CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy and Initiatives

CSR Principles

Aozora strives to enhance our corporate value as the “Primary Secondary Bank: the partner of choice” by further leveraging our core competencies and unique market position relative to that of megabanks and regional financial institutions in pursuit of gaining the confidence and support of all our stakeholders. We will also strive to help realize a more sustainable society.

Aozora is focused on contributing to the solution of social issues, such as sustainable development goals (SDGs), by incorporating CSR as an integrated element of our management strategy, promoting initiatives on the creation of social value through our financial services across our lines of business, as well as focusing CSR activities to meet the needs of our community and broader society.

Major Issues and Key SDGs

Main CSR Activities

Response to Environmental and Energy Issue

Reduction of CO2 Emissions and Power Consumption

The Bank’s head office in Yotsuya is placed in an environmentally friendly building equipped with highly insulated glass, a natural ventilation system and rooftop greenery. With offices employing LED lighting with automatic dimming controls, we are also working to minimize power consumption. (We reduced the power usage by 360,000 kwh, or 10.3% year on year.)

For our Fuchu annex, we remain focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after it was designated as an “Office Taking Excellent Specific Global Warming Countermeasures” in January 2010 under the revised Environment Preservation Ordinance of the Tokyo metropolitan government. Power usage, a major factor of greenhouse gas emissions, has seen a continued decline, this year seeing a reduction of 90,000 kwh, or 1.1% year on year.

In our other offices and branches, we also strive to reduce power consumption through the adjustment of air-conditioning settings and other such measures.

For our company cars (leased), we promote the use of hybrid and other eco-friendly vehicles (which now account for 95% of vehicles).

Recycling of Waste Material

The Bank recycles documents that have reached the end of their storage period (approximately 80 tons annually) and converts data storage media that are no longer required into solid fuel (approximately 100 kg annually), rather than disposing of them by incineration. Through these and other measures, such as the 100 % recycling of non-burnable head office waste (approximately 60 tons annually), the Bank continues to be proactive in the recycling of waste materials.

Business Casual Dress Code

As part of our efforts to reduce the amount of power consumed by air-conditioning and heating, as well as create a more comfortable working environment, employees dress business casual throughout the year, in line with the Ministry of the Environment’s “Cool Biz” and “Warm Biz” initiatives.

Participation in the Ecocap Movement

The Bank has participated in the Ecocap Movement since December 2010. We separate and recycle caps from plastic bottles as part of an initiative to provide vaccines for children around the world, in addition to contributing to the reduction of CO2 released through bottle incineration. In November 2018, in solidarity with the aims of the “Ecocap Week 2018” campaign led by a volunteer group from Meiji University called Tree, we donated prizes to their lottery event wherein participants received raffle tickets in return for bringing in plastic bottle caps.

Active Participation in Renewable Energy-Related Deals

Together with our regional financial institution partners, we share an understanding of the importance of environmental issues and actively support deals, mainly in regional areas, which encourage the adoption and use of renewable energy.

Coal-fired Power Plant Project Finance Policy

As a means of demonstrating its social responsibility as a financial institution, and in concert with initiatives underway in many developed countries aimed at achieving a low or carbon neutral society, Aozora has decided, in principle, to avoid financing projects which involve coal-fired thermal power stations.

In limited situations, the Bank may elect to make an exception for projects which involve facilities with ultra-supercritical efficiency or better, after evaluating the project’s background and other factors. In these limited cases, the Bank will carefully determine whether to pursue financing based on the respective countries’ energy policies and climate change initiatives, as well as international guidelines such as the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits.

Partnerships with Various Stakeholders

Support for Areas Affected by Earthquake, Storm and Flood Disasters

1. Financial Donations

We make financial donations to assist with the relief and recovery efforts of people and areas affected by natural disasters.
In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, we made a contribution of ¥10 million for the victims of the July 2018 Flood in southwestern Japan and a contribution of ¥5 million for the victims of the September 2018 Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake.

