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Westpac on track to meet sustainability targets

5 May 2014

Westpac Group today released its financial and non-financial results for the six months to 31 March 2014. The results demonstrate the Group is tracking well towards the targets set as part of its 2013-2017 sustainability strategy.

Established in February 2013, Westpac’s sustainability strategy has 10 objectives in three priority areas in which the bank has the skills to create the greatest difference and deliver value to our business and our communities.

Head of Sustainability and Community, Siobhan Toohill, said the Group performed well against all strategic objectives during the first half of the financial year, building on its proud history as a leader in sustainable business practices.

“We saw increases in the proportion of women in leadership positions, mature aged workers and the mean retirement age of our employees – all areas we’ve focused on as we build a workforce that is more representative of our communities,” Siobhan said.

“We also made further strides towards our goal to find solutions to environmental challenges,” she said. “We partnered to bring the first green bond to the Australian investment market, increased our lending in the CleanTech and environmental services sector, and we continued to take action to improve our own environmental footprint.

“Our ambition to create better financial futures saw us help more people across the Pacific nations to access financial services and education and, in Australia, we further increased lending to the social and affordable housing sector,” she said.

During the period, Westpac Group also became a founding signatory to the Soft Commodities Compact, a global compact which aims to transform supply chains to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020.  The bank also launched Australia's largest ever private education scholarship fund, investing $100 million to support 100 scholars a year, forever.   

Siobhan said all of these actions go to the heart of how Westpac thinks about creating sustainable futures.

“Our achievements bring to life how we are embracing new ways of doing business to stay one step ahead of the issues we believe will affect the sustainability of communities – and therefore our own operations,” Siobhan said.

“We also know new issues will continually emerge. We’re confident we have the right structures, culture and practices across the Group to ensure we respond in the most appropriate way.”  

In a further reflection of the strength of sustainability performance during the first half, Westpac was:

  • Ranked number one in the 2014 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World by Corporate Knights.  Announced at World Economic Forum in January 2014;
  • Assigned a Gold Class ranking in the RobecoSam Sustainability Yearbook for 2013 on the back of a score of 92% in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index; and
  • Named as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies in 2014 by Ethisphere Institute, for the 7th consecutive year.
Priority Objectives 1H14 achievements
Help improve the way people work and live, as our society changes Ensure our workforce is representative of community - Increased women in leadership to 43%, up 1%
- Increased  participation of mature aged workers (50+) to 20.8%, up 0.3%
Extend length and quality of working lives Increased mean employee retirement age to 61.4 years, up 0.8 years
Anticipate the future product and service needs of aging and culturally diverse customers Launched the Stella Network, supporting female financial planners at Westpac – to better support 45+ year old Prime of Life customers
Help find solutions to environmental challenges Provide products/services to help customers adapt to environmental challenges Partnered with the World Bank to develop the first green bond for the Australian market  (launched 16 April 2014)
Increase lending and investment in CleanTech and environmental services $4.0bn lent to this sector as at 31 March 2014, up $0.4bn
Continue to reduce our environmental footprint Achieved carbon neutrality and tracking against environmental targets
Help our customers to have a better relationship with money, for a better life Ensure customers have access to the right advice to achieve a secure retirement Developed a ‘building wealth acumen’ learning program for WRBB bank managers
Help customers meet their financial goals in retirement Piloting a self-managed superannuation contact centre
Increase access to financial services in Pacific Island nations - 47,900 new customers to basic banking accounts
- 272 in-stores open across Pacific countries, up 93
Help people gain access to social and affordable housing $700m lent to the social and affordable housing sector as at 31 March 2014, up $0.5m

 

2013-17 Sustainability Strategy 1H14 Progress report (PDF 203KB), including targets for the 2014 full year and targets for 2017.

 

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