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2020 Sustainability Strategy – Half Year progress update

Our ‘Bank in a Box’ – a portable branch featuring ATMs and video conferencing facilities in a 40ft shipping container, travelled to Townsville, North Queensland to help customers affected by the floods.


6 May 2019

We are at the mid-way point of our 2018–2020 Sustainability Strategy (PDF 2MB) and the close of the first half of our 2019 financial year. In the last six months we have made progress in a number of areas where we believe we can have the greatest impact and create sustainable long-term value for our customers, communities and the nation.

Our first half year 2019 progress against our sustainability goals includes:


Priority areas Goals Half Year 2019 update
Helping people make better financial decisions Help more people better understand their financial position, improving their financial confidence
  • Continued to offer a range of products and services, including Westpac SmartPlan, an online tool to help customers manage their credit card balance and pay down their debts more easily, and Westpac Life, a flexible savings account that supports customers’ savings goals;
  • Continued to help more customers better understand their financial position through regular contact programs on product features and usage, with 63% of our Consumer Bank customers contacted during First Half 2019;
  • Delivered a range of financial literacy programs to individuals, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and community groups through the Davidson Institute in Australia and through Managing Your Money program in New Zealand; and
  • Delivered financial capability communications for different customer segments, including 850,000 young Australians via Universities and TAFE partnerships, 498,000 women through Ruby Connection and 1.8 million Australians aged 65+ via Starts at 60.
Helping people by being there when it matters most to them Help people recover from financial hardship
  • Helped customers experiencing financial hardship, issuing over 27,000 financial assistance packages during First Half 2019.
Help people lift out of a difficult time and recover stronger
  • Donated $150,000 to the Salvation Army and a further $100,000 to the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) to support disaster recovery and programs to build local community resilience;
  • Provided 496 relief packages for customers impacted by natural disasters across Australia; and
  • Delivered a portable 'Bank in a Box' branch to Townsville to help those affected by floods.
Helping our most vulnerable customers
  • Published the 2020 Customer Vulnerability Action Plan to articulate the Group's principles for engaging with customers experiencing vulnerability, including providing specific guidance, help and support for customers experiencing domestic and family violence and financial abuse;
  • Launched a Priority Assist 1800 telephone line across our retail brands to support customers experiencing domestic and family violence and financial abuse;
  • Established an escalation team that provides dedicated specialist case management for customers experiencing family violence or financial abuse;
  • Launched a series of Life Moments campaigns to assist customers and their families going through challenging circumstances such as ‘loss of a loved one’ or ‘divorce and separation’, providing practical tools and resources to guide them; and
  • Established a dedicated customer care team to support Indigenous Australians in remote communities.
Helping people creating a prosperous nation Build the workforce of the future
  • Continued to provide learning and development offerings as part of our focus on the future of work to assist employees to develop ‘skills for life’, including piloting a Skills Mapping Tool to be used to target learning pathways.
Invest and back the people and ideas shaping Australia
  • Awarded $4.2 million in educational scholarships to the next 101 Westpac Scholars, bringing the cohort to 431 during First Half 2019;
  • Westpac Foundation job creation grants to social enterprises helped to create 364 jobs1 for vulnerable Australians;
  • Supported the development of 174 businesses through our Many Rivers partnership. Since its establishment the partnership has created jobs1 for 2,087 people, with 763 identifying as Indigenous;
  • Maintained a portfolio of direct investment in 8 early stage companies; and
  • Current commitment to Reinventure is $150 million as part of its investment in three funds, supporting Reinventure investment in 27 early stage companies.
Back the growth of climate change solutions
  • Increased committed exposure to climate change solutions taking total committed exposure to $10.1 billion, above our 2020 target of $10 billion;
  • Facilitated $2.39 billion2 in climate change solutions progressing towards our 2020 target of $3 billion; and
  • Analysed the transition risks to our Australian Business and Institutional lending3 under a 1.5-degree climate scenario.
Back the growth of housing affordability solutions
  • Increased lending to the social and affordable housing sector to $1.48 billion.
Bring together partners and harness the Group's capacity to tackle pressing social issues  that matter most to the nation
