Practicing Sustainability Management Unique to Norinchukin
President and Chief Executive Officer,
The Norinchukin BankOKU Kazuto
The Aim of Sustainability Management in Times of Increasing Uncertainty
The Bank is a member of cooperative organizations that support the AFF industries. We provide financial services to members that include Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA), Japan Fisheries Cooperatives (JF) and Japan Forest Owners’ Cooperatives (JForest). In so doing, we contribute to the development of the agriculture, forestry and fisheries, while also contributing to national economic prosperity. This social duty, which is defined under Article 1 of the Bank Act, is a unique mission that no senior management and employees at the Bank can forget, no matter what role we serve. To fulfill this duty, we engage in various activities along the lines of five specific missions: contribute to the global environment; contribute to the AFF industries and local communities; enhance the members’ management base; secure a sustainable financial/profit base; and maximize organizational vitality.
Issues on sustainability are becoming increasingly severe and uncertain year by year on a global basis.
As the average temperature has risen 1.2°C since before the Industrial Revolution, it was resolved at COP26, which was held in the fall of 2021, toward the 1.5°C Goal set in the Paris Agreement, to ask the parties to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 and take ambitious measures to address climate change toward 2030. Therefore, moves toward decarbonization are advancing globally. Addressing the issue of biodiversity loss is also demanded on a global basis.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 amplified a disruptive change in approaches to lifestyles and values, causing rapid changes in society and altering the environment. Taking these changes as an opportunity to learn, we recognize that to develop new ways of doing business by adapting to the post-pandemic new normal is another challenge.
These and other rapidly advancing global-scale issues threaten to rattle the very foundations of our business: food shortages due to global population growth; labor shortages due to declining birthrates and aging populations in advanced nations; and human rights issues. As society’s expectations for corporate entities to solve these social issues are growing year by year, we recognize that our stakeholders require us to conduct our businesses in ways that reflect such expectations and demands.
At the same time, the domestic AFF industries, which form the foundation of our business, are irreplaceable industries that produce life-nurturing food. These industries also offer the potential for regional revitalization, land conservation and more. From an alternative perspective, these industries could be the most susceptible to climate change and other issues related to the natural environment. Also, the AFF industries themselves burden the environment through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other factors. In Japan, these industries contribute significantly to the environment through eco-friendly agricultural initiatives, resource-managed fisheries and multifunction forests, accomplished through thinning and reforestation. Recognizing the present situation and issues clearly, we believe it is necessary for us to be proactive in leveraging our businesses to take on GHG emission reduction and other global-level issues. I feel strongly that we must work together with our stakeholders and conduct our business activities in a way to create a sustainable society.
Engaging from a Medium/Long-Term Perspective to Achieve Our Purpose
The environment surrounding the Bank and the AFF industries that serve as our foundation continues to change rapidly. These changes include deepening environmental and social issues such as climate change; transformed work styles, lifestyles and values in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic; and more. It is precisely at times like these that we have decided to take a fresh look at what the Bank should be doing for society in the future.
Aiming to be the leading bank that supports the AFF industries, food production and consumption, and the daily lives of local communities, we have defined our corporate brand statement as “Dedicated to sustaining all life”. We further distilled the concept of sustainable management and our brand statement into the message, The Chain of Life.
Human life food (animals), and the earth (our planet) are all interconnected, We require food to live. The AFF industries are what bring us this food, or in other terms, the animals and plants that become our food. These animals and plants are nourished by the air and water that are the pure blessings of nature. These blessings of nature are only available because of a sustainable global environment. The following statement is the purpose that we have defined for the Bank.
We set two new goals to reach by fiscal 2030 to achieve this Purpose.
Reducing GHG emissions consists of three initiatives:
1) reduce the GHG emissions of the Bank’s investees and borrowers; 2) increase the absorption of CO2 via forests, together with JForest members; and 3) reduce the GHG emissions of the Bank.
An increase in the income of farmers, fishermen and foresters would lead to rising populations of farmers and related workers in local regions, resulting in regional revitalization. This is our goal, which we will accomplish by raising the incomes of those involved in these regional industries in pursuit of sustainable AFF industries, as well as sustainable communities.
To maximize organizational vitality by promoting the diversity of human resources, we designated 2022 as “the first year of diversity” and will promote initiatives to create a workplace where all employees can be themselves and work with vigor and enthusiasm, thereby further contributing to our stakeholders.
The Philosophy Behind Our Corporate Logo
The logo of the Norinchukin Bank represents a Japanese landscape with vibrant AFF industries interconnected with many forms of life. The colors of the sea, land and forest swirl together, showing our dedication to journey onward alongside the breadth of life.
Our businesses exist in harmony with the life that comes from the activities of the AFF industries and the cycles of nature.
As we carry out our business while deeply rooted in local communities, we work to resolve environmental and social issues and contribute to sustainable AFF industries.
This is the traditional role of The Norinchukin Bank, and we will strive to make an even greater contribution in the future.
- Sustainability Management at The Norinchukin Bank
- Message from the CEO
- Sustainability Advisory Board
- Sustainability Issues Surrounding the AFF Industries
- Formulation of Purpose of the Bank and the Medium/Long-Term Goals
- Our Purpose, Vision and Mission
- Milestones of Sustainability Management
- Philosophies and Policies Supporting Sustainability Management
- Identifying Sustainability Issues
- Sustainability Promotion Structure
- Participation in Initiatives
- Initiatives Against COVID-19
- Initiatives for Medium/Long-Term Goals FY2030
- Progress of Initiatives Toward the Medium/Long-Term Goals FY2030
- Reducing GHG Emissions at investees and Borrowers
- Restoring a Healthy Circulation of Forest and Forest Industry Providing Full Support for Wood Utilization Initiative
- Solving Environmental and Social Issues Through Sustainable Finance
- Initiatives to Manage Environmental and Social Risks
- Initiatives to Increase the Income of Farmers, Fishermen and Foresters
- Initiatives to Promote Diversity & Inclusion
- Examples of Major Initiatives
- Sustainability Disclosure