Myanmar's best bank for CSR 2017: Aya Bank
Myanmar is not known as one of the most environmentally sensitive of nations. Several decades of rapacious generals trashing its forests for fast money has seen to that. Nor is it the cleanest of countries, nor its roads the safest. The Myanmar government admits around 14 people died every day last year in a traffic incident, though the actual number is believed to be much higher. And the government has little money or inclination for public education drives.
In such circumstances, it often takes smaller initiatives to spark a transformative effect. Step forward Aya Bank, which has launched a series of campaigns to get locals to belt up and save their lives when travelling in vehicles, and to be aware of preserving the natural resources around them.
Its Seat Belt Campaign movement is a common sight across the traffic-choked streets of the capital, as are the separated recycling rubbish bins around many of Aya’s branches in Yangon – an everyday sight in most countries, but a practice virtually unknown in Myanmar.
These CSR initiatives are thoughtful and socially focused, and a more sustained effort than getting a team of employees to muck in and help after a tropical cyclone has blown away villages. Azeem Azimuddin, Aya Bank’s CFO and adviser to the chair, says his staff do things like that “not because we must, but because we want to.”