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Enhanced climate change and human rights disclosures in Westpac Group 2018 Sustainability Performance Report

Julie Shannon, Logistics Manager at Soft Landing, one of Australia’s largest mattress recyclers, a social enterprise creating jobs and training for people who have experienced barriers to gaining lasting employment.

 

7 November 2018

 

Westpac Group today released its 2018 Sustainability Performance Report as part of its broader annual reporting suite.

 

The report provides insights into Westpac Group’s sustainability performance across a series of social, environmental and economic performance indicators over the 2018 financial year, including first year progress highlights against Westpac’s 2018-2020 Sustainability Strategy.

 

“For us, sustainability is about reflecting deeply on the issues that matter most to our stakeholders and constantly challenging ourselves,” said Brian Hartzer, Westpac Group CEO.

 

The report explores actions that the bank is taking to address issues raised by this year’s Royal Commission process, initiatives to deliver on our service-led strategy, and how we are responding to the most pressing opportunities and challenges, both within our business and as part of broader industry reforms.

 

The report also includes enhanced disclosures relating to climate change and human rights.

 

2018 sustainability performance highlights

 

The 2018 Sustainability Performance Report details performance highlights against the 2018-2020 Sustainability Strategy’s priority areas of helping people make better financial decisions, helping people by being there when it matters most to them, and helping people to create a prosperous nation.

 

Year 1 progress highlights include:  

 

  • A decade on from our first published climate change agenda, we were the largest financier to greenfield renewable energy projects in Australia over the last 12 months, as well as achieving $9.1 billion in lending to climate change solutions, moving us towards our target of $10 billion by 2020. Emissions intensity of lending to the power generation sector continued to decline reaching 0.28 tCO2-e/ MWh, ahead of our 2020 target of 0.30 tCO2-e/MWh. Renewable energy now represents over 71% of our lending to the electricity sector.
  • Undertook further climate change scenario analysis in our Australia and New Zealand businesses including an assessment of physical risks in our Australian mortgage book for the first time and continued to align our climate change reporting with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
  • Announced a $100 million Drought Assistance Package including discounted loans, deferring repayments and adjusted interest rates.
  • Helped customers experiencing hardship, issuing over 37,000 financial assistance packages.
  • Determined Westpac’s salient human rights issues and supported the introduction of comparable Australian legislation to the UK Modern Slavery Act.
  • Released BT Financial Group’s Sustainable Investment Approach and signed the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge.
  • Welcomed the next 100 Westpac Scholars, bringing the cohort to 330.
  • One of 28 banks from around the world working as part of the UNEP FI to develop the Principles for Responsible Banking, an initiative to promote alignment of the global banking sector with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. First bank globally to assess sustainability performance against the draft principles that are expected to be finalised in 2019.

 

In 2019, we anticipate releasing more detailed scenario analysis in light of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Global Warming of 1.5°C report.

 

Visit the 2018 Annual Reporting Suite