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Westpac named Socially Responsible Bank of the Year

 

5 June 2014

Westpac Group’s social and environmental leadership has been acknowledged today with the award of Socially Responsible Bank of the Year at Money’s 2014 Consumer Finance Awards, as judged by a panel led by Social Ventures Australia.

This marks the fourth win of this annual award by Westpac since Money launched the category in 2008 to recognise financial institutions that are delivering significant sustainable outcomes for individuals and the wider community through their lending practices and commitment to social responsibility.

Commenting on the win, the judging panel praised Westpac’s “very comprehensive approach”.

“The socially responsible initiatives outlined in the submissions this year were extraordinarily diverse,” said judge Stuart Palmer, Head of Ethics, Australian Ethical Investment.

“This highlights both the challenges and opportunities for financial institutions to better align their operations with the long-term health of the communities and world they operate in. It was very encouraging to see innovative lending and investment products to encourage positive change in communities and our environment.”

Judge Ian Learmonth, Executive Director, Social Ventures Australia, highlighted the bank’s efforts in the impact investing sector and in social and affordable housing, and applauded a $100 million pledge by the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation to support 100 students each year forever, saying it has “truly set a new benchmark in corporate philanthropy”.

“The Westpac Foundation continues to support social enterprises with mentoring as well as direct financial support, enabling fledgling businesses with a social outlook to develop and grow. Many of these enterprises tackle intractable social issues that governments have struggled to address.”

The award follows Westpac’s number one ranking in the ‘Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World’, announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland earlier this year.

Westpac Group General Manager for Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Ms Carolyn McCann, said she was delighted that Westpac’s sustainability performance continues to be rated so highly. 

“This reflects the outstanding work across the group to create sustainable futures for the people who bank with us, work with us, invest in us and are part of our broader communities.”