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Timeline of sustainability milestones

Over almost two centuries, we have taken a leadership role by introducing new business practices to create more sustainable outcomes.

  • Bank of NSW, the predecessor of Westpac Group, launched the first disaster relief fund in Australia to help victims of the Hawkesbury River flood in NSW.
  • Established The Buckland Fund (which later became the Westpac Foundation) to help families of deceased bank employees.
  • One of nine founding members of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEPFI).
  • First bank in Australia to publish an environmental policy.
  • First bank to join the Australian Greenhouse Challenge to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Westpac first awarded Federal Government 'Employer of Choice for Women.'
  • First Australian bank and one of the first companies to create a formal community volunteering scheme.
  • First Australian bank to launch a workplace giving program - 'Matching Gifts'.
  • Westpac Foundation was formed (originally the Buckland Fund) to provide grants to not-for-profit organisations throughout Australia.
  • Founding signatory to the UN Global Compact.
  • Published the Social Accountability Charter, subsequently revised and expanded as Westpac's Principles for Doing Business.
  • Launched the first Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) product in Australia.
  • Formation of Westpac Board Social Responsibility Committee to consolidate Board oversight of sustainable business practices.
  • First Australian environmental and social ratings process - for the Australian Sustainability Share Fund.
  • Founding Partner in the Cape York Indigenous Enterprise Partnership.
  • Included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index from 2001 onwards including global sector leadership from 2002-2007, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
  • First Australian bank to publish a sustainability report.
  • Launch of Financial First Steps, a financial literacy program to help young people better manage their money.
  • First Australian bank to trade Renewable Energy Certificates.
  • One of nine founding signatories to the Equator Principles.
  • New Environment Management System developed.
  • First Australian bank to establish sustainable supply chain policy and process.
  • Formation of the Community Consultative Council as Westpac's peak external stakeholder body.
  • Ranked first in the Business in the Community Australian Corporate Responsibility Index (also in 2005 and 2006).
  • Included in the Carbon Disclosure Project's first Climate Leaders Index (and for the period 2004-2011).
  • Alignment of financial and sustainability reporting.
  • Enhanced family-friendly policies, including doubling paid parental leave.
  • Part of the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change which released the groundbreaking report 'The Business Case for Early Action'.
  • Held one of Australia's first briefings on intangible value for mainstream institutional investors.
  • Westpac's first inclusion in the World Economic Forum Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations (also from 2006-2008 and then 2010-2015 including #1 in 2014)
  • Endorsed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.
  • Developed the Principles for Responsible Lending.
  • Launched Westpac Assist - a specialist team which proactively assists customers with repayment issues, offering solutions to help them manage their debt.
  • Longer term sustainability objectives formalised within core business strategy. Launched a five-year climate change strategy.
  • Partnered with Many Rivers Microfinance.
  • First Australian bank to begin integrating financial and sustainability reporting. Commenced mainstream training on climate-related risk.
  • New Group-wide approach to the management of environment, social and governance risk.
  • First Australian corporation to offer super on unpaid maternity leave.
  • Launch of Australia's first organisational mentoring program to build capacity in the social sector.
  • First bank to trade in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • Lead partner with The Climate Institute's Climate Partners network.
  • Included in the Carbon Disclosure Project's first Carbon Performance Leadership Index (and for the period 2010-2012).
  • Joined the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (now Supply Nation).
  • First Australian bank to offer accredited financial education to customers and the community through the Davidson Institute.
  • Commenced a comprehensive Board-led review of Westpac's approach to sustainability.
  • Hosted the first Social and Affordable Housing Forum.
  • Joined the Banking Environment Initiative.
  • Cofounded the Australian Business Roundtable on Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities.
  • Participated in an Australian first - the New South Wales Government social benefit bond which pays a return based on the achievement of agreed social outcomes.
  • Released 2013-17 Sustainability Strategy.
  • Westpac's Natural Disaster Recovery Fund established.
  • Became a signatory to the Soft Commodities Compact through the Banking Environment Initiative.
  • Launched the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.
  • Released third Reconciliation Action Plan (received the highest Elevate status from Reconciliation Australia).
  • Ranked number one in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies in the World.
  • Announced a ten year agreement to recruit 400 Indigenous Australian university student interns through CareerTrackers.
  • Released a revised Climate Change and Environmental Position Statement and 2017 Action Plan.
  • Established the Westpac Indigenous Advisory Committee.
  • Signed the largest single community housing finance deal.
  • Brought the first green bond to the Australian market as underwriter of the World Bank's bond.
  • Introduced Social Impact Framework.
  • Released a new Human Rights Position Statement and Action Plan.
  • Introduced a Financing Agribusiness Position Statement.
  • Introduced a new Enterprise Agreement with market leading employee benefits.
  • Released a Responsible Investment Statement.
  • Westpac's Sydney head office awarded Six Star Green Star rating.
  • Introduced Supplier Inclusion and Diversity Policy.
  • First 100 Westpac Scholars appointed by Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.
  • Launched Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow program.
  • Launched an Energy Efficiency Finance Program in partnership with Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
  • Issued Westpac Climate Bond.