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Mizuho and the Equator Principles

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Mizuho Bank (formerly Mizuho Corporate Bank) recognized early on that the Equator Principles would become a new business standard in international financing for environmental and social risk management of large–scale projects and therefore within six months of their inception in June 2003, Mizuho Bank became the first Asian bank to adopt the Equator Principles in October 2003. Since then, Mizuho Bank has been conducting environmental and social risks assessments based on the Equator Principles, and has also been proactively undertaking initiatives to promote them, and raise awareness regarding environmental and social risks impacts among businesses and other related parties, including the borrowers. These activities have enabled Mizuho Bank to contribute to balanced economic development via financing and environmental preservation, thus fulfilling its social responsibility as a financial institution.

Since the adoption of the Equator Principles in October 2003, Mizuho Bank has played a leadership role in the Equator Principles Association as a member of the Steering Committee. Mizuho Bank also led the Equator Principles Association as its Chair for the term May 2014 to May 2015, thus becoming the only Asian bank to chair the association.

Chronicle: Initiatives for the Equator Principles

Jun 2003 Equator Principles were established.
Oct 2003 Mizuho Bank (former Mizuho Corporate Bank) adopted the Equator Principles.
Jul 2006 The Equator Principles were revised, and the second revision of Equator Principles became effective.
Nov 2006 Assumed duties as Secretariat Bank for the Equator Principles Financial Institutions until July 2008.
Jun 2007 Presented with the Chairman's Award of the 2007 Sustainable Banking Awards.
Mar 2009 Presented with the Green Banking Contribution Award at the International Forum on China Environmental Investment.
Aug 2010 Assumed the role of the Leader of the Equator Principles Asia Outreach Working Group
Jun 2013 The Equator Principles were revised, and the third version of Equator Principles became effective.
May 2014 Assumed the role of the Chair Bank of Equator Principles Association until May 2015.
Mar 2015 Recognized for good practices in the Principles for Financial Action towards a Sustainable Society (Principles for Financial Action for the 21st Century).

Implementation System for the Equator Principles

Mizuho Bank has created the Sustainable Development Office in its Global Project Finance Department. The Sustainable Development Office is responsible for the bank's overall implementation of the Equator Principles and has four dedicated staff and an external advisory contract with a consultant in Washington, D.C.

The Sustainable Development Office applies the Mizuho's in–house Equator Principles Implementation Manual to all its projects globally, that are under the scope of Equator Principles. The Sustainable Development Office also endeavors to promote internal understanding of the Equator Principles through in–house training and via the distribution of in–house newsletters etc.

Equator Principles Implementation Steps (application process) [for Project Finance]

Application of the Equator Principles in syndication

For a project that falls under the scope of Equator Principles, and in which Mizuho Bank participates in the loan syndication, the business promotion division officer first prepares an "Equator Principles (EP) Screening Form", which is a simplified checklist. The Sustainable Development Office then reviews the EP Screening Form and categorizes the proposed project into A, B or C based on the magnitude of the potential environmental and social impacts. Also, the Sustainable Development Office prepares a recommendation in an "EP Screening Report" etc., to inform the business promotion division officer the necessary actions that the client shall take to comply with the environmental and social requirements. The business promotion division officer then supports the client as recommended by the Sustainable Development Office. In addition, the Sustainable Development Office also ensures that the relevant environmental and social covenants are included in the loan documentation.

Application of the Equator Principles in Project Finance Advisory Services (FA)

For a project in which Mizuho Bank acts as a financial advisor, the Sustainable Development Office supports the clients by advising them on the environmental and social requirements they would need to fulfill under Equator Principles, which in turn helps them in early identification of issues likely to surface under environmental and social reviews by Equator Principles Financial Institutions and/or under JBIC's environmental and social assessment.