2. Donations from Officers and Employees

We gather financial donations and relief supplies from our Group’s officers and employees.

3. Holiday Entitlement for Volunteer Activities

The Bank grants volunteer leave to officers and employees who wish to participate in volunteer activities in areas affected by disaster. We are making ongoing efforts to enhance this system.

TABLE FOR TWO Initiative

Since March 2011, we have participated in the TABLE FOR TWO (TFT) program, providing employees the opportunity to donate ¥ 20 through the purchase of a meal at our head office cafeteria (approximately the price of one school meal in some developing countries). TFT is based on the concept of a “table for two,” whereby people from developed countries share a meal with children from developing nations. For the fiscal year ended March 2019, we have donated the equivalent of 13,188 meals.

Use of Domestic Furniture in Head Office

In our head office, we use drawing room tables, etc., made of various domestic timbers in collaboration with local furniture manufacturers. This approach aims to support Japan’s forest industry and furniture manufacturers. The head office received a prize in the Social Design category in the “Japan Wood Design Award 2017,” a project subsidized by the Forestry Agency.

Support for Special Olympics Nippon

Special Olympics Nippon (SON) is the Japanese branch of Special Olympics, an international organization that supports the social participation of people with intellectual disabilities by providing regular sports training and competitions for them to showcase their skills throughout the year. The Bank has helped with the PR activities for SON since May 2010, placing the organization’s “Yell” fund-raising pamphlets for individual donations at our branches.

Donation of Used Stamps to Volunteer Organizations

Aozora collects and donates used stamps to volunteer organizations to assist people providing care overseas in obtaining funds, medical supplies and other necessities.

Installation of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

We have installed AEDs at our head office and computer center in Fuchu.

Development of a Healthy Economy and Society (Developing Closer Regional Relationships)

Support for Finance Operations of Regional Medical Institutions

In cooperation with our regional financial institution partners, we support medical institutions’ finance operations, which are crucial to regional healthcare. We arrange funding, assist in the creation of business plans and conduct situational analyses for medical institutions.

Cleanup Efforts in Chiyoda Ward

In addition to cleaning the area around our head office, we also take part in the Chiyoda Ward cleanup days held annually in June and November to increase people’s awareness about keeping the ward clean, as well as to promote beautification.

Sprinkling Water to Mitigate the Urban “Heat Island” Effect

In August, when power conservation is a particular concern, we occasionally participate in an annual water-sprinkling event held by Chiyoda Ward.

Sapporo Branch: Taking Part in Local Cleanup Efforts

Our Sapporo Branch takes part in the “Tsukiichi” cleanup initiative run by the Sapporo Ekimae-dori Association from 2015, and branch employees use their lunch breaks to help keep clean the area around Ekimae-dori Street, popular with tourists from both within Japan and abroad.

Kyoto Branch: Participating in the “Gion Matsuri” Festival

Our Kyoto Branch participates in the “yamahoko” float parade and the selling of “chimaki” good luck charms during the Gion Matsuri festival held each July, contributing to the preservation of regional culture.

Kanazawa Branch: Participating in Local Flower Planting Project

The Bank’s Kanazawa Branch participates in the City of Kanazawa’s “Hana Ippai” project, helping to plant flowers in planters along Hyakumangoku Street.

Sendai Branch: Participating in Volunteer Activities

The Sendai Branch occasionally joins volunteer activities including the “Coastal Forest Recovery Project relating to the Great East Japan Earthquake,” run by the public-interest incorporated foundation OISCA. For the fiscal year ended March 2019, we attended the Tree-planting Ceremony in May 2018.

Participation in Local Events around Jiyugaoka

The Financial Oasis Jiyugaoka (sub-office of the Shibuya Branch) participates in events organized by the Jiyugaoka Association of Business Commerce, providing use of its Oasis Room (a multipurpose space) located on the ground floor.

