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Media releases

Sustainability makes good business sense

 

15 November 2013 

Westpac Group has released its 2013 Annual Review and Sustainability Report which provides insights into its sustainability performance across a series of environmental, social and economic performance indicators over the 12 months to 30 September 2013.

Head of Sustainability and Community, Westpac Group, Siobhan Toohill said: “Westpac Group has a strong track record in embracing sustainable business practices, and our 2013 report demonstrates the ongoing strength of our commitment.

“What’s more exciting is that it sets out clear targets for the future. These are helping to ensure we’re responding as effectively as possible to the most pressing challenges to the sustainability of our business and our communities more broadly, where we have the skills to make the greatest difference.”

The targets are set against 10 objectives in three priority areas - embracing societal change, environmental solutions and better financial futures. These priority areas were outlined in Westpac Group’s refreshed five year sustainability strategy released in February 2013.

Highlights from the report include:

Embracing Societal Change

  • Participation of women in leadership increased to 42%, supported by ongoing recruitment initiatives, development, talent management and leadership role modelling. Westpac is tracking well towards achieving its aspirational target of 50% by 2017.
  • Increased focus on mainstreaming workplace flexibility to meet the needs of our employees and enable greater employee agility and productivity.  Survey showed the proportion of people working flexibly increased from 43% in 2010 to 62% in 2012.
  • Facilitated internal and external Women of Influence award programs. Nominations for external program increased by 40% from previous year.
  • Continued to grow the representation of mature age employees in our workforce and put in place training, tools and support to encourage greater participation.
  • Released a new Accessibility Action Plan in May 2013 with initiatives to increase inclusion and participation of people with disabilities.
  • Launched a contact centre for Prime of Life customers aged 50+ years.

Environmental Solutions

  • Launched ‘Solar Shed’ in New Zealand in partnership with Meridian Energy, offering farmers easy and affordable access to solar energy through a package including a high quality grid connected solar system and a 100% Westpac equipment finance loan.
  • Provided an education seminar series through Westpac’s Davidson Institute to Australian small business customers on managing in a low carbon economy.
  • Committed up to $6 billion for lending and investment in CleanTech and environmental services by 2017, of which $3.6 billion has been lent. Progress to date has been primarily in renewable energy including two major wind farms and a solar farm. This work has been further supported by the establishment of a CleanTech Working Group with representation from across the Westpac Group.
  • Achieved carbon neutrality for the first time.
  • Achieved Silver CEEDA certification for our data centres.

Better Financial Futures

  • Launched Single Topic Personal Advice for life insurance – an advice package that provides customers with recommendations on life insurance and superannuation tailored to their situation.
  • Launched role relevant ‘wealth’ accreditation to selected Retail & Business Banking Bank Managers, encompassing 65-80 hours of formal learning over a 12 month period.
  • In November 2012, BT Financial Group launched Wrap Capital Protection, a product allowing Australians to generate growth for retirement through their investment portfolio while preserving a minimum outcome at the end of an agreed term. This followed research into the needs of retirees and has particular relevance for investors in the period immediately pre- or post-retirement.
  • In October 2012, BT Investment Management launched the BT Equity Income Series focusing on certainty of income in uncertain times and aiming to deliver competitively high income, paid regularly and with low capital volatility.
  • Committed to make available up to $2 billion in lending to the social and affordable housing sector by 2017, of which $650 million has been lent so far.
  • Established credit underwriting standards for the social and affordable housing sector.
  • Westpac Group is proud to be listed on global and regional market indices. This includes ranking in the 99th percentile in the 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability Index; ranking 10th in the Corporate Knights 2013 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World and the the only Australian company in the top 10; and being listed in the FTSE4Good Index Series in 2013 and in the CDP Global 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index 2013 for the fourth year in a row.

The report is available to view online at: 2013annualreport.westpacgroup.com.au