Application of the Equator Principles at Each Stage of Project Finance (Image)
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Equator Principles Implementation Steps (Application process) [for Project Finance]

  1. 1.The business promotion division officer prepares an "EP Screening Form", which is a simplified environmental and social risks assessment checklist, and submits it to the Sustainable Development Office.
  2. 2.The Sustainable Development Office reviews the "EP Screening Form", conducts the required due diligence and categorizes the project into A, B or C.
  3. 3.The recommendation from the Sustainable Development Office (ex. "EP Screening Report", etc.) is submitted to the credit division together with the credit application prepared by the business promotion division. The credit division takes into account the potential environmental and social risks of the project to make a comprehensive determination of the risks specific to the project.
  4. 4.After loan documentation has been determined, the Sustainable Development Office confirms that the necessary Action Plan and the covenants are in place. If additional action is required to make the project compliant with Equator Principles, the Sustainable Development Office addresses to the Client through the business promotion division to conduct necessary actions.
  5. 5.After confirming that the necessary steps have been taken by the Client, the business promotion division prepares an "EP Review Form" and submits to the Sustainable Development Office.
  6. 6.The Sustainable Development Office confirms that the project is compliant with the Equator Principles, and prepares an "EP Review Report" as and if necessary.
Internal Equator Principles implementation flow
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Disclosure subject to Equator Principles III (Jun 2013)

Closed Transactions screened for EP Compliance

Project Finance

By Category (Number of projects)
Category Definition FY2013 FY2014 FY2015
A Projects with potential significant adverse environmental and social risks and/or impacts that are diverse, irreversible or unprecedented. 5 7 3
B Projects with potential limited adverse environmental and social risks and/or impacts that are few in number, generally site–specific, largely reversible and readily addressed through mitigation measures. 41 50 36
C Projects with minimal or no adverse environmental and social risks and/or impacts. 0 4 1
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects which reached Financial Close in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015 to which Equator Principles was applied.
    2. The figures above are those of Mizuho Corporate Bank until June 30, 2013.
    3. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.
By Sector (Number of projects)
Category Year Sector Total
Oil/Gas/LNG Mining Power Petrochemical Infrastructure Others
A FY2015 0 0 3 0 0 0 3
FY2014 1 1 2 2 1 0 7
FY2013 0 2 1 2 0 0 5
B FY2015 5 0 25 0 4 2 36
FY2014 5 0 37 1 6 1 50
FY2013 5 0 30 0 5 1 41
C FY2015 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
FY2014 0 0 0 0 3 1 4
FY2013 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total FY2015 5 0 29 0 4 2 40
FY2014 6 1 39 3 10 2 61
FY2013 5 2 31 2 5 1 46
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects which reached Financial Close in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015 to which Equator Principles was applied.
    2. The figures above are those of Mizuho Corporate Bank until June 30, 2013.
    3. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.
By Region, Country (Designated/ Non–designated), and Implementation of Independent Review by an Environmental and Social Consultant (Number of projects)
Category Year Region Total Designated Country Non–Designated Country Independent Review Done
Americas Asia/ Oceania Europe/ Middle East/ Africa
A FY2015 0 2 1 3 1 2 3
FY2014 2 2 3 7 2 5 7
FY2013 1 3 1 5 2 3 5
B FY2015 18 13 5 36 29 7 36
FY2014 24 23 3 50 27 23 38
FY2013 14 20 7 41 32 9 26
C FY2015 1 0 0 1 1 0 0
FY2014 0 1 3 4 4 0 0
FY2013 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total FY2015 19 15 6 40 31 9 39
FY2014 26 26 9 61 33 28 45
FY2013 15 23 8 46 34 12 31
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects which reached Financial Close in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015 to which Equator Principles was applied.
    2. The figures above are those of Mizuho Corporate Bank until June 30, 2013.
    3. List of Designated Countries defined by the Equator Principles Association is published on the Equator Principles Association website.
      Equator Principles Association Designated Countries list
    4. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.

