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Timeline of sustainability milestones

Over two centuries we have continued to evolve our approach to sustainability.

 

1817

  • Bank of NSW, the predecessor of Westpac Group, launched the first disaster relief fund in Australia to help victims of the Hawkesbury River flood in NSW.
1879
  • Established the Buckland Fund (which later became Westpac Foundation) to help families of deceased bank employees.
1991
  • One of nine founding members of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEPFI).
1992
  • First bank in Australia to publish an environmental policy.
1996
  • First bank to join the Australian Greenhouse Challenge to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Westpac first awarded Federal Government 'Employer of Choice for Women.'
1997
  • First Australian bank and one of the first companies to create a formal community volunteering scheme.
1998
  • First Australian bank to launch a workplace giving program - 'Matching Gifts'.
1999
  • Westpac Foundation was formed (originally the Buckland Fund) to provide grants to not-for-profit organisations throughout Australia.
2000
  • Founding signatory to the UN Global Compact.
  • Published the Social Accountability Charter, subsequently revised and expanded as Westpac's Principles for Doing Business.
  • Launched the first Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) product in Australia.
2001
  • Formation of Westpac Board Social Responsibility Committee to consolidate Board oversight of sustainable business practices.
  • First Australian environmental and social ratings process - for the Australian Sustainability Share Fund.
  • Founding Partner in the Cape York Indigenous Enterprise Partnership.
  • Included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI) since 2001.
2002
  • First Australian bank to publish a sustainability report.
  • Launch of Financial First Steps, a financial literacy program to help young people better manage their money.
  • First Australian bank to trade Renewable Energy Certificates.
  • One of ten founding signatories to the Equator Principles.
  • New Environment Management System developed.
  • First Australian bank to establish sustainable supply chain policy and process.
2004
  • Formation of the Community Consultative Council as Westpac's peak external stakeholder body.
  • Ranked #1 in the Business in the Community Australian Corporate Responsibility Index (also in 2005 and 2006).
  • Included in the Carbon Disclosure Project's first Climate Leaders Index (and for the period 2004-2011).
  • Alignment of financial and sustainability reporting.
2005
  • Enhanced family-friendly policies, including doubling paid parental leave.
2006
  • Part of the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change that released the groundbreaking ‘The Business Case for Early Action’ report.
  • Held one of Australia's first briefings on intangible value for mainstream institutional investors.
  • Westpac's first inclusion in the World Economic Forum Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations (also from 2006-2008 and then 2010-2015, including #1 in 2014)
2007
  • Endorsed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.
  • Contributed to development of Principles for Responsible Lending.
  • Launched Westpac Assist - a specialist team which proactively assists customers with repayment issues, offering solutions to help them manage their debt.
2008
  • Longer term sustainability objectives formalised within core business strategy. Launched a five-year climate change strategy.
  • Partnered with Many Rivers Microfinance.
2009
  • First Australian bank to begin integrating financial and sustainability reporting. Commenced mainstream training on climate-related risk.
2010
  • New Group-wide approach to the management of environment, social and governance risk.
  • First Australian corporation to offer super on unpaid maternity leave.
  • Launch of Australia's first organisational mentoring program to build capacity in the social sector.
  • First bank to trade in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • Lead partner with The Climate Institute's Climate Partners network.
  • Included in the Carbon Disclosure Project's first Carbon Performance Leadership Index (and for the period 2010-2012).
  • Joined the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (now Supply Nation).
2011
  • First Australian bank to offer accredited financial education to customers and the community through the Davidson Institute.
  • Commenced a comprehensive Board-led review of Westpac's approach to sustainability.
  • Hosted the first Social and Affordable Housing Forum.
2012
  • Joined the Banking Environment Initiative.
  • Cofounded the Australian Business Roundtable on Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities.
  • Participated in an Australian first - the New South Wales Government social benefit bond which pays a return based on the achievement of agreed social outcomes.
2013
  • Released 2013-17 Sustainability Strategy.
  • Westpac's Natural Disaster Recovery Fund established.
