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Best Bank Awards

Japan's best bank for CSR 2018: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Group

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Group

Community and social responsibility as the ideal is understood – and practiced – elsewhere isn’t much of a thing in Japan. More nationalistically inclined Japanese bankers argue that such ideals are inbuilt into normal banking and business practice in the country: helping each other is just what Japanese banks do. But many shrug or draw a blank when asked about it, not entirely sure what it is, explaining that it is something for other countries where wealth is less evenly spread than Japan, where 90% of the people identify as middle class.

Takeshi Kunibe’s SMBC is an exception that proves the rule in Japan, recognizing that CSR is not just about corporate clean-up days with enthusiastic staff gadding about in baseball caps and trainers, but about delivering something more profound societally.

SMBC has launched green initiatives on environmental preservation at home and at its operations abroad, notably in Indonesia and Myanmar, ensuring its financing meets environmental targets, while tracking the recommendations of the G20’s task force on climate-related financial disclosures.

More recently, SMBC has promoted LGBT-related initiatives, increasing the female presence in traditionally male-dominated management ranks and promoting diversity and inclusion inside the bank and beyond.

Oh, and SMBC also does those baseball-hatted clean-up days too, a lot of them, and more.

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