters here in the borough. Alongside great connections to surrounding areas, we also have competitively priced commercial spaces with a high skilled local workforce.

“I and council officers will continue to support the growth of local businesses and attract new inward investment in high-value sectors such as life science to generate wealth locally.”

Fujifilm House, Fujifilm UK’s new headquarters building in Bedford.

The new Fujifilm House in Whitbread Way off Cardington Road, is home to more than 300 staff. Fujifilm UK has been in Bedford for almost 40 of its 46 years in the UK and the fusion of its history in Bedford and its Japanese heritage is represented throughout the building’s design, most prominently through the shoji screens adorning the exterior, inspired by Bedford’s lacemaking history.

Fujifilm UK managing director Tom Watanabe said: “Today we bring all our skilled colleagues working across various business fields under one roof where, together, we hold the opportunities of innovation.

“It is from Fujifilm House that we will continue to contribute to our communities in Bedford, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and around the world. I truly believe that the innovators of today, and leaders of tomorrow, are here in Bedford and I am so excited when I think what this next chapter at Fujifilm holds for us.”

Mr Hodgson told guests at the opening ceremony that the new headquarters would bring investment in technology and the sciences to Bedford and the wider borough. “We are excited to continue the great working relationship we have with them moving forward.”

Since the company began operating in the UK in 1976, Fujifilm has diversified its products and services by developing its imaging and information technology from business areas such as photography, print and inks to also build its global presence in healthcare. A tour for guests of the new building included the Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan Demo Suite which showcases Fujifilm’s healthcare portfolio across medical imaging and community diagnostics.

Office for Life Sciences director Roz Campion was a guest of honour at the ceremony. She praises Fujifilm UK’s contribution from its innovation to the UK economy.  “I see the strong and positive relationship between the UK and Fujifilm as a microcosm of the lasting partnership between the UK and Japan,” she added. “As director of the Office for Life Sciences, I know for a fact that the contributions of Fujifilm to make the Life Sciences Vision a reality is invaluable.”

The building also houses an exhibition titled A Force For Good. It highlights steps the company has taken on behalf of its UK workforce, national and local charity partners and creative industries towards achieving Fujifilm Group’s Sustainable Value Plan 2030, which aims to resolve social issues through global business activities.

Fujifilm House includes several sustainability initiatives incorporated into the construction by developer  Graftongate, the Southill Estate on whose land the building stands, principal contractors MCS Group and Lewis Berkeley. A total 80 solar panels on the roof will save 29 tons of CO2 emissions each year, the rainwater recycling and storage system flushes toilets across all three floors and tens of electric vehicle charging points accommodate the company’s evolving fleet.

The campus also includes bee hotels and bat boxes. Fujifilm is to build on its partnership with The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to develop further ways to give back to local environment into the future.

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