Project–Related Corporate Loan

By Category (Number of projects)
Category Definition FY2013 FY2014 FY2015
A Projects with potential significant adverse environmental and social risks and/or impacts that are diverse, irreversible or unprecedented. 2 2 2
B Projects with potential limited adverse environmental and social risks and/or impacts that are few in number, generally site–specific, largely reversible and readily addressed through mitigation measures. 1 4 4
C Projects with minimal or no adverse environmental and social risks and/or impacts. 0 0 1
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects which reached Financial Close in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015 to which Equator Principles was applied.
    2. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.
By Sector (Number of projects)
Category Year Sector Total
Oil/Gas/LNG Mining Power Petrochemical Infrastructure Others
A FY2015 0 0 0 0 1 1 2
FY2014 0 0 0 0 1 1 2
FY2013 1 0 0 0 0 1 2
B FY2015 0 0 1 1 1 1 4
FY2014 0 0 1 0 2 1 4
FY2013 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
C FY2015 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
FY2014 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
FY2013 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total FY2015 0 0 1 1 3 2 7
FY2014 0 0 1 0 3 2 6
FY2013 1 0 1 0 0 1 3
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects which reached Financial Close in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015 to which Equator Principles was applied.
    2. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.
By Region, Country (Designated/ Non–designated), and Implementation of Independent Review by an Environmental and Social Consultant (Number of projects)
Category Year Region Total Designated Country Non–Designated Country Independent Review Done
Americas Asia/ Oceania Europe/ Middle East/ Africa
A FY2015 2 0 0 2 0 2 2
FY2014 1 1 0 2 1 1 1
FY2013 1 0 1 2 1 1 2
B FY2015 1 1 2 4 2 2 1
FY2014 1 3 0 4 1 3 1
FY2013 0 0 1 1 0 1 1
C FY2015 0 1 0 1 1 0 0
FY2014 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
FY2013 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total FY2015 3 2 2 7 3 4 3
FY2014 2 4 0 6 2 4 2
FY2013 1 0 2 3 1 2 3
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects which reached Financial Close in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015 to which Equator Principles was applied.
    2. List of Designated Countries defined by the Equator Principles Association is published on the Equator Principles Association website.
      Equator Principles Association Designated Countries list
    3. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.

Project Finance Advisory Services

By Sector (Number of projects)
Year Sector Total
Oil/Gas/LNG Mining Power Petrochemical Infrastructure Others
FY2015 1 0 9 1 3 1 15
FY2014 0 0 15 1 1 1 18
FY2013 1 1 6 0 2 2 12
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects for which Mizuho Bank had entered Project Finance Advisory Service contract in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015.
    2. The figures above are of Mizuho Corporate Bank until June 30, 2013.
    3. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.
By Region (Number of projects)
Year Region
Americas Asia/Oceania Europe/Middle East/Africa Total
FY2015 1 14 0 15
FY2014 0 16 2 18
FY2013 3 6 3 12
  • (Note)
    1. The figures above represent the number of projects for which Mizuho Bank had entered Project Finance Advisory Service contract in FY2013, FY2014 and FY2015.
    2. The figures above are of Mizuho Corporate Bank until June 30, 2013.
    3. The figures above have been assured by KPMG AZSA Sustainability.

Project Name Reporting Sample

FY 2015 Closed Project Finance Transactions screened for EP Compliance
No. Project Name Country
1 Kagoshima Yusui Megasolar Project Japan
2 Karumai West Solar Project Japan
3 KPJU HigashiHiroshima Solar Power Plant Japan
4 Moka GTCC Power Plant Project Japan
5 Otoyo Wind Farm Japan
6 Sakaide Solar Project Japan
7 Showamura Ogose Solar Project Japan
8 Solar Power Generation in Miyazaki Kamenokou Japan
9 Solar Power Minamisoma, Kashima Inc. Japan
10 Tokachi Solar Project Japan
11 Tokushima Mega Solar Project Japan
12 Sydney Light Rail Australia
13 Nobelwind Belgium
14 FPSO Cidade de Saquarema Brazil
15 Tartaruga Verde FPSO Project Brazil
16 Goshen Wind Canada
17 Jericho Wind Canada
18 Southgate Solar Canada
19 Windsor Solar Canada
20 Nordsee One Offshore Windfarm Germany
21 Qurayyat Desalination SAOC Oman
22 Salalah IPP Oman
23 Limay Coal–Fired Power Project Philippines
24 Facility D Qatar
25 Jazan Air Separation Unit Project Saudi Arabia
26 Banpong SPP Thailand
27 KLU Small Power Producer Project Thailand
28 Adelanto Solar I & II United States
29 Bloom Electrons V United States
30 Carroll County CCGT United States
31 Comanche Trail Pipeline United States
32 CPV Valley Energy Center United States
33 FPSO Turritella United States
34 Freeport Liquefaction Train 3 Project United States
35 Henrietta Solar Project United States
36 Rosamond Solar Energy Project Phase I United States
37 Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project (Phase III) United States
38 Silver State South United States
39 Trans–Pecos Pipeline United States

