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Media releases

Westpac statement of support for negotiations on businesses and climate change


17 September 2015

Climate change is affecting our businesses and the communities in which we operate. We recognise that we have a role to play, and we want to play our part.

We represent a diverse group of companies from the energy, resources, retail, infrastructure, technology, consumer goods, property, services, banking and finance sectors. Together we employ over 620,000 people across 175 countries. Between us we provide products and services to the majority of Australians. We also emit around 12 per cent of Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions.

We have come together because we acknowledge that climate change will continue to have serious implications for our customers, the community and the economy. These are risks we need to manage. Investing in Australia’s response to climate change will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits for us all.

We support the Australian government’s commitment to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, alongside other nations within an international agreement. Australia needs to play its fair part in global action. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes that to achieve this goal we must achieve zero net emissions of greenhouse gases before the end of the century.

We support the bipartisan objective that international negotiations in Paris deliver a positive outcome to put the world on the path to limiting global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius.

We all acknowledge that achieving this will be challenging for Australia and all countries. But agreeing on a goal and a pathway to achieving this is critical and should not be delayed. The longer we wait, the harder it will be and the more it will cost us.

Australia is a significant exporter of energy and also has plentiful clean energy resources. We are a leader in technology and innovation. We are also vulnerable to climate impacts and we have a strategic interest in managing climate change. As businesses, we support the decoupling of economic and emissions growth. We all recognise the need for a responsible transition to decarbonised, sustainable economic development.

Our companies are reducing our emissions, investing in technology and innovation, preparing for physical impacts and working across industry and the community to build a strong global response to climate change. For business, this is about good Board governance, prudent risk management and positioning competitively for the future.

We will continue to invest in an effective business response. We remain committed to working with other companies, investors, community stakeholders and governments to support a successful outcome in Paris. We pledge to continue to support the ongoing development and implementation of effective international frameworks and effective domestic policy responses.

Andrew Vesey
Managing Director and CEO, AGL
Andrew Mackenzie
CEO, BHP Billiton
Geoff Culbert
President and Chief Executive, GE Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz
CEO and Managing Director, Mirvac
David Knox
Managing Director and CEO, Santos
Clive Stiff
Chairman and CEO, Unilever
Richard Goyder
Managing Director, Wesfarmers
Brian Hartzer
Managing Director and CEO, Westpac Group