The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Sydney Airport promotes workplace diversity and inclusion

Case study: How Sydney Airport promotes workplace diversity and inclusion

As Australia’s primary gateway, connecting to more than 90 destinations around the world, Sydney Airport recognises its people are fundamental to its continuing success and is, accordingly, committed to building and maintaining a supportive and collaborative work environment  Tweet This! that celebrates diversity and recognises the value of differing ideas and perspectives.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by Sydney Airport published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Supporting a diverse workforce to drive creativity and innovation, raising awareness on diversity and inclusion and making its workplace more flexible, inclusive and free from bullying and harassment, are top priorities for Sydney Airport. In order to promote workplace diversity and inclusion Sydney Airport took action to:

  • promote flexibility
  • support gender equality
  • foster cultural diversity
  • support Indigenous Australians

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Sydney Airport identified a range of material issues, such as access to and from the airport, customer privacy, cyber security, community engagement and investment, environmental management, sustainable procurement. Among these, promoting workplace diversity and inclusion stands out as a key material issue for Sydney Airport.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Sydney Airport engages with:  

To identify and prioritise material topics Sydney Airport engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


·      Monthly passenger satisfaction surveys

·      Quarterly internationally benchmarked passenger satisfaction surveys

·      Ongoing tracking and analysis of customer feedback through all channels, including social media platforms and website

·      Competitions requesting ideas for improvement

·      Real-time reportable notification system for service requests

·      Radio and print advertising

·      Connections newsletter (quarterly)

·      Digital engagement including website, app and messaging platforms



·      Monthly Airline Operators’ Committee

·      Quarterly Industry Consultative Forum

·      Ongoing airline satisfaction surveys

·      Quarterly Common Use Terminal Equipment User Board

·      Quarterly Airport Emergency Committee

·      Daily communications as part of operational management

·      Real-time reportable notification system for service requests

·      Ramp Safety Committee

·      Baggage Handling Forum

·      Frequent operations bulletins

Border agencies


·      Daily communications as part of operational management

·      Weekly planning and facilitation management review

·      Bi-annual border agency operational and customer focus area review

·      Ongoing strategic airport management meetings

·      Bi-annual National Passenger Facilitation Committee meetings

Retail business partners ·      Daily communication as part of retail operations management

·      Regular retailer meetings and reviews on a regular basis at store level and with senior management

·      Quarterly food safety testing for all food and beverage retailers

·      Quarterly price comparison audits against key Sydney CBD retailers and dining precincts

·      Retailer forum four times per year

·      Monthly retail customer experience scorecard prepared for each terminal

·      Ongoing tracking and analysis of customer feedback through all channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, WeChat and website

Employees ·      Consultative groups as required

·      Six-weekly Safety Committee

·      Monthly staff newsletter

·      Quarterly staff briefings

·      Rebranded user-friendly intranet

·      Monthly Service Star programme

·      Employee recognition programme

·      Half-yearly performance reviews

·      Ongoing staff bulletins and emails

·      Ongoing team meetings

·      Cross functional team social interactions

·      Diversity and inclusion working group

·      Learning and development working group

·      Leadership and management development programme

Community and local government ·      Quarterly Sydney Airport Community Forum

·      Half-yearly Planning Coordination Forum

·      Annual community update in local newspapers

·      Regular website updates

·      Letterbox flyers

·      Ongoing local council briefings

·      Consultation processes as part of major development plans and master planning

·      Sentiment survey

·      Partnerships with local councils

·      Master plan consultation

·      Major Development Plan (MDP) consultation

·      Connections newsletter (quarterly)

Investors ·      Annual General Meeting

·      Bi-annual financial results announcements

·      Investor roadshows, meetings and conferences

·      ASX releases including monthly traffic statistics

·      Website (with a specific section for investors)

·      Investor days

·      Stakeholder/investor emails and webcasts

·      Investor presentations and fact sheets

Tourism bodies, industry associations and advocates ·      Attendance at relevant overseas delegations

·      Ongoing participation in tourism events and partnerships as part of a collaborative effort
to attract airline services and visitors to Sydney

·      Regular meetings

NSW and Commonwealth governments and agencies ·      Regular meetings and briefing with relevant agencies and elected representatives including:

– the National Passenger Facilitation Committee;

– International Air Services Negotiation meetings;

– government meetings regarding the Future

Freight Policy; and

– Tourism Access Working Group

·      Daily communication with Airservices Australia

Media ·      Airport tours

·      Media releases

·      Proactive outreach

·      Responses to specific requests

·      Airport access and 24-hour on-call media phone

·      Media events and press conferences

Industry bodies ·      Regular and ongoing meetings with relevant organisations, including the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Airport Coordination Australia, WorkCover, Office of Transport Security, Productivity Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

What actions were taken by Sydney Airport to promote workplace diversity and inclusion?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Sydney Airport reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace diversity and inclusion:

  • Promoting flexibility
  • Sydney Airport’s current flexibility policies and programmes include:
    • Sydney Airport’s Flexible Work Policy, which has four types of flexibility available: flexible start and finish times, part-time work, job sharing and working from home
when appropriate;
    • A variety of leave options, including a parental leave programme and the option to purchase an additional two weeks of leave per year;
    • Access to technology that allows employees to work remotely across the airport and at home, as appropriate.
  • Sydney Airport also has a policy to support employees experiencing domestic and family violence, offering them access to additional leave to manage legal matters, moving house or other associated appointments without using annual leave.
  • Supporting gender equality
  • As a signatory of the Australian Institute of Company Directors “30% club”, Sydney Airport has set a goal of 30% female representation for its Board and management, and continues to work to increase female representation both in terms of overall staff numbers and within its Generation Y population. In 2017, Sydney Airport’s female representation increased 1.5% to 37.9%, with female managers accounting for 38.9% of all managers. To further support gender diversity, 50% of new recruits during the year were female.
  • Fostering cultural diversity
  • Committed to recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse workforce, Sydney Airport established, in 2016, its baseline ethnicity dataset, to better understand the cultural diversity of its workforce. Sydney Airport’s staff speak 35 languages, and have a collective 34 countries of origin. Celebrating this diversity and promoting a better understanding of different cultures, Sydney Airport organises events such as Harmony Day, where employees come together to share dishes from a range of cultures.
  • Supporting Indigenous Australians
  • Sydney Airport has a partnership with the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Programme, an organisation providing internship opportunities for Indigenous university students. Accordingly, in 2017 Sydney Airport hosted its second intern, who worked with its People and Performance team. Sydney Airport also supports the Clontarf Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation established to help Indigenous boys complete high school.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees

2) Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men


Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees corresponds to:

Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men corresponds to: 


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1) This case study is based on published information by Sydney Airport, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:




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