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Our sustainability strategy – half year progress update

Helping Australians and New Zealanders succeed: our sustainability strategy

This year marks the start of our refreshed sustainability strategy which sets out how we can best serve our customers, communities and nation, and contribute to solving global challenges over the next three years.


Our sustainability priorities are centred around:
 

  • helping when it matters most;
  • backing a stronger Australia; and
  • collaborating for impact.


The table below summarises progress towards our sustainability goals in the last six months:

 

Priorities and ambitions Targeted outcomes First Half 2021 performance

Helping when it matters most:

supporting customers and businesses through times of change and hardship

Providing emergency and longer-term financial support to help people and businesses recover and adapt to changes in their circumstances

  • 276 customers supported with natural disaster relief packages;
  • announced a $10 million Flood Support Fund to provide emergency grants for customers in flood-affected areas across New South Wales and South-East Queensland;
  • donated $150,000 to The Salvation Army to help support disaster recovery in flood affected areas; and
  • launched the Disaster Help Hub in November 2020, to provide guidance on preparing homes and accessing disaster support and financial resources to help during recovery, with 52,744 visits to the hub.

Supporting vulnerable customers in difficult personal and financial circumstances (including those affected by domestic and family abuse, financial abuse, frauds and scams) to manage, recover and find appropriate solutions

  • Over 18,000 customers received assistance through vulnerability specialist teams;
  • formed a new partnership with national social enterprise. The Violet Initiative, to provide caregivers and their families greater access to emotional and practical support when caring for a family member or friend in the last stage of life; and
  • announced new measures to make digital banking safer for customers, including giving customers the ability to report abusive messages via online and mobile banking, and blocking inappropriate language from outgoing payments. 

Helping when it matters most:

supporting financial wellbeing

Supporting the financial wellbeing of customers and communities through products, services and resources to help them in life moments big and small

  • Continued to offer a range of resources and tools including access to podcasts and a financial fitness course through the Davidson Institute.

Improving banking accessibility for Indigenous Australians, including for customers accessing Yuri Ingkarninthi, our dedicated Indigenous Connection Team

  • Improved banking accessibility for over 4,500 Indigenous and remote Australians through Yuri Ingkarninthi, our Indigenous Connection Team.

Supporting young people to build confidence and knowledge in preparation for their future financial decisions

  • Continued to offer a spend and save program that helps young Australians become more conscious about their spending and saving habits, whilst earning a competitive rate of interest.

Backing a stronger Australia:

backing people, jobs and ideas shaping Australia’s future

Supporting diverse Australian businesses and social enterprises, including Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities seeking to build their own businesses

  • $5.5 million spend with diverse suppliers, of which $1 million are Indigenous-owned businesses.

Creating employment and educational opportunities for people who have the drive to shape Australia, including our Westpac Scholars

  • Westpac Scholars Trust1 has awarded 100 new scholarships.

Job creation opportunities for vulnerable and under-employed people across our value chain

  • From 1 July to 31 December 2020, Westpac Foundation2 job creation grants to social enterprises helped to create 614 jobs3 for vulnerable Australians.

Supporting our corporate and institutional customers move to more sustainable business models through sustainable finance structures that connect their financing requirements and sustainability priorities

  • Announced the structuring of a A$350m sustainability-linked loan (SLL) facility for G8 Education, Australia's largest publicly listed early childhood care and education company.

Backing a stronger Australia:

helping Australians respond to climate change

Supporting solutions and technology that accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy

  • $0.5 billion of new lending to climate change solutions.

Reducing our direct environmental footprint

  • On track to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% and Scope 3 supply chain emissions by 15% compared to Full Year 2016 baseline.

Collaborating for impact:

respecting human rights and amplifying Indigenous voices

Sharing insights as we deliver on the commitments under our 2023 Human Rights Action Plan and work towards the elimination of modern slavery across our business operations and supply chain
  • 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);
  • continued to implement a Vulnerable Customer Mental Health Framework, providing extra support and escalation pathways for our people who support customers at increased risk of vulnerability due to the financial and societal impacts of COVID-19; and
  • refreshed our Inclusion and Diversity Strategy, including a focus on women in leadership, cultural diversity and Indigenous parity.
Safeguarding children from online child exploitation through our Safer Children Safer Communities program, including investing up to $10 million per year for three years in child protection initiatives
  • Allocated $9.7 million, of which $4.2 million invested in First Half 2021, to raise awareness of child exploitation and support child protection initiatives as part of our commitment to invest up to $10 million per year for three years in child protection initiatives.
Supporting the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through self-determination, amplifying their voices and building cultural competency amongst our people and partners to progress Reconciliation
  • Hosted a Deadly Talk with  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to support employee cultural awareness; and
  • refreshed our cultural competency training, enabling our people to be able to better support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers.

Collaborating for impact:

supporting the transition to a climate resilient future

Sharing insights as we work with customers in the most emissions intensive and climate-vulnerable sectors to develop financing strategies that can support their response to climate change impacts
  • Updated our lending approach to customers in the oil and gas sector4 (see Climate-related financial disclosures, below).
Aligning our financing activity with efforts to support the goals of the Paris Agreement
Participating in international, national and industry-based initiatives to progress collective action on climate change, including sharing methodologies and investing in research, in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement
  • Actively engaged with the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, helping to establish a global banking Civil Society Advisory Body and Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative to develop the Australian Sustainable Finance Roadmap.

 

For full details of Westpac Group’s 2021 half year financial results, including additional information on our climate-related financial disclosures for the period, please see:
 

 

1 Westpac Scholars Trust (ABN 35 600 251 071) is administered by Westpac Scholars Limited (ABN 72 168 847 041) as trustee for the Westpac Scholars Trust. Westpac Scholars Trust is a private charitable trust and neither the Trust nor the Trustee are part of Westpac Group. Westpac provides administrative support, skilled volunteering, and funding for operational costs of Westpac Scholars Trust.

2 Westpac Foundation is administered by Westpac Community Limited (ABN 34 086 862 795) as trustee for Westpac Community Trust (ABN 53 265 036 982). The Westpac Community Trust is a Public Ancillary Fund, endorsed by the ATO as a Deductible Gift Recipient. None of Westpac Foundation, Westpac Community Trust Limited nor the Westpac Community Trust are part of Westpac Group. Westpac provides administrative support, skilled volunteering, donations and funding for operational costs of Westpac Foundation .

3 Jobs created through the Westpac Foundation job creation grants to social enterprises are for the six  months ended 31 December 2020.

4 This applies to WIB oil and gas exploration, production and refining customers.