Sustainability 100 reasons why we’re ranked the most sustainable company in the world

Sustainability 100 reasons why we’re ranked the most sustainable company in the world

We find new ways to help communities to prosper and grow…

through workplace giving, grant making and community banking solutions

1. We were the first Australian bank to launch a workplace giving program, 'Matching Gifts', in 1998, through which we’ve donated more than $35 million.

2. Our employees have volunteered almost 9,000 days to community groups over the past 2 years.

3. Our Family of Giving - the Westpac and St.George Foundations and Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood and BankSA & Staff Charitable Funds - distributed more than $4.1 million in grants in 2013. 

4. We offer fee-free banking solutions for community groups and not-for-profit organisations.

5. We’ve contributed between 1and 2 per cent of our pre-tax profits into the community for at least a decade.

6. We introduced a Dividend Donation Plan to make it easier for shareholders to donate their dividends to our Family of Giving.

through building capability and connections

7. We launched Australia's first organisational mentoring program in the social sector in 2010 and continue to offer mentoring through Westpac Foundation.

8. We were a co-founding partner in the Cape York Indigenous Enterprise Partnership in 2001 (now known as Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships). Nearly 600 employees have contributed more than 76 work years through secondments to Indigenous community organisations.

9. We were awarded a global Corporate Conscience Award by Social Accountability International for this work.

10. We joined the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (now Supply Nation) in 2010.

11. We have released two Reconciliation Action Plans and will release a third in 2014. 

12. We have committed to make up to $2 billion available for lending and investment in the social and affordable housing sector by 2017 and, in 2011, we hosted the first Social and Affordable Housing Forum.

13. We established Ruby Connection, Westpac's dedicated program focused on helping our female customers prosper and grow, and the Stella Network, a community to share, collaborate and support women in financial planning.

14. We partnered with Fairfax to establish the annual Women of Influence Awards in Australia and have rolled out a sister program in New Zealand.

15. We established the Community Leader Awards in 2013 recognising leading community executives, treasurers and social entrepreneurs.

16. We ranked first in the Business in the Community Australian Corporate Responsibility Index in 2004-06.

17. Westpac introduced a dedicated Social Sector Banking team in 2008.

18. We’ve doubled our Responsible Investment Funds Under Management since 2009.

…through innovative financing solutions

19. We have a $1 million partnership with Many Rivers Microfinance.

20. We launched Social Benefit Bonds to raise $10 million in 2013 to help keep families together, in partnership with The Benevolent Society and CBA.

21. We launched the first Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) product in Australia in 2001, winning the inaugural SRI Banksia Award.

22. BT Governance Advisory Service and CSS/PSS jointly received the Royal Award for Responsible Investment from UNEP FI and the Royal Awards for Sustainability in 2004.

23. We delivered the first Indigenous Capital Assistance Scheme (ICAS) in 2003, an Australian Government initiative to support Indigenous small business with financial support and business mentoring.

…through financial education

24. We launched Financial First Steps in 2002, a financial literacy program to help young people better manage their money.

25. We offer free personal and business financial education workshops across the Pacific Islands wherever we provide in-store banking facilities. 

26. We introduced the first-of-their-kind tailored financial management workshops for small business owners in Australia in 1999, called Beyond Survival and renamed Financial Management 101 in 2001.

27. Through Westpac’s Davidson Institute, we were the first Australian bank to offer accredited financial education to customers and the community

28. From 2011, and we have provided more than 228,500 hours of financial education in the past 3 years.

29. We’re undertaking New Zealand’s first-of-its-kind longitudinal study designed to improve the financial education of New Zealanders.

30. In Australia we developed Pay Pig and in New Zealand, Cash Critter™, family-friendly apps to teach kids about setting financial goals.

31. In New Zealand, we have partnered with SeniorNet to bring older adults and technology together to build their confidence in banking through education seminars.

…through offering relief when it’s needed most

32. We launched the first disaster relief fund in Australia to help victims of the Hawkesbury River flood in NSW in 1817-18 and in 2013 we established a new disaster recovery community fund to support rebuilding following natural disasters.

33. We launched the Westpac Assist specialist team to proactively assist customers with repayment difficulties in 2007.

34. We have supported the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service for 40 years.

35. We have partnered with the Salvation Army for more than 100 years and have partnerships with many other charitable organisations including Mission Australia.

…through finding new ways to delight our customers

36. We were listed in BRW’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2013 for our market leading mobile app Mobile PayWay and industry leading superannuation ‘rollover gateway’.

37. We’re making banking easier, faster and more convenient for retail and business customers through initiatives including newly designed for bank branches combining 24x7 self-service access.

38. We've created fully-serviced office space for use by small businesses to help them establish and grow their operation, at no cost.

39. We've introduced an innovative tool for our financial advisers to improve the way we help people plan for their ideal retirement and help meet BT Financial Group’s goal to double the amount of time advisers spend face-to-face with clients.

40. Westpac Institutional Bank has been ranked as the No.1 Lead Domestic Bank for transactional banking by Australia’s largest companies for 10 years in a row according to Peter Lee Associates.

41. In 2013, we were one of only two Australian banks granted a foundational license for direct trading of Australian Dollar/Chinese Yuan on the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

42. We launched award winning ‘Talking ATMs’ for the visually impaired.

We find new ways to create a more sustainable workplace for our employees

43. 62% of our employees are supported to work flexibly.

44. We have a dedicated Wellbeing program to help employees enhance their quality of life.

45. We hired our first female employee in 1898, were first named as a Federal Government 'Employer of Choice for Women' in 1996.

