Approach to reporting
We are committed to best practice, transparent, regular reporting to enable stakeholders to compare our relative performance over time
We recognise the importance to our stakeholders of providing regular reports on our performance and we choose to apply external, best practice standards to our reporting. We continue to review our reporting to ensure we are meeting investor and stakeholder requirements.
- Annual performance reporting
- Additional annual disclosures
- Benchmark reporting
Annual performance reporting
We take an integrated approach to reporting on our performance across all dimensions of our business, including the financial, environmental, social and governance aspects of our business.
Each year, interim reporting is released in May and annual reporting is released in November.
We apply the following external, best practice standards to the development of our annual sustainability reporting as follows.
Global Reporting Initiative G4 Reporting Framework
We have applied the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework since publishing our first sustainability report in 2002. From 2014, we adopted the GRI's G4 reporting framework including the updated Financial Services Sector Disclosures, bringing a sharper focus on reporting what matters, where it matters for our business. We have reported in accordance with the 'comprehensive' option for G4 reporting - including additional disclosures of our strategy and analysis, governance, and ethics and integrity as well as more extensive data on our performance related to identified material topics, as compared to the 'core' G4 reporting option.
In applying the G4 Framework we implemented the Principles for Defining Report Content as follows:
- Stakeholder inclusiveness: we report on the process of stakeholder engagement and how the engagement has influenced the report content.
- Sustainability context: we outline the sustainability context in which our objectives are set and reported on progress against these objectives.
- Materiality: we undertake a detailed materiality assessment, prioritising issues in line with G4 guidance.
- Completeness: we assess the boundaries of our material issues and take care to ensure all significant impacts within and outside of the organisation are appropriately covered in our report.
For more detail on our application of the GRI Reporting Framework please see our most recent sustainability performance report and GRI Content Index.
We apply the three key principles of the AA1000 APS to our reporting process:
- Inclusivity: the identification and participation of our stakeholders in developing and achieving an accountable and strategic response to sustainability.
- Sustainability materiality: determining those issues that are relevant and significant to Westpac Group and our stakeholders.
- Responsiveness: ensuring our decisions, actions and performance, as well as communication with our stakeholders, are comprehensive and balanced in response to the issues identified.
For more detail see our most recent sustainability performance report.
We have sought independent assurance over our sustainability reporting since publishing our first sustainability report in 2002.
Our sustainability reporting is subject to independent limited assurance performed in accordance with the Australian Standard on Assurance Engagements 3000 (revised) Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information ('ASAE 3000').
The AA1000 Principles Standard and the Global Reporting Initiative G4 Guidelines are also used by the assurance provider as criteria against which to assess disclosures associated with alignment to the AA1000 Principles and GRI G4.
The assurance process tests both the integrity of the data and the effectiveness of our underlying systems and processes, and the extent to which corporate responsibility and sustainability policies and processes are embedded across our organisation.
Our current independent auditors, Ernst and Young were appointed in 2014 through a rigorous selection process which included evaluation by a panel comprising Group Sustainability and Community, Investor Relations, our Westpac Chief of Staff (who reports directly to the Westpac Chief Executive), our Group Financial Controller, and the Executive Director, Emissions and Environment, within the Westpac Institutional Bank.
Ernst and Young also provides assurance in relation to Westpac Group's reporting under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (2007) and the National Carbon Offset Standard (2012) in accordance with the relevant legislations and guidance. For further information please refer to the relevant assurance report.
Additional annual disclosures
In addition to our annual reporting, we provide annual disclosures against:
- The Australian Government's National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) Carbon Neutral Program.
- The Equator Principles.
- The UN Principles for Responsible Investment Transparency Report.
- The UN Global Compact Communication on Progress.
Previously, Westpac Group was subject to the reporting requirements of the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006 (EEO Act).
Westpac actively participates in independent external assessments by sustainability and governance rating organisations which benchmark us against global standards of governance, including:
- CDP Climate Disclosure Leadership Index and Carbon Performance Leaders Index
- Dow Jones Sustainability Index
- Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World