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June 04, 2003

Teachers With a Conscience

The Mutual Aid Association for the Tokyo Metropolitan Teachers and Officials is engaging in so-called socially responsible investment (SRI) by selecting fund-investment targets on the basis of their eco-friendliness and other ethical and social factors. Although the practice is common in the West and is winning attention in Japan, this is the first case of a pension fund going down the SRI road. A securities firm official said, "This is probably the first pension fund invested with SRI in mind in Japan." The association, with about 112,000 teachers and other staff, has ¥84 billion yen in its pension pot, of which ¥2 billion was invested this year according to SRI principles. With green issues to the fore, companies that have introduced environmental accounting or are focused on reducing waste score heaviest on the SRI scale. The next criteria are companies' educational systems, quality of employee treatment, and social contributions. Commitment to student internship programs, the ratio of female managers and the corporate image are also considered (excerpt from Asahi Shimbun).

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