Utilization of Originally Developed Tools

The Equator Principles requires compliance with the IFC Performance Standards, World Bank Group Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Guidelines and with the host country laws, regulations and permits. IFC Performance Standards comprises of 8 standards related to development of environmental and social risk management system by the client, consideration of biodiversity, indigenous peoples, and cultural heritage etc. On the other hand, Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Guidelines are technical guidance, and use two complementary sets which includes the General EHS Guidelines, that give guidance on common EHS issues potentially applicable to all industry sectors, and the sector specific EHS guidelines for 62 Industry sectors. Mizuho Bank has its original "Environmental and Social Checklist by Sector," which reflects all the requirements under the above standards for the 35 sectors in which the Bank usually undertakes and expects business, these include Oil and Gas Development and Thermal Power, sectors among others, so that environmental and social reviews based on the World Bank Group EHS Guidelines can be implemented quickly and comprehensively. In addition, sectors unique to Mizuho Bank such as Bioethanol, which are not covered by the EHS Guidelines, are also included.

Because the descriptions of the IFC Performance Standards and the World Bank Group EHS Guidelines are very technical and detailed the use of formatted checklists is an effective means for applying them to banking practices. The Environmental and Social Checklist by Sector is not only used for internal checking but also used in cases such as early identification of issues to be confirmed by the client or by the bank's environmental consulting company, before they prepare an assessment report.

Mizuho Bank discloses part of its Environmental and Social Checklist for Offshore Oil and Gas Development, Mining, and Thermal Power, as a reference for stakeholders.

Examples of Implementation of the Equator Principles

Pioneer Activities

Serving as the Secretariat Bank (2006 to 2008)

In November 2006, Mizuho Bank was designated as the Secretariat Bank for Equator Principles Financial Institutions. During Mizuho's tenure as the secretariat which lasted for 2 years until July 2008, we assumed duties such as supporting the potential Equator Principles adopters in the adoption process and served as the point of communication for external stakeholders and public.

Presented with the Chairman's Award of the 2007 Sustainable Banking Awards

On June 7, 2007, Mizuho Bank, along with 10 other Equator Principles Financial Institutions, was awarded for showing outstanding leadership in actively coordinating the process of adopting the revised Equator Principles (issued in July 2006). The Sustainable Banking Awards were first awarded in 2006 by the Financial Times in association with the IFC. The FT Sustainable Banking Awards are designed to recognize banks that have shown innovation in integrating social, environmental and corporate governance objectives into their operations. In adopting the revised Equator Principles, the 11 Award recipients played a significant role as working group members in drafting revised versions, building consensus among Equator Principles Financial Institutions and holding globally targeted consultations with major clients and environmental NGOs.

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Leadership as a Member of the Steering Committee

Mizuho Bank is a member of the Equator Principles Association Steering Committee consisting of 12 banks worldwide. During the revision of the Equator Principles in 2013, Mizuho Bank took part in various Task Forces such as scope expansion, information disclosure, and climate changes and contributed to finalizing the revised Equator Principles.

Mizuho Bank also participates together with other Equator Principles members in various working groups, such as Biodiversity, Social Risks and Capacity Building & Training, and serves as the lead bank for the Asia Outreach Working Group to help define policies and guidance for the larger group in these important areas of interest.

Serving as the Chair Bank (2014 to 2015)

From May 2014, Mizuho Bank assumed the role of the Chair of the Equator Principles Association, and played a leadership role by leading the discussions and decisions affecting the operational policies and organizational management of the Association. At the annual meeting of the Association on October 28, 2014, Mizuho Bank led the other member institutions in discussions regarding climate change, biodiversity, the protection of human rights, capacity building and training among the Association.

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Outreach Activities for the Equator Principles in Asia

Presence of Asian banks in the world has been increasing with the economic growth. For example, Chinese banks have greatly increased their global influence. However, the number of Asian banks who have adopted the Equator Principles (4 banks from Japan, 1 bank each from China and India, and 2 banks from Taiwan) is still very small compared to those in Europe and Americas.

In recent years, Asian banks have increased their participation in large scale project finance transactions globally. Consequently, Asian banks are anticipated to become more interested in adopting the Principles. To facilitate this, as a leader of the Asia Outreach Working Group of Equator Principles Association since 2010, Mizuho Bank has been proactively conducting meetings in collaboration with multilateral institutions such as IFC, to enhance the understanding of the Equator Principles requirements among banks in Asia. Mizuho Bank has also been actively engaging with stakeholders including non–financial institutions by holding several outreach seminars in the region.

