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Sumitomo Mitsui Card
The credit card business traditionally consumes lots of paper, not least for the account statements sent to customers, but Sumitomo Mitsui Card is endeavoring to change that by encouraging a switch to online statements. The company donates a portion of the money thus saved to general incorporated association More Trees and in 2020 launched SMBC Card Forests with this partner to protect forests and biodiversity. “We emphasize our fundamental contribution to sustainable forests,” says Mayu Kaneko of the Marketing Dept., which is leading this initiative. She explains, “I used to think that simply planting trees is good for the environment. But I have learned that proper forest management, notably thinning of the undergrowth, is necessary for sustainable forests. Sharing these insights, I’d like to reach out to the public, eliciting their support for our efforts to protect forests.”
There are five SMBC Card Forests in Japan. Having started at three locations in Iwate, Nagano and Miyazaki, forests in Kochi and Nara were added to the program in 2021. It is noteworthy that this socially and environmentally beneficial activity of Sumitomo Mitsui Card is integrated into the business and linked to marketing. “A forest is a long-term project with a time horizon of at least a century. We position this initiative as shared value comprising economic value provided by our business and social value, namely, protection of the global environment. Going forward, while expanding the scope of our activities to include other forms of value, such as regional revitalization, we intend to maintain our support over the long haul.”
Sumitomo Mitsui Card’s tagline is “Have a good Cashless.” For Kaneko it means a “good cashless” future embodying values that strike a powerful chord with customers and society at large. She is working to make it happen.
Reprinted from SUMITOMO QUARTERLY NO.167