The Oasis Room, also known locally as the “Aozora booth,” plays an important role in local events as a place for people visiting Jiyugaoka to gather information, as well as a relaxation space.

In addition to the Jiyugaoka Association of Business Commerce, a local university also participates in the running of events as part of its seminar group activities. The seminar group contributes ideas, such as the creation of special dishes by member restaurants of the Jiyugaoka Restaurant Association, to help promote local specialty goods of our regional financial institution partners, in addition to planning booths at other events for the selling of goods and various other PR activities.

These events enable the Bank to create valuable opportunities to connect Jiyugaoka with other regions, and various ideas for booth presentation are well received by visitors and members of the local community.

In November 2018, the Jiyugaoka Association of Business Commerce, Tokyo University of the Arts (Department of Sculpture, Department of Design) and 14 local financial institutions, among others, cohosted “Jiyugaoka x Tokyo University of the Arts: Art and Design Project,” aimed to activate the community. The Bank contributed funding to this project, and also offered a place to exhibit a cat statue created by students of the Department of Sculpture, Tokyo University of the Arts, inside the Financial Oasis Jiyugaoka to support the project events: “A Town with Cats” and “The Out-door Cats of Jiyugaoka.”

Response to Changing Age Demographics

Installation of Assistive Devices and Wheelchairs in All Sales Branches

We have placed writing and communication boards to enable customers with hearing difficulties to easily convey their requests, as well as COMUOON® table-top conversation support devices, which improve the hearing of the listener and increase the clarity of the speaker’s voice, in all our sales branches. Furthermore, wheelchairs are available for physically disabled or aged people in all of our branches.

Dementia Supporter Training for Sales Staff

To offer support to people with dementia and their family members, all of our retail sales staff are certified as dementia supporters under an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Our sales staff are trained to properly understand dementia, as well as the behavior and language used by people with dementia. This training enables our sales staff to respond appropriately to customers with dementia, and contributes to our staff’s overall understanding of the Bank’s senior-generation customers.

Initiatives for the Recruitment of Persons with Disabilities

As part of our employment initiatives to support all members of society, we offer job assistance programs for those with disabilities seeking stable employment, including a career transition support office.

We gave a presentation about our initiatives at the 26th Research and Practice Workshop on Vocational Rehabilitation hosted by the Japan Organization for Employment of the Elderly, Persons with Disabilities and Job Seekers, an independent administrative institution of Japan.

Learning and Research Opportunities for Students and Researchers from Sophia University

In May 2017, we relocated our head office to the Sophia Tower on the Sophia University campus. We take this opportunity to provide university students and researchers with finance-themed learning, research and work experience opportunities. Starting from September 2017 onwards, we have released the “Aozora-Sophia Senior Consumption Trend Index” every month as the product of our joint research on senior consumer trends and their willingness to purchase goods. We aim to support the enhancement of financial literacy among the next generation through internships aimed at Sophia University students and lectures at the Faculty of Economics on the basics of banking, taught by the Bank’s officers and employees.

Participation in Internship Programs offered by Meiji University and Nagoya University

In solidarity with the aims of both Meiji University and Nagoya University’s School of Law internship programs, the Bank accepts students for work experience on a continual basis. The program supports the career development of many students and provides them with university credits for their degrees.

Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program for New Employees

Aozora will provide a new student loan repayment assistance benefit program for its young employees who obtained student loans to finance college and graduate school studies. The goal of this program is to create a comfortable, fulfilling workplace environment and promote the hiring of talented staff. Eligible employees will receive assistance benefits every year for three years after they join the company.

Promoting Human Rights Awareness

We established Aozora’s Human Rights Enlightenment Committee and provide training programs on human rights issues annually to all our employees, to create a corporate culture in which human rights are respected.

We also actively participate in the human rights training and awareness activities through the Industrial Federation for Human Rights in Tokyo, Osaka and other cities as well as slogan activities held by the Japanese Bankers Association and Industrial Federation for Human Rights, Tokyo.

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