  • Became a signatory to the Soft Commodities Compact through the Banking Environment Initiative.
2014
  • Launched the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation (now known as Westpac Scholars Trust).
  • Released our third Reconciliation Action Plan (received the highest Elevate status from Reconciliation Australia).
  • Ranked #1 in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the World.
  • Announced a ten year agreement to recruit 400 Indigenous Australian university student interns through CareerTrackers.
  • Released a revised Climate Change and Environmental Position Statement and 2017 Action Plan.
  • Established the Westpac Indigenous Advisory Committee.
  • Signed the largest single community housing finance deal to date.
  • Brought the first green bond to the Australian market as underwriter of the World Bank's bond.
2015
  • Introduced our Social Impact Framework.
  • Released a new Human Rights Position Statement and Action Plan.
  • Introduced a Financing Agribusiness Position Statement.
  • Introduced a new Enterprise Agreement with market leading employee benefits.
  • Released a Responsible Investment Statement.
  • Westpac's Sydney head office awarded Six Star Green Star rating.
  • Introduced our Supplier Inclusion and Diversity Policy.
2016
  • First 100 Westpac Scholars appointed by Westpac Bicentennial Foundation (now Westpac Scholars Trust).
  • Launched Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow program.
  • Launched an Energy Efficiency Finance Program in partnership with Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
  • Issued Westpac Climate Bond.
2017
  • Westpac celebrated 200 years in business.
  • Ranked world’s most sustainable bank in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for the 10th time.
  • Awarded 200 Westpac Foundation Community Grants to Australian local community organisations.
  • Launched our third Climate Change Action Plan.
  • Launched our fourth Reconciliation Action Plan, our second to receive ‘Elevate’ status.
  • Released our second Human Rights Position Statement and Action Plan.
  • Released our 2018 – 2020 Sustainability Strategy.
2018
  • Ranked among the top 20 most sustainable banks in the world in the 2018 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.
  • Launched the world’s first Green Tailored Deposit to be certified by internationally recognised Climate Bonds Initiative.
  • One of 28 banks globally as part of the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative to launch draft Principles for Responsible Banking.
  • Largest financier to greenfield renewable energy projects in Australia over the last 12 months.
  • Announced Westpac Foundation 2030 strategy, including commitment to help create 10,000 new jobs and employment pathways for the people that need it most.
  • Published the 2020 Customer Vulnerability Action Plan to articulate the Group's principles for engaging with customers experiencing vulnerability.
2019
  • Ranked as Australia's most sustainable bank, and ninth globally, in the 2019 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.
  • Committed to source the equivalent of 100% of Westpac’s global electricity consumption through renewable sources by 2025.
  • Announced first sustainability linked loan for an Australian airport, rewarding carbon reduction, accreditated through the Airports Council International program.
  • Launched a Priority Assist 1800 telephone line across our retail brands to support customers experiencing domestic and family violence and financial abuse.
  • Established a dedicated customer care team to support Indigenous Australians in remote communities and a remote Indigenous community pop-up banking program.
  • Awarded Westpac Scholars Trust’s 400th scholarship.
  • Reached milestone of 900th employee to participate in a 6-12 week Jawun Indigenous community secondment.
2020
  • Committed to reduce our lending to thermal coal mining lending exposure to zero by 2030.
  • One of 9 companies in Australia to receive the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, recognising Westpac’s commitment and practices supporting gender equality.
  • Developed partnerships with International Justice Mission and Save the Children.
  • Established the Safer Children, Safer Communities Roundtable made up of experts to guide investments for a program of work to support the prevention of online child exploitation.
  • Joined the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) Corporate Sustainability Working Group to promote the implementation of best practice approaches to Modern Slavery Act reporting within the ABA membership.
  • Released our fourth Climate Change Position Statement and Action Plan.
  • Released our third Human Rights Position Statement and Action Plan.
  • Announced Australia’s first green loan for the superannuation sector.
  • Reached the 4500th milestone of supporting Indigenous Australians since the establishment in December 2018 of a dedicated Customer Care team to support remote Indigenous communities.
  • Announced 1,000 jobs from overseas to Australia.
  • Reached milestone of 950th employee to participate in a 6-12 week Jawun Indigenous community secondment.