Listening to stakeholders and our materiality assessment process
Engaging with our stakeholders enables us to understand and respond to their expectations and concerns.
Our approach to engaging with stakeholders is guided by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Universal Standards 2021 and its principles for defining reporting content, which includes stakeholder inclusiveness. In line with the GRI, we engage with our stakeholders to identify and report on the expectations and interests of key stakeholder groups. We seek to ensure that our stakeholders are able to engage with us in a meaningful way.
Our sustainability management framework, which includes internal frameworks, policies and committees, also supports our stakeholder engagement process. External stakeholder forums including our Stakeholder Advisory Council, Customer Council, Safer Children, Safer Communities Roundtable, and Westpac Indigenous Advisory Committee, play an important role by bringing wider perspectives to help inform our approach.
A number of channels enable us to further understand concerns and respond to stakeholders:
|Ways we engage
|Government and regulators
Our sustainability materiality process
Each year, we identify our most material sustainability topics to help guide our strategy and focus on the areas of most importance to all our stakeholders.
The approach to determining our sustainability topics is guided by various global standards, most notably the GRI and its method for assessing materiality. GRI defines materiality as the significance of the impacts of our business activities on the economy, environment and people, including impacts on human rights.
The concept of ‘materiality’ for sustainability matters differs from the more commonly used term of ‘materiality’ that applies to financial statements, which in turn is determined by Australian and international accounting standards. The two concepts are linked to the extent that a material sustainability issue may ultimately impact a company’s financial results. For instance, we annually assess whether the impacts of climate change have a ‘material’ impact on our balance sheet or income statement.
To identify our material sustainability topics, we begin with the risks recorded in Westpac’s integrated risk and compliance management system and prioritise sustainability-related risks with a higher ‘Inherent Risk Rating’. Our risk management process, described on page 40 of our , explains how we assess and record risks, including how we integrate social and environmental aspects.
We also examine recorded incidents, external benchmarks and frameworks, and engage with internal and external stakeholders. We condense this work to a list of material sustainability topics which we then validate through discussions with senior management, our ESG and Reputation Committee, and our Stakeholder Advisory Council. The results are presented to the Board Audit Committee and approved by the Board as part of our annual financial reporting.
This year, we have aligned our 2023 Annual Report with the Integrated Reporting Framework. As part of this process, we determined that all our material sustainability topics were relevant to measure value for our stakeholders and therefore to be included in our Annual Report.
We know how important it is to listen and respond to customer and community concerns on a wide range of issues and we are committed to doing business in a responsible manner.
If you would like to provide feedback or raise an issue, you can contact email@example.com.