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Timeline of sustainability milestones

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



  • 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.
  • Established the Buckland Fund (which later became Westpac Foundation) to help families of deceased bank employees.
  • One of nine founding members of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEPFI).
  • First bank in Australia to publish an environmental policy.
  • 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.'
  • First Australian bank and one of the first companies to create a formal community volunteering scheme.
  • First Australian bank to launch a workplace giving program - 'Matching Gifts'.
  • Westpac Foundation was formed (originally the Buckland Fund) to provide grants to not-for-profit organisations throughout Australia.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Signatory to UN Global Compact
  • 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.
  • Enhanced family-friendly policies, including doubling paid parental leave.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Longer term sustainability objectives formalised within core business strategy. Launched a five-year climate change strategy.
  • Partnered with Many Rivers Microfinance.
  • First Australian bank to begin integrating financial and sustainability reporting. Commenced mainstream training on climate-related risk.
  • Founding member of UN Global Compact Network Australia
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Elevated climate change response to a strategic company-wide priority. 
  • $1.9 billion of new lending to climate change solutions towards target of $3.5 billion by 2023 and $15 billion by 2030.
  • Developing Paris-aligned financing strategies and portfolio targets, particularly for sectors representing the majority of our financed emissions, with a focus in the oil and gas extraction, metals and mining sectors. Reduced Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 58% against a 2016 base year and 43% against 2020.
  • Introduced new measures to stop abusive transactions and help address problem gambling.
  • Published our 2020 Modern Slavery Statement in response to the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK).
  • $12.1 million towards our Safer Children, Safer Communities program, including the second year of our grants program and international partnerships, as well as finalising a $25 million grant to the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC).
  • Supported a three-year impact campaign in association with ‘The Children in the Pictures’ documentary that aims to increase public awareness, empower parents and caregivers, remove barriers to identify perpetrators, and help the Australian media to report on this crime appropriately.
  • Launched our Access and Inclusion Plan 2021-2024.
  • Introduced five days paid leave for employees who experience early pregnancy loss.
  • Played a lead role in the coordination of a $300 million sustainability-linked loan tied to reconciliation outcomes.
  • Refreshed our cultural competency training, enabling our people to be able to better support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers.
  • Westpac Scholars Trust reached the milestone of awarding its 500th scholarship. 
  • Joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Forum, to support the development of a nature-related financial disclosure framework.
  • Completed a $250m structured auto finance facility to fund electric vehicles and related features such as recharge equipment for a consumer fintech lender.
  • Published our 2021 Modern Slavery Statement in response to the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK).
  • Joined the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative, convened by Climateworks Centre and Climate-KIC Australia, to coordinate learning and action on net zero emissions supply chains.
  • Published our Child Safeguarding Supplement as we work to embed a child safe culture within our organisation.
  • Launched our fifth Reconciliation Action Plan, our third to receive ‘Elevate’ status.
  • Joined UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance and set our first 2030 financed emissions sector lending targets
  • Released our fifth Climate Change Position Statement and Action Plan
  • Released our Climate Report, with an updated Climate Change Position Statement and Action Plan.
  • Published our first Natural Capital Position Statement.
  • Continued working with customers to support their transition to a net-zero economy, as we shift our financed emissions to become net-zero by 2050, consistent with a 1.5°C pathway.
  • Refreshed our Sustainability Strategy, aligned to our Group Strategy and Purpose.
  • Released our Sustainable Finance Framework and set new 2030 Sustainable Finance Targets for lending and bond facilitation activities.
  • Launched our fourth Human Rights Position Statement, incorporating our position and actions on child safeguarding.
  • The equivalent of 100% of our Australian operational electricity demand now sourced from renewables.
  • Published our 2022 Modern Slavery Statement in response to the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth) and the United Kingdom’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 (UK). Our FY20 and FY21 reports were rated high by Monash University and BankTrack¹.
  • Founding member and provided seed funding to establish the Australian Child Safeguarding Business Coalition.
Things you should know
  1. Rated ‘A’ by Monash University in their Modern Slavery Disclosure Quality Ratings – ASX 100 Companies Update 2022 report for our FY20 and FY21 modern slavery disclosures; and recognised as one of three ‘front runners’ in BankTrack’s Global Human Rights Benchmark Report 2022 for our FY21 modern slavery disclosures.