Westpac Shapes Its Supply Chain for Social Change
9 July 2015 at 10:53 am
With a supply chain comprising 30,000+ service providers, Westpac Group is using its procurement spend to support opportunities for social change. This includes diversifying to include traditionally underrepresented business groups, such as Indigenous businesses.
Yaru Water, an Australian Indigenous bottled water business, is set to become the “water of choice” across Westpac’s main offices, as it joins the growing number of Indigenous businesses within the Group’s supply chain.
The decision to introduce Yaru Water, through catering partner Compass, is part of Westpac’s commitment to use procurement as a valuable tool to support opportunities for social change, as it continues to embed sustainable practices deeply into procurement processes.
In fact, Westpac has set a public target to increase its procurement spend on Indigenous Australian suppliers to at least $3 million by 2017 and embed 10 Indigenous owned businesses in its supply chain, as outlined in its ambitious Reconciliation Action Plan.
Simon LeGear, Westpac’s Chief Procurement Officer, said he was pleased to have placed Westpac’s first order for the supply of Yaru Water.
“As sales of Yaru grow across Westpac, we know we are supporting Yaru’s founding partners – the people of the Bundjalung Nation and Mount Warning Spring Water – to continue their great work, acting as an agent of positive change through the Indigenous leadership programs they run,” LeGear said.
“When I visited Yaru’s facilities and natural springs, and sat and shared stories with the founding partners, it was clear this was a business we should get behind. We left with a much deeper understanding of the Bundjalong people, their cultural connection with and respect for land, and their incredibly strong focus on equipping Indigenous youth with knowledge and cultural engagement.
“I’ve no doubt this focus on social outcomes, along with the quality and commerciality of the product, will contribute to the ongoing significant take up of Yaru Water by corporations across Australia.”
LeGear said that procuring Yaru Water enables Westpac to continue to grow the number of products and services we source from Supply Nation Accredited Businesses.
“By supporting Indigenous suppliers we know we are not only getting great products and services, we are also indirectly supporting Indigenous employees and their communities,” LeGear said.
Diversifying procurement spend in this way also enables Westpac to better understand and reflect its diverse customer base and contribute to greater economic wellbeing, employment, financial inclusion and innovation in traditionally marginalised communities.
Reaffirming sustainable procurement leadership
Diversifying its supply chain to include businesses which are led by traditionally marginalised groups is one aspect of Westpac’s recently refreshed sustainable supply chain management framework.
The new framework, which includes enhanced requirements for the largest of its 30,000+ suppliers, reaffirms Westpac’s leadership in sustainable procurement, having been the first bank in Australia to launch a sustainable supply chain management framework in 2004.
Head of Group Sustainability & Community, Siobhan Toohill, said the enhanced framework would lead to even closer working relationships with suppliers.
“With such a large supply chain, we have a great opportunity to encourage suppliers to have a shared sustainability agenda and create outcomes that make good, long term business sense,” she said.
“We’ve seen first-hand that our commitment to sustainable supply chain management has inspired many of our suppliers to further develop their own sustainability programs.
“This contributes not only to a more resilient supply chain, but also helps to create greater social impact in the communities in which we live and work,” she said.
Yaru Water was one of the businesses called out in Enabling Prosperity, a report commissioned by Westpac which explored success factors for Indigenous economic development. Yaru was a business which illustrated the factors that contribute to individual and community business success as well as the different ways in which Indigenous individuals and communities are creating new and innovative ways of doing business.