Westpac CSR Awards
28 September 2004 at 1:09 pm
September has been a big month for Westpac Banking Group. It has achieved first place in a list of Australian companies with the greatest social awareness as well as topping a global sustainability index for the third year in a row.
The Corporate Responsibility Index ranks Australia’s fourth largest bank ahead of BP, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Toyota.
The inaugural international benchmarking of corporate social responsibility by the St. James Ethics Centre shows local businesses are equal to their counterparts in the UK, although weaker in the area of assurance.
A voluntary self-assessment survey, the Index set up a process that compared the systems and performances of different companies in and across specific sectors.
It was established two years ago by 80 leading businesses working with UK charity Business in the Community (BITC).
The first round of Australian results are consistent with other international surveys indicating that while many companies are at an advanced stage in policy development, only a few are really successful in actually driving corporate responsibility throughout the business.
As well, Westpac once again led the global banking community on corporate sustainability, according to the 2004/2005 Dow Jones Sustainability Index also released this month.
The Dow Jones Sustainability Index is based on an assessment of each company’s economic, environmental and social performance and influences the decisions of asset managers who use it to as a benchmark for sustainable investment portfolios.
In the 2004/2005 survey results, Westpac was noted particularly for its work in:
– Formulating responsible business practices at board level and integrating those values into its Code of Conduct
– Producing excellent corporate culture aimed at avoiding conflict situations with customers or other interest groups
– Actively contributing to systemic change in the financial services industry and the economy at large
– Successfully tackling direct and indirect environmental impacts
– Increasing commitment to employees, underlined by its performance in various labour practice indicators
– Transparent reporting of controversial finance projects with potential high environmental and social impacts and investments raising ethical concerns.
Westpac CEO, David Morgan says the accolade is a clear testament to the bank’s commitment of fully integrating corporate responsibility into the way it does business.
Out of some 2,500 leading global companies, only 312 have made the 2004/2005 DJSI index, including 28 banks.