Corporate Social Responsibility
The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 not only devastated the directly hit areas of northeastern Japan at the epicenter, but also had severe consequences for the entire Japanese economy, due to loss of power generation capacity, disruption of manufacturing supply chains and damage to agriculture and fisheries. The earthquake and tsunami raised a wide range of issues.
Under the Save Power & the Nation (“SPN”) banner, all employees and executives of the bank urged each other to rack their brains to come up with ways of saving energy, a pressing issue, and of supporting recovery in the disaster-affected areas. Ideas were solicited in the following categories.
Three weeks after the start of the campaign, over 3,000 ideas and suggestions had been submitted by employees from a wide range of departments and job grades. Steps were taken to put into practice energy-saving measures that were judged to be potentially effective.
In addition to the many ideas sent in under the “SPN” campaign with regard to supporting reconstruction in the disaster-hit areas, some employees said they wanted to go to the Tohoku region to work as volunteers. To support those wishing to do “what can be done now” as a first step, SMBC set up a framework to enable employees to take special leave for volunteer activities in the earthquake and tsunami area. This system became operational in May 2011.
To date, volunteers have been recruited not only from the bank but also from other SMFG group companies. Based on needs identified by local government and volunteer centers in the areas concerned, SMFG staff have been involved in voluntary activities such as clearing mud from residential areas and concrete water runoff troughs alongside roads, clearing up debris, and cleaning and restoring photographs and other personal items with memorabilia value.
In July 2011, over 400 employees of SMBC Nikko Securities - mainly 350 new hires - were divided into three teams, each of which spent one to three weeks on volunteer activities in the disaster zone.
Many respondents in the “SPN” campaign suggested that there should be more opportunities to make donations directly and continuously to the affected areas. Just after the earthquake, many employees at all grades made donations. To support longer-term initiatives by local government and support activity groups in the disaster-hit areas, SMBC established the “Great East Japan Earthquake Support Fund” for all employees. In October 2011, the bank made donations through the support fund to help the four worst-affected prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki). These supplemented donations made by SMBC and SMBC Nikko Securities from fees on investment trust business.
To promote reconstruction following the disaster, the SMFG group has ongoing support programs run through both its core operations and its community contribution program. Measures are designed to reflect changing needs in the affected areas.