46. 42% of our leadership roles are held by women, up from 35% in 2010.

47. We doubled paid parental leave in 2005, which now stands at 13 weeks, and were the first Australian company to offer super on unpaid maternity leave in 2010.

48. We offer leadership and coaching programs to support our employees achieve their potential.  

49. We’ve improved workplace accessibility and created opportunities for people with a disability.

50. We’ve introduced programs to support employees with caring responsibilities. 

51. Our 2013 employee engagement score was 87%, higher than the global high performing norm.

52. We were the first Australian bank to create a formal community volunteering scheme in 1997.

53. Employees have access to free world-class financial education and a range of discounts on banking requirements, with benefits also extended to family members.

54. We offer retirement transition options, grandparental leave and mentoring opportunities for mature aged employees

55. We won the Gender Equity in the Workplace and the LGBTI inclusion AHRI Diversity awards in 2013 and were recognised as a top 10 employer for LGBTi inclusion in the Australian Workplace Equality Index Awards in 2013.

56. We have 7 employee action groups working to support the diversity and flexibility of our workforce.

57. We have an employee assistance program - an independent, confidential, professional counselling service available to all employees and their immediate families.

58. We’ve improved the safety of our workplace, reducing our lost time injury frequency rate to 1.5 from 2.6, 5 years ago. 

59. We launched a campaign to recruit 900 mature age workers in 2003, including financial planners and advisers, and achieved the target by 2005.

We drive change within our walls…

60. We first formed a Board Social Responsibility Committee in 2001, a role that has since been taken on by our Group Board, overseeing the social, ethical and environmental impact of the group’s activities.

61. We were the first Australian bank to publish a sustainability report in 2002 and to begin integrating financial and sustainability reporting in 2009.

…and contribute to change around the world

62. We were a founding member of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) in 1991.

63. We were a founding signatory to the UN Global Compact in 2000 and to the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate.

64. We were a founding signatory to the Equator Principles in 2003.

65. We endorsed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment in 2007. 

66. We were a foundation member of the global Banking Environment Initiative in 2012.

67. We’ve been recognised as a global leader for banks in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since 2002.

68. We have been listed in the FTSE4Good Index for more than 10 years.

69. We were included in the Carbon Disclosure Project's first Climate Leaders Index in 2004 and have been included in the CDP Carbon Performance Leadership Index since 2010. 

We look for ways to create a sustainable supply chain

70. We were the first Australian bank to establish sustainable supply chain policy and process in 2002.

71. 98% of our top 80 suppliers are screened for their performance in social, ethical and environmental issues management.

72. We work with suppliers to improve their sustainability performance and know that this has kick-started other companies to take their own sustainability journey.

We find new ways to reduce our own environmental footprint…

73. We were the first bank in Australia to publish an environmental policy, in 1992

74. We were the first bank to join the Australian Greenhouse Challenge to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions in 1996.

75. We have improved energy efficiency by 10% over the past five years and achieved carbon neutrality in 2013.

76. We are looking at ways to materially reduce paper consumption for both employees and customers.

77. More than 1 million customers from Westpac, St.George and BankSA have elected to receive their bank statements electronically, reducing paper consumption by more than 566 tonnes.

78. Our WorkSMART program is helping us to work more collaboratively and efficiently in more eco-efficient workplaces.

79. We’ve achieved Silver Certified Energy Efficient Datacentre Award certification.

…and our indirect environmental footprint

80. We have committed to make up to $6 billion available for lending and investment in CleanTech and environmental services by 2017.

81. More than half of our total energy financing goes to renewable energy, including hydro, wind and solar.

82. We published a position on financing sustainable energy generation in 2010.

83. We have been training our lending team on climate-related risk since 2007.

84. We were the first Australian bank to trade Renewable Energy Certificates in 2002.

85. Westpac’s Commodities, Carbon and Energy team has been trading in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme since 2006. 

86. We completed the first carbon trade in Australia in 2008 and we were the first bank to trade in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme in 2010.

87. Our Institutional Bank was voted as Best Trading Company in Australasia in the global Environmental Finance Awards each year since 2010.

88. In an Australian banking first, we financed a remote wind farm at Mawson Station in the Antarctic in 2003.

We support our customers to respond to environmental challenges

89. We have publicly committed to introducing more products and services to help customers adapt to environmental challenges, like our Solar Shed package in New Zealand.

90. Through the Davidson Institute, we provide education to small business customers on managing in a low carbon economy.

91. We launched an Energy Efficient Equipment Lease in 2012, an innovative finance solution to help business reduce their energy consumption.

And we encourage action more broadly

92. We helped to form the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change which released the ground-breaking report The Business Case for Early Action in 2006.

93. We helped form the Australian Agricultural Alliance on Climate Change, a joint initiative to promote practical solutions for regional communities.

94. We have been the Lead Partner in The Climate Institute's Climate Partners network promoting practical business solutions to climate change since 2010.

95. We helped to form the Australian Business Roundtable on Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities in 2012.

96. We published our Position on Climate Change in 2008.

We are also focused on retaining our strong financial position

97. We have strengthened our capital position, with capital levels now at the upper end of peers both globally and locally.

98. We’ve improved our asset quality, more than halving the level of our stressed assets since the peak of 2010.

99. Cash earnings have increased year on year since 2009.

100. Shareholder dividends have increased year on year since 2009.

That’s 100 reasons. And there are many more.

And why do we do this?


Whether you work with us, bank with us, or you're part of our broader community, we’ll keep looking for ways to ensure you prosper and grow - today, tomorrow and in future years to come.