Human Rights Policy
Positioning of the Human Rights Policy
As a leading Japanese financial services group with a global presence and a broad customer base, Mizuho has long committed itself to growing together with our customers in a stable and sustainable manner and bringing together our group–wide expertise to contribute to the prosperity of economies and societies throughout the world.
Mizuho is aware that creating lasting value for our customers and the economies and communities in which we operate, as embodied in our name Mizuho, which in Japanese means “a bountiful harvest”, requires us to pursue corporate activities in a manner that is in harmony with societal expectations.
Mizuho realizes our potential to impact human rights throughout our own operations and business relationships.
Mizuho commits to respecting internationally recognized human rights in our “Mizuho Code of Conduct”.
Mizuho’s business domains include banking, trust banking, securities, and other financial services. This Human Rights Policy sets out in further detail the content of our commitment to meet our responsibility to respect human rights, pursuant to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, throughout our global operations and our value chain.
Scope of Application of the Human Rights Policy
This Human Rights Policy applies to all officers and employees of the Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. group companies.
Mizuho expects our business partners, including our clients and suppliers, to share our conviction to uphold the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.
2. International Standards
In addition to ensuring compliance with applicable laws wherever we operate, Mizuho’s approach to human rights is based upon the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (“ILO Declaration”), and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In the event of discrepancies between internationally recognized human rights standards and domestic laws in a given territory, Mizuho will follow the higher standard. Where domestic laws in a given territory conflict with international standards, we will seek appropriate ways to respect the principles of internationally recognized human rights.
Mizuho is a signatory to the UN Global Compact's Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption, and respects the social responsibility guidance standard ISO 26000.
3. Corporate Governance
Mizuho Financial Group regularly reports its initiatives for respecting human rights to the Board of Directors following discussion at the executive level, including at the Executive Management Committee.
The establishment and revision of the Human Rights Policy are approved by the Board of Directors after deliberation at the Executive Management Committee.
4. Human Rights Due Diligence
Referring to the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, we will continue to further integrate human rights into our existing corporate processes in order to prevent or mitigate any adverse impacts that our business activities may have on human rights. We will also strive to conduct human rights due diligence through the following: 1) Identify and assess adverse impacts on human rights; 2) Cease, prevent, or mitigate adverse impacts on human rights; 3) Track implementation and results of 1 and 2; and 4) Communicate with stakeholders on how impacts are addressed.
Through human rights due diligence, we strive to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts in our operations. However, even with the best policies and practices, Mizuho may cause or contribute to an adverse human rights impact that it had not foreseen or was not able to prevent. In such cases, we will seek ways to address the adverse impact, referring to the following framework.
In line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we seek to cooperate in the remediation of adverse impacts through legitimate processes, and where reasonable and appropriate, encourage our clients to prevent or mitigate any adverse impacts on human rights.
Our Approach to Forced Labor, Child Labor, and Human Trafficking
Mizuho will strive to strengthen its human rights due diligence with the aim to eliminate forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking from its business and value chain.
5. Our Employees
Mizuho is committed to treating all employees with dignity and to ensuring respect for their human rights.
We assign the highest priority to fulfilling our responsibility to provide a healthy and safe working environment for our employees.
We are guided by principles such as those in the ILO Declaration, including as regards nondiscrimination, the prohibition of child labor and forced labor, and freedom of association and right to collective bargaining.
We offer equal employment opportunities to all, promote diversity and inclusion, and provide employees with opportunities for learning and development.
We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind, including on the grounds of gender, nationality, birthplace, race, age, ethnic origin, religion, political views, membership in labor unions, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, pregnancy, marital status, or health conditions.
We believe that the physical and mental health of all Mizuho employees is indispensable, and we endeavor to maintain and improve employee health. We also strive to help employees achieve a more fulfilling life through their work.
We value an open dialogue with our employees and have established robust employee consultation systems to create a supportive work environment.
We are making every effort to provide a framework that maintains impartiality while protecting the rights of employees when addressing concerns or responding to complaints.
Mizuho has established a Committee for the Promotion of Human Rights Education, and will work diligently to enhance human rights awareness for and build the capacity of each employee with respect to their own rights and those of others.
Mizuho recognizes that as a financial services provider, we can contribute to or be linked with adverse human rights impacts by way of our business relationships in all sectors.
