Westpac Tops List of World’s Most Sustainable Companies
Thursday, 23rd January 2014 at 9:32 am
Australian banking giant Westpac has taken out top place in the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World” list announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Global 100 List highlighted Westpac’s Matching Gifts program, which resulted in millions of dollars donated to Australian charities.
Speaking from Davos, Westpac Chief Executive Gail Kelly said the employee donations were matched by Westpac bringing $4.5 million to the total donated to 650 charities throughout the year.
“It is wonderful recognition of the work of our people to help create a sustainable future and deliver long-term value for our customers, employees, shareholders and the community,” she said.
Kelly said that social, environmental and economic responsibility was a key part of Westpac Group’s culture and in the past year alone, Westpac had added significantly to its sustainable track record.
“Since launching the program in 1999, $35 million has been given through this program,” she said.
“The Family of Giving, which includes the Westpac Foundation and St.George Foundation, also distributed $4.1 million to support social enterprises finding creative business solutions to social disadvantage.”
In addition, Kelly said, Westpac employees spent 423 weeks’ worth of time sharing skills with Indigenous organisations through Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnerships secondments during 2013, bringing total time to about 76 work years since helping found the program in 2001.
“From an environmental perspective, the Group became carbon neutral last year, improved energy efficiency and committed up to $6 billion for lending and investment in CleanTech and environmental services by 2017,” she said.
“Similarly, up to $2 billion is being made available for lending and investment in social and affordable housing and services by 2017.
“Efforts to introduce greater diversity into the workforce have also seen the number of women in Westpac's leadership increase to 42 per cent, placing the group in a strong position to achieve its aspirational target of 50 per cent by 2017.
“These types of initiatives have no doubt played a role in further lifting engagement among employees, which rose to its highest level of 87 per cent,” Kelly said.
Four other Australian corporations made it into the Global 100 list. ANZ Banking group at 19th, Commonwealth Bank at 25, Stockland real estate at 32 and Wesfarmers at 92 on the list.
In its tenth year, the Corporate Knight Global 100 index said Westpac had a long history of leadership and innovation in corporate sustainability.
“It was the first bank to join the Australian government's Greenhouse Challenge Plus and the first financial institution in Australia to create a matching donation program,” Doug Morrow, Managing Director at Corporate Knights, said.
Inclusion in the Global 100 index is determined using 12 quantitative sustainability indicators, including the amount of revenue companies generate per unit of energy consumption, the ratio of CEO to average worker salary and lost time injury rate.
“The Global 100 follows a rules-based index construction methodology. We unpackage ‘sustainability’ into its component parts, and build the index from the ground up using clearly defined ratios and performance indicators,” Morrow said.