Mizuho Bank Presented with “2017 Irresponsible Bank Japan Award” in front of Annual Shareholder Meeting


June 23 2017, 10:00 AM JST


Toyo Kawakami, Rainforest Action Network: +81-80-3488-9849, toyo@ran.org

Marie Tanao, 350.org Japan: +81-90-2183-2113, marie.tanao@350.org

Ayumi Fukakusa, Friends of the Earth Japan: +81-3-6909-5983, fukakusa@foejapan.org

Mizuho Bank Presented with “2017 Irresponsible Bank Japan Award”

in front of Annual Shareholder Meeting 

To download the ESG Performance Report of Mizuho: www.ran.org/mizuho_riskyinvestment

To access pictures from the action: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzOm8egPH8N8cjBqeXdtanN6WE0?usp=sharing

TOKYO, June 23, 2017 — A coalition of NGOs offered Mizuho Financial Group the “2017 Irresponsible Bank Japan Award” as part of a demonstration at Mizuho’s shareholder meeting in Tokyo today. The activists urged shareholders to demand that Mizuho ends its investments in dangerous fossil fuels, deforestation, and nuclear power and adopt comprehensive due diligence policies to safeguard against these risks. The demonstration also called on Mizuho to fully disclose ESG risks across its entire financing portfolio. An NGO member dressed as a Mizuho employee received a plaque that read “2017 Irresponsible Bank Japan Award.” Others joined the action with a banner saying, “Mizuho: Stop Banking on Climate Change.”

The mock awards ceremony was arranged to highlight the findings of the “2016 ESG Performance Report of Mizuho Financial Group” released yesterday by NGOs Rainforest Action Network, 350.org Japan, Friends of the Earth Japan, and Japan Center for Sustainable Environment and Society. The report showed that Mizuho’s irresponsible banking practices are fueling disastrous climate change, threatening rainforests, endangering human health, and facilitating human rights violations. Mizuho is also well behind its global peers in adopting strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies addressing these issues and has failed to adequately disclose the material risks of its investments to shareholders.

“Mizuho is pumping billions of dollars to carbon-intensive companies involved in fossil fuels and tropical deforestation. Shareholders need to know this is a material risk that Mizuho is failing to properly disclose,” said Toyo Kawakami, Japan Director for Rainforest Action Network.

“Today’s action is to highlight Mizuho’s irresponsible financing practices which are accelerating climate change and causing social and environmental issues. Mizuho should commit to responsible financing and reduce its funding of fossil fuels to align with the goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius as set out in the Paris Agreement,”” said Shin Furuno, Divestment Campaigner for 350.org Japan

“The fossil fuel projects funded by Mizuho are breaching the human rights of local people and wrecking their livelihoods,” said Ayumi Fukakusa from FoE Japan, “Mizuho must respect and take responsibility of the impacts of these projects.”

The coalition handed out copies of the NGO report to shareholders as they entered the shareholder meeting.  The report discloses that between 2011 and 2016, Mizuho provided over 38 billion USD in loans and underwriting to fossil fuel related companies in Japan, far exceeding its peers Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG). In the same period, Mizuho contributed over 4 billion USD (adjusted) in loans and underwriting to companies threatening rainforests in Southeast Asia, and nearly 8 billion USD to nuclear-related companies in Japan. The report profiles several controversies in Mizuho’s portfolio and provides detailed recommendations to Mizuho’s shareholders, including urging Mizuho to assess and disclose significant ESG risks across its entire financing portfolio, develop a science based roadmap for reducing financed emissions across its entire portfolio in line with 2 degrees, and publish comprehensive ESG safeguard policies.

About the Organizations:

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has a 30+ year history challenging power and systemic injustice to preserve forests, protect the climate and uphold human rights through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org

350.org Japan was established in April 2015 as the Japan office of 350.org, a global environmental organization. 350.org Japan is working to spread fossil fuel divestment in Japan, mainly through the My Bank My Future campaign. 350.org Japan is creating a people-driven movement to demand banks adopt sustainable investment policies that keep global warming well below 1.5-2℃ — a target codified in the Paris Agreement. 350.org’s global network extends to more than 180 countries. For more information please visit: http://350.org/ja

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Japan tackles problems such as climate change and energy, forests and biodiversity, development finance and environment, Fukushima support and nuclear phase-out, and more. As a member of Friends of the Earth International, it has been active in Japan since 1980. Its ultimate goal is to create a world in which all people may live peacefully and equitably. For more information, please visit: www.foejapan.org/

Japan Center for Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) was established in June 1993, inspired by the Earth Summit held in Brazil, with the idea of ​​an NGO that carries out independent research, policy recommendations and dissemination of information from the citizen’s standpoint. Current areas of work include “Sustainable Development and Aid Program” aimed at improving the Japanese Government’s development aid funding to developing countries, and “Sustainable Society and Tax/Fiscal Program” aimed at improving Japanese Government funding to review mass production, consumption and disposal within Japan. For more information, please visit: http://jacses.org/