Founded in 1817, Westpac is Australia’s first bank and oldest company, one of four major banks in Australia and one of the largest banks in New Zealand. Westpac is committed to helping its people make the right decisions every day Tweet This!, complying with ethical requirements, professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Westpac 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.
Westpac is firmly committed to upholding the Australian banking industry’s standards of practice and service contained in the Banking Code of Practice, which requires banks to meet higher standards of ethical behaviour, fair and responsible lending and provide greater protections for customers. In order to promote ethical business conduct Westpac took action to:
- introduce Navigate
- encourage a safe to speak up culture
- provide training
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With this case study you will see:
- Which are the most important impacts (material issues) Westpac has identified;
- How Westpac proceeded with stakeholder engagement, and
- What actions were taken by Westpac to promote ethical business conduct
What are the material issues the company has identified?
In its 2019 Sustainability Report Westpac identified a range of material issues, such as financial and economic performance, customer satisfaction and experience, information security and data privacy. Among these, promoting ethical business conduct stands out as a key material issue for Westpac.
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:
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 Westpac engages with:
To identify and prioritise material topics Westpac engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:
|Stakeholder Group||Method of engagement|
|· Customer advocate
· Call centres
· Social media
· Mystery shopping
· Focus groups
· Customer councils
· Branch teams and relationship managers
|· Monthly employee survey
· Yammer (internal social media)
· People leader forums
· Ongoing team meetings
· Briefings and meetings
· Annual General Meeting
|Government and regulators||· Policy and trend analysis
· Industry forums
· Reform proposals
|Suppliers||· Supplier forums
· Assessment against Westpac’s Responsible Sourcing Code of Conduct
|Non-governmental organisations||· One-on-one meetings
· NGO participation in industry meetings
|Communities||· Ongoing dialogue with community partners
· Local branch engagement
· Skill-based volunteering, mentoring and secondments
· Strategic workshops and working groups
In its 2019 Sustainability Report Westpac reports that it took the following actions for promoting ethical business conduct:
- Introducing Navigate
- Westpac introduced Navigate in September 2018 as an experience-based approach to increasing understanding of its code of conduct, values, service promise and vision to help employees feel more confident when making decisions and ‘navigating the grey’. Every quarter, leaders are expected to take their teams through a scenario designed to test a complex, often ethical, decision that needs to be made, creating a forum for open and courageous conversations and to encourage Westpac’s people to look at the issue from different stakeholder perspectives. Scenario topics during the reporting year included Protecting vulnerable customers, Appropriate protection or undue interference? and We can, but should we? Westpac also introduced the Yes Check as a practical tool to help its people deliver the best outcomes by considering the impact of a decision through different lenses, which can be used together with Our Compass for any kind of decision, from how to help a customer in the moment, to decisions around systems, processes or products.
- Encouraging a safe to speak up culture
- Westpac encourages a safe to speak up culture in line with its Speaking Up Policy and during the reporting year centralised the way it investigates concerns and introduced a new online system with a simplified user experience. Westpac also updated its whistleblower programme, to reflect legislative changes that took effect in July 2019.
- Providing training
- To help its people understand their obligations and deliver high standards of service and care, Westpac introduced a number of mandatory learning modules, including:
- Banking Code of Practice Foundations to help its people understand their obligations under the new Code
- Every Customer Matters to better recognise customers who might need extra care and understand how to provide that care appropriately
- Why Complaints Matter in order to have a consistent approach to managing complaints and issues across the Group, and to help shift the culture of complaints to focus on customer outcomes and addressing root issues.
Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?
The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures
Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures corresponds to:
- Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- Targets: 16.5
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1) This case study is based on published information by Westpac, 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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