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A fresh focus on our environmental footprint

5 June 2014

Westpac today launched a new internal program of initiatives designed to make it easier and more compelling for employees to personally contribute to achieving the bank’s 2017 direct environmental footprint targets.

The program includes a combination of initiatives to help change habits, such as a 21 Day Pledge and under-desk bin ‘amnesty’, as well as physical workplace changes to improve bin signage making it easier for staff to recycle well and avoid waste contamination.

Westpac Group Head of Sustainability & Community, Siobhan Toohill said this program is one among a raft of initiatives planned to continue to improve eco-efficiency and manage waste more effectively across the bank.

“As one of Australia’s largest corporations with significant operations and around 36,000 employees, Westpac has a clear responsibility to reduce its direct environmental footprint,” Siobhan said.

“The business benefits in reducing costs and driving greater efficiencies are well known.  It is also what is expected by our people who look to work for a high performing company with a strong social licence to operate,” she said.

“The set of initiatives we’re launching today is designed to galvanise our people, helping them to connect personally to these really important issues and making it even easier for them to contribute.”

Over almost two decades, Westpac has significantly reduced its environmental footprint and, in 2013, received carbon neutral certification.

However, the bank intends to continue this momentum to meet the ambitious direct environmental footprint reduction targets set as part of its broader 2013-2017 sustainability strategy, to:

  • Improve electricity efficiency by 10%
  • Improve data centre efficiency to a ratio of 1.6 PUE
  • Remain carbon neutral in Australia & New Zealand
  • Reduce office paper usage by 5% and
  • Increase recycling rates to 75%.

In addition to the employee campaign launched today, Westpac continues to roll out a wide range of projects to reduce energy consumption, operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

These include new technology to reduce print paper wastage; a major project to consolidate head offices into fewer, more eco-efficient buildings; and consolidating and significantly improving the efficiency of data centres.

“In fact, over the past four years we’ve identified more than 650 energy efficiency opportunities with the potential to save more than 112,000 GJ of energy per annum.  And for those projects already completed we’ve found the vast majority have a payback period of less than two years,” Siobhan said.  

Siobhan added that Westpac’s focus extends beyond its direct environmental impact.
“We know our ability to engage and influence extends right across our business to the way we help our customers to adapt to environmental challenges and ultimately to support the long term health of the community,” she said.

“That’s why we’ve also set ambitious targets to increase lending in the CleanTech and environmental services sectors and to look at other ways of working with our customers to help find solutions.”

Read more information on how Westpac has been going against all sustainability strategy targets: 2013-17 Sustainability Strategy 1H14 Progress report (PDF 203KB)