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Westpac introduces supplier diversity policy to drive positive social change

2 May 2016

Westpac Group has developed a Supplier Diversity policy which formalises its aspiration to increase the proportion of products and services it buys from businesses that are driven by a social or environmental mission, or that support people from minority or underrepresented backgrounds.

According to Westpac's Chief Procurement Officer, Simon LeGear, the new policy recognises the substantial opportunities available through Westpac's supply chain to drive positive social change.

"With more than 30,000 suppliers providing us with products and services each year, we have a significant opportunity to act as an agent of positive change by actively choosing to buy from businesses creating social impact," Mr LeGear said.   

"For example, we have introduced Yaru Water as our 'water of choice' across Westpac. As sales of Yaru Water grow, we know we are supporting the Bundjalung Nation and Mount Warning Spring Water to continue their great work," Simon said.

"By supporting suppliers like Yaru we know we are indirectly supporting Indigenous employees and their communities."

To date, Westpac's focus has been on procuring more from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, driven by the commitments within Westpac's Reconciliation Action Plan to direct at least $3 million of supply chain spend to Indigenous Australian businesses.

Moving forward, Westpac will broaden its focus to include more businesses that support other minority groups and will look to set additional goals to measure progress over time.

Mr LeGear said a number of initiatives are underway to attract social purpose businesses to trade with Westpac.

"An important aspect of this program is to help build the capacity of these diverse suppliers while also improving Westpac's internal processes to set the businesses up for success," he said.

"This recognises that many of these businesses face the challenge of generating the scale and relationships to establish themselves as a supplier to major Australian corporations.

"We are also working in consultation with organisations such as Supply Nation, WeConnect and Social Traders to tap into their membership bases."

In addition, internal expos have been held, and further expos planned, to create connections between Westpac Group employees and the organisations the bank aspires to do business with. The expos provide an opportunity for organisations to better understand areas of Westpac procurement demand and to showcase their products and services to relevant commercial and business teams and employees.

"We believe our approach to supplier diversity will not only create value for the businesses we buy from and economic wellbeing for the people they support, it will also improve Westpac's access to new markets, customers and talented employees in diverse communities and is a fantastic platform from which we can encourage all of our suppliers to value inclusion and diversity within their own operations," Mr LeGear said.

Interim 2016 Sustainability Report
This eco-efficiency achievement, along with others, is highlighted in our sustainability performance report for the six months to 30 March 2016:

 

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