Trainees Accepted from Industrial Bank Co., Ltd. of China

During the period from June 23 to the end of July 2009, Mizuho Bank accepted two trainees from Industrial Bank Co., Ltd., which was the first Chinese bank to adopt the Equator Principles. During their training the trainees got an opportunity to learn implementation of Equator Principles together with practical case studies.

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Seminar presented to Vietnamese Delegation

In November 2013, Mizuho Bank, in cooperation with IFC, hosted a seminar about Equator Principles to Vietnamese Delegation which included participants from Ministry of Environment of Vietnam, Central Bank of Vietnam, and major commercial banks in Vietnam. Other Equator Principles Financial Institutions from Europe, Americas and Asia also attended the seminar as presenters. The seminar focused on sharing the implementation experiences and challenges of environmental and social risk management to provide in–depth view of the Equator Principles to the participants. The Equator Principles Financial Institutions mainly discussed various case studies with the delegation and facilitated further discussion and Q&A.

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Trainees Accepted from Cathay United Bank Co., Ltd. of Taiwan

During the period from May 27 to June 5, 2015, Mizuho Bank accepted two trainees from Cathay United Bank Co., Ltd., which is the first Taiwanese bank to adopt the Equator Principles. During their training the trainees got an opportunity to learn implementation of Equator Principles together with practical case studies.

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Publication of a book on "Implementation Guidelines for the Equator Principles"

Mizuho Bank together with Bank of Tokyo–Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation published a book on implementation guidelines for the Equator Principles on March 15, 2016. This book not only covers the details of all the ten constituent principles of the Equator Principles framework and their practical implementation by the author banks, but it also provides details on some of the prominent environmental and social risk management guidelines other than the Equator Principles that are commonly referred by the financial institutions.
Mizuho Bank believes that the publication of this book will help promote awareness regarding the Equator Principles and other significant environmental and social risk management guidelines and frameworks and will enhance knowledge sharing among the various industries and financial institutions in Japan.

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Seminars held for Stakeholders

Mizuho Bank has been promoting the understanding of the Equator Principles by conducting several outreach events such as proactively holding seminars not only for private financial institutions but also for other stakeholders, including government organizations and private businesses, both in Japan and overseas. Around 1,000 participants attended such promotional events undertaken by Mizuho Bank in fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

List of Seminars held by Mizuho Bank on the Equator Principles
Fiscal Year Country/Region Participants Number of Participants (Approx.)
2015 Japan Government organizations, local governments, Incorporated administrative agencies, Public interest incorporated foundations, NGOs/NPOs, Environmental research/training institutions, Certification organizations, college professors/students, private financial institutions, industrial companies, environmental/technical consultants 385
Taiwan Government organizations, private financial institutions, Financial research and training institutions 200
Malaysia Government organizations, private financial institutions, Environmental/Technical Consultants 50
United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and others Environmental Consultants 80
2014 Japan Government organizations, private financial institutions, private businesses, lawyers, and others 150
China Government organizations, private financial institutions 40
Taiwan Private financial institutions 35
Thailand Government organizations, private financial institutions 20
Mongolia Government organizations, private financial institutions 20
2013 Vietnam Government organizations, private financial institutions 20

In addition to the above, in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, Mizuho Bank participated in the advisory committee of the "Project for accelerating Asian regional collaboration on Environmental Impact Assessment" sponsored by Japan's Ministry of Environment. As a practitioner of environmental and social risk management in lines with the Equator Principles, Mizuho Bank participated in the discussions that led to the formulation of the workflow and target setting of this advisory group, together with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), the coordinator of the group, and several other stakeholders from industry, academia, government and private sector.

Internal Training Sessions for Employees

Mizuho Bank conducts regular training sessions on environmental and social risks assessment and Equator Principles requirements for its employees involved in large–scale project financing. In fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015 these training sessions were attended by a total of 620 employees.

Internal Training Sessions held by Mizuho Bank on the Equator Principles
Fiscal Year Country/Region Number of Participants (Approx.)
2015 Japan 30
Indonesia 10
United States 30
2014 Japan 40
Singapore 5
Hong Kong 25
South Korea 20
Taiwan 30
Thailand 15
Vietnam 55
India 15
Malaysia 10
Australia 15
United States 15
Canada 15
United Kingdom 55
France 5
Germany 5
2013 Japan 70
Singapore 25
Hong Kong 5
United States 70
United Kingdom 35
Netherlands 20

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