Mizuho strives to perform adequate due diligence to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts associated with our business operations, using our leverage where appropriate.
Mizuho is aware of the importance of managing information in a way that ensures appropriate protection and use of information assets.
We continually work to strengthen our information management practices in order to identify appropriate ways to protect and respect our clients’ privacy. This includes our aim to ensure that our security management measures and information administration methods for information assets are clear and straightforward. We also implement training and awareness-building exercises to ensure that members of our organization have a firm understanding regarding the proper protection of information assets.
Financial Crime Risk Management
Mizuho recognizes that the use of its products and services for money laundering and the financing of terrorism may result in human rights violations. We continue to look for ways to strengthen our efforts toward preventing Mizuho, its employees, and its clients from contributing to or becoming involved in money laundering. Mizuho will endeavor to positively contribute to the healthy stability and growth of the financial system.
Ensuring Safety and Soundness for Financial Service Clients
Mizuho has established its Basic Policy on Management of Finance Facilitation and believes that recognizing the social responsibility and public service mission held by financial institutions; engaging in appropriate and proactive risk-taking under an appropriate risk management framework; and actively performing financial intermediary functions contribute to the sound development of our clients and the economy, as well as to the enrichment of individual lives. Based on this belief, we strive for management of finance facilitation that is uniform across Mizuho.
Mizuho is also actively engaged in financial and economic education to support the improvement of financial literacy and to reduce the likelihood of excessive debt and financial improprieties.
Responsible Financing and Investment
We have established an Environmental and Social Management Policy for Financing and Investment Activity for the purpose of avoiding and reducing negative environmental and social impacts resulting from our financing and investment activity. This policy aims to identify human rights issues with a high risk of client involvement and sectors with a high risk of negative impacts on human rights, and to establish policies for preventing and/or mitigating these negative impacts.
When determining whether to engage in transactions, we account for the degree to which the client has taken steps to avoid or mitigate risk and other due diligence as appropriate, based on the characteristics of the services we are providing. We also regularly confirm the status of initiatives for environmental and social risks by engaging in constructive dialogue with clients in specific sectors.
Mizuho Bank implements and adheres to the Equator Principles and coordinates with clients in identifying, evaluating, and managing environmental and social risks when providing financing for large-scale development projects. The Equator Principles require the client conducting these projects to protect Indigenous Peoples' rights, to ensure occupational health and safety, and to engage in dialogue with stakeholders, including affected communities and workers. Mizuho Bank conducts appropriate environmental and social due diligence in accordance with the in–house Equator Principles Implementation Manual for project-related financing transactions which fall under the scope of the Equator Principles.
In our asset management businesses, Mizuho Trust & Banking and Asset Management One accept and implement the “Principles for Responsible Institutional Investors ≪Japan’s Stewardship Code≫” for "responsible institutional investors" to fulfill their stewardship responsibilities. In addition, these entities are signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), pursuant to which they engage with investee companies and monitor fund management companies with respect to ESG-related issues.
7. Our Suppliers
Mizuho’s operations are supported by a network of suppliers providing goods and services, such as office supplies, computer systems, and outsourced labor.
We have established a Procurement Policy to enhance our responsible procurement practices by clarifying our basic procurement approach and our requirements for suppliers to consider matters relating to the environment, respect for human rights, compliance, and information management.
We will make efforts to communicate this Human Rights Policy to our primary suppliers in a phased manner and request that our suppliers uphold a standard of respect for human rights commensurate with this policy. In certain cases, we will undertake an annual process to assess our suppliers’ adherence to the responsibility to respect human rights. Where necessary, we will take action appropriate to the circumstances.
8. Communication, Engagement, and Disclosure
We are committed to disclosing our progress on our human rights journey. We will track and periodically report on our activities with respect to human rights via our website.
Mizuho will continually work on establishing appropriate mechanisms to ensure rights holders have access to remedy when needed. Concerned rights holders can bring to our attention their concerns through our branches, headquarters, call centers, designated telephone lines, and via our website.
Mizuho emphasizes engagement with our stakeholders and strives for transparency and responsiveness. We have benefited from the views of stakeholders in the drafting of this Human Rights Policy and the devising of our implementation strategy.
We are committed to remaining engaged with stakeholders and to reviewing and amending this Human Rights Policy as and when appropriate.