Westpac Rated Most Socially Responsible
15 December 2005 at 12:12 pm
The Westpac Banking Group has been rated as the most socially responsible company in Australia and New Zealand by ratings agency RepuTex.
New Zealand’s top rated company is the Telecom Corporation of NZ with a AA- rating.
RepuTex’s annual survey of corporate social responsibility covers issues including corporate governance, environmental impact, workplace practices and the company’s social impact.
Westpac was given a Triple A rating while 11 others including the ANZ, the National Australian Bank, Australia Post, BHP Billiton, Energex and the Insurance Australia Group were granted AA ratings.
The Global CEO of RepuTex, Laurel Grossman says this year’s overall ratings result is extremely encouraging with more companies than ever before addressing corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of their core business activity.
Grossman says that more companies are recognising the value of CSR and the vital role it plays in managing mainstream financial risk.
This year 66 companies across Australia and New Zealand were rated in the A range (-A to AAA) up from 58 companies last year.
Grossman says there has been an overall improvement in the corporate governance performance of Australian and New Zealand companies, due in part to a greater understanding and expectation from the market, shareholders and investors as well as increased regulation such as the ASX Principles of Corporate governance.
One of the key findings by RepuTex is that companies are focusing on Workplace Practices, with many companies implementing specific strategies such as flexible work programs and work life balance policies – this year 42 companies were rated satisfactory or better in this criterion up from 21 companies last year.
As part of its public research program, RepuTex has rated Australia’s Top 100 companies and New Zealand’s Top 20 companies, examining their activities and policies in four areas: Corporate Governance, Environmental Impact, Social Impact and Workplace Practices. Each company received a rating of either: AAA (outstanding), AA (high), A (satisfactory), B (low) C (very low) or D (inadequate).
The main results are:
Westpac Banking Corporation AAA
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited AA
Australian Postal Corporation AA
BHP Billiton Ltd AA
Energex Ltd AA
Ergon Energy Corporation Ltd AA
Hewlett Packard Australia Pty Ltd AA
IBM Australia Ltd AA
Insurance Australia Group Limited AA
National Australia Bank Limited AA
Queensland Rail AA
Visy Industries Ltd AA
59 were satisfactory or better (ie. A, AA or AAA), 40 were rated low or very low (ie. B or C) 5 companies were not rated due to insufficient information available and given (I/A)
– Corporate Governance: 84 companies satisfactory or better, 17 low (3 received I/A)
– Environmental Impact: 35 companies satisfactory or better, 68 low, very low or inadequate (* 1 received I/A)
– Workplace Practices: 42 companies satisfactory or better, 53 low, very low or inadequate (*9 received I/A)
– Social Impact: 59 companies satisfactory or better, 39 low or very low (*6 received I/A)
– 14 companies were rated for the first time (using the current methodology)
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Limited AA-
The Warehouse Group AA-
ACC NZ A+
New Zealand Post A
Fletcher Building A-
Genesis Power Ltd A-
Meridian Energy Ltd A-
– 7 companies were satisfactory or better (ie. A, AA or AAA), 12 were low or very low (ie. B or C) (*3 companies were not rated due to insufficient information available and given I/A)
– Environmental Impact: 4 companies satisfactory or better, 18 low, very low or inadequate and 0 IA
– Corporate Governance: 12 companies satisfactory or better, 9 low, and 1 IA
– Workplace Practices: 5 companies satisfactory or better, 9 low, very low or inadequate (*8 received I/A)
– Social Impact: 7 companies satisfactory or better, 11 low or very low (*4 received I/A)
Grossman says while the overall 2005 findings are positive there is room for improvement in areas such as Environmental Impact where the average overall rating has remained low.
The RepuTex CSR ratings are announced annually but the ratings are continuous.
Downgrades and upgrades occur in real time and are publicly updated on the RepuTex website.