Mar.14.2018

Japanese Bankers Association

Japanese Bankers Association’s framework and key initiatives for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals

At today’s meeting of the Board of Directors, the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) resolved on a framework for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for fiscal 2018 and onwards and key initiatives under this framework.

In September 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit adopted the SDGs as part of their 2030 Agenda, which declared that all member countries of the United Nations would take action in order to achieve sustainable development between 2015 and 2030. The government of Japan has been implementing a number of initiatives in support of the 2030 Agenda, including the establishment of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters.

In 2006, the United Nations proposed the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which encourage responsible investment behavior based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, which are becoming increasingly important from a long-term investment perspective. This has led to increased interest in and intensified discussion about ESG investment.

The Japanese banking industry has developed financial infrastructure and undertaken social contribution activities in order to provide customers with the best possible services and fulfill our role as a pillar of social infrastructure. Our framework for achieving the SDGs and associated key initiatives are designed to contribute over the medium and long term to meeting the targets listed in the 2030 Agenda.

The details decided at the meeting held on March 15, 2018 are as follows:

 

1. Promotion structure

  • A working committee on SDGs/ESG will be newly established under the Planning Committee of the JBA. This working committee will oversee the general measures for the promotion of SDGs in collaboration with related working committees (e.g., the Working Committee on Payment and Transaction Banking, Working Committee on Efficiency of Tax and Public Service Payment, Working Committee on Financial Crimes, Working Committee on Money Laundering Issues, Working Committee on Equal Rights, Working Committee on Balanced Lending Strategies, etc.).
  • The government of Japan is also facilitating discussions on ESG related agendas through, for example, the ESG Financial Workshop hosted by the Ministry of the Environment. These topics will also be discussed at the Working Committee on SDGs/ESG.
  • We will follow up on the above initiatives on an annual basis using a PDCA cycle, and publish updates on the progress of the initiatives.

 

2. Specific initiatives (goal numbers referenced in the main items below represent the 17 SDGs)

Challenges (main items)
Challenges (sub-items)Specific initiatives in fiscal 2018
1. Provide various types of support for monitoring the progress of initiatives implemented by our member banks and for developing loan policies (common)
Responsible body: Working Committee on SDGs/ESG
(1)Ascertain and assess JBA’s initiatives
(e.g., conduct a survey regarding ESG considerations)
  • Ascertain the progress of member banks’ initiatives by conducting research such as surveys concerning ESG considerations.
  • Revise our current CSR Report and prepare and publish an SDGs Report (tentative name).
(2)Research and surveys related to the development of loan policies
  • Perform research and conduct surveys on current practices in Japan and around the world related to the development of loan policies on the environment, human rights, etc.
2. Promote and expand financial and economic literacy (Goal 4)
Responsible body: Working Committee on SDGs/ESG
(1)Promote and expand financial and economic literacy
  • Ascertain and publish updates on the progress of member banks' initiatives by conducting research such as surveys on initiatives for improving financial and economic literacy.
  • Prepare broad-usage learning materials in collaboration with other financial associations and other partners.
  • Strengthen our approach to educating young people by providing apps and websites which promote financial and economic literacy (advertising these platforms via mass media).
  • Continue providing lectures by dispatching instructors to any location upon request.
3.Initiatives to improve customer convenience through advanced payment systems and Fintech (Goal 9)
Responsible body: Working Committee on Payment and Transaction Banking, Working Committee on Efficiency of Tax and Public Service Payment
(1)Adopt an XML payments standard
  • Promote the adoption and use of the Zengin System, an electronic data interchange (EDI) for payment clearing.
(2)Extend the operating hours of the Zengin System
  • Implement extended operating hours for the Zengin System.
(3)Promote the use of open APIs
  • Summarize the take-away from discussions at the Open APIs Promotion Study Group and work to increase the number of banks utilizing open APIs.
(4)Promote initiatives to digitize bills and checks
  • Compile a report from the Working Group for Promoting the Digitization of Bills and Checks.
(5)Explore methods for making receipt and payment of taxes and public money more efficient
  • Hold an exploratory meeting between the public and private sectors to discuss methods for improving efficiency.
4. Conduct a study and undertake efforts to address the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and other low-carbon initiatives (Goal 13)
Responsible body: Working Committee on SDGs/ESG
(1)Conduct a survey on banking sector efforts to address TCFD recommendations
  • Conduct a survey to identify the efforts undertaken by the Japanese and overseas banking sectors.
(2)Achieve target values set out in the Action Plan for Achieving a Low-carbon Society
  • Continue to conduct follow-up surveys regarding the Action Plan for Achieving a Low-carbon Society and the Voluntary Action Plan for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society. (Gather data on JBA members’ electricity power consumption units, purchase rate of recycled paper and environmentally-friendly paper, paper recycling rate, etc.).
5. Actions for addressing financial crimes, money laundering, and FATF mutual evaluations (Goal 16)
Responsible body: Working Committee on Financial Crimes, Working Committee on Money Laundering Issues
(1)Efforts to prevent financial crimes
  • Continue to conduct surveys on security measures for online banking.
  • Continue to conduct educational activities to eradicate bank transfer scams and other financial crimes.
(2)Actions to respond to the FATF fourth round of AML/CFT mutual evaluations (“4th round mutual evaluations”)
  • Disseminate information regarding the 4th round mutual evaluations and enhance member banks’ capabilities to respond to them.
  • Hold a liaison meeting between the public and private sectors for enhancing anti-money laundering measures (e.g., provision of timely and appropriate information to member banks and public relations activities for customers of the member banks, etc.)
6. Promote women’s workforce participation and career advancement through work style reforms (Goal 5)
Responsible body: Working Committee on SDGs/ESG
(1)Promote women’s workforce participation and career advancement through work style reforms
  • Disseminate information regarding best practices and the efforts undertaken by individual banks.
7. Human rights measures (Goals 5 and 10)
Responsible body: Working Committee on Equal Rights and Working Committee on  SDGs/ESG
(1)Human rights measures
  • Hold lectures on human rights, promote human rights awareness, and grant awards for human rights initiatives.
  • Continue to conduct surveys regarding member banks’ initiatives for promoting the workforce participation of persons with disabilities and publish the results of these surveys.
  • Ongoing training courses to educate the public on how to recognize and provide support for people with dementia.
8. Efforts to revitalize regional economies and local communities (Goal 8)
Responsible body: Working Committee on Balanced Lending Strategies
(1)Promoting efforts for revitalizing local communities
  • Disseminate information on best practices and efforts undertaken by individual banks (including efforts undertaken by the Regional Banks Association of Japan and the Second Association of Regional Banks).

 

We will continue to promote these initiatives in order to realize a sustainable society.