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Reframing Westpac’s Social Impact


Thursday, 18th June 2015 at 11:28 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
Westpac Group has launched its Social Impact Framework including a new online tool to help community organisations seeking Westpac’s support to better understand the company’s social investment priorities.

Thursday, 18th June 2015
at 11:28 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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Reframing Westpac’s Social Impact
Thursday, 18th June 2015 at 11:28 am

Westpac Group has launched its Social Impact Framework including a new online tool to help community organisations seeking Westpac’s support to better understand the company’s social investment priorities.

Westpac Group Head of Sustainability and Community Siobhan Toohill said Australia’s oldest bank and first company wanted to better understand its social impact and focus its efforts more strategically and sustainably.

“Like so many companies investing in social initiatives, we were grappling with how to measure our impact and ultimately ensure we’re supporting the right groups and projects to genuinely make a difference,” she said.

“Social impact reaches into so many areas for us – from supply chain to the community’s ability to recover from disasters to diversity in the workplace – so it makes a lot of sense to put structure and measurement around such important work.”

Westpac interviewed and worked with more than 150 internal and external stakeholders to develop the Social Impact Framework, which will help the organisation better plan, deliver, monitor and measure its social initiatives.

The framework has been built around four key areas of social investment that support Westpac’s vision to help its customers, communities and people to prosper and grow.

1. Helping out in times of need

2. Enabling more inclusive banking and building financial capability

3. Investing in economic wellbeing and greater prosperity

4. Advancing the nation through social change  

“We know those social investments that make a difference and align to a corporate supporters’ business priorities are likely to be the most sustainable because there’s shared value – a win-win for the partner and the supporter,” Toohill said.

Westpac has made it easier for social sector organisations to assess this “shared value” with a new online tool, OurImpact, which assesses the social impact of an existing or potential project and how well it aligns to Westpac’s strategic priorities.

“It’s a starting point for a discussion to help community partners measure and develop more meaningful projects that ultimately increase value for the people they serve,” Toohill said.

OurImpact spells out Westpac’s vision and social impact framework and takes potential partners through some simple questions to score both the social impact and strategic value of their initiative. Participants are invited to submit their proposal if they believe their scores stack up or to reconsider or refine their project to improve impact or alignment (or both).

“We don’t want potential partners to be discouraged if their scores are low – it’s not a pass or fail test, but rather a self-assessment tool,” Toohill said.

“Our hope is they reflect on the result with their stakeholders and explore how to improve their programme’s social impact or how it could better align to our Social Impact Framework. It’s about right project, right fit for both us and the community partner.”

It takes just 10-15 minutes for social sector organisations seeking Westpac’s support to assess their projects here.  


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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