  • Supported development of the Principles for Responsible Banking under UNEP FI with 48 other banks. Public consultation is currently being undertaken on the draft Principles;
  • Ran a circular economy design sprint with employees, suppliers and customers to explore ideas to transition waste materials, including single-use plastics, out of the Westpac Group supply chain; and
  • In April 2019, joined an Expert Advisory Council through WEConnect International focusing on best-in-class approaches to supply chain, supplier diversity and access to capital for women-owned businesses.
A culture that is caring, inclusive and innovative A culture of doing the right thing
  • Programs underway to rebuild trust, strengthen governance and deliver more consistent customer outcomes, including:
    • Culture, Governance and Accountability self-assessment action plan;
    • Royal Commission response plan;
    • Product design, performance and remediation;
    • Remuneration and accountability; and
    • Customer Care transformation.
  • Maintained ongoing Navigate training to reinforce Our Compass - a framework which brings together our vision, service promise, values and Code of Conduct - with smaller sessions facilitated by team leaders to continue the conversation locally; and
  • Continued to assess employee performance through the ‘Motivate’ framework – a behaviours-first approach to people management.
Promote an inclusive society, where our workforce reflects our customers, and where more people feel safe to speak up
  • Maintained 50% Women in Leadership roles;
  • Recruited 80 employees who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • Delivered programs to support inclusive employment opportunities, including our Tailored Talent neuro-diverse internship program, Equilibrium program supporting women to move from different sectors into a senior banking opportunity, and the CareerTrackers Indigenous internship program;
  • Listed on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index;
  • Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality; and
  • 73% of employees surveyed during First Half 2019 feel safe to speak up.
Increase channels where customers can provide feedback
  • Embedded a Customer Outcome Committee to work through complex cases;
  • 62% complaints resolved within five days in First Half 2019 compared to 52% in First Half 2018;
  • Launched the “Spot it, Log it and Own it” internal campaign, promoting an improved culture of complaints handling;
  • 97% of employees completed the “Why Complaints Matter” training; and
  • Commenced customer round tables around Australia.
Continuing to lead on the Sustainability fundamentals Employees
  • Implemented the recommendations of the Sedgwick Review for employees effective from 1 October 2018, two years ahead of schedule;
  • Embedded a Group Consequence Management Framework which sets out the standards expected of our employees and ensures greater consistency and transparency in the management of employee conduct matters;
  • Achieved total recordable injury frequency rate of (TRIFR) 2.91 and lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of 0.37; and
  • Promoted wellbeing initiatives with focus on mental health, including increasing awareness through mental health week promotion and development of tools and resources to support employee wellbeing.
Human rights
  • Released 2018 UK Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement;
  • Presented to the Financial Commission on Modern Slavery on Human Trafficking on the role of the financial sector in addressing modern slavery; and
  • Initiated preparation for the introduction of reporting to meet the requirements of the Australian Modern Slavery Act.
Sustainability lending and investment
  • Launched the world’s first Green Tailored Deposit to be certified by internationally recognized Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI).
  • Maintained carbon neutrality through the Australian Government Carbon Neutral Program;
  • On track to achieve a 4% reduction in GHG emissions compared to Full Year 2018 and 16% compared to Full Year 2016;
  • Group paper consumption on track to achieve a 5% reduction compared to Full Year 2018 and on track to achieve a 40% reduction in Full Year 2020 since 2016;
  • Water consumption in all Australian workspaces on track for a 15% reduction by 2020, consuming 192,694 kL in First Half 2019;
  • Achieved 75% diversion of waste from landfill in Australian offices; and
  • Committed in April 2019 to source 100% of global electricity consumption through renewable energy sources by 2025.
Responsible sourcing
  • $6.8 million sourced from diverse suppliers, including $2.1 million from Indigenous suppliers.
Community & social impact
  • 8.9% of employees have accessed volunteering program as tracked by volunteering leave and skilled volunteering participation during First Half 2019.

More information:


1Jobs created through the Westpac Foundation Social Scale-up grant and Many Rivers which are as at 31 December 2018. Refer to for glossary of terms and metric definitions.

2Includes climate bond arrangement, issuance, and investment and the Green Tailored Deposit.

3Australian Business and Institutional lending, excludes retail, sovereign, and bank exposures.

4Environmental footprint data as at 31 December 2018. Refer to for glossary of terms and metric definitions.