Westpac Group Sustainability Performance Report 2017 Case Study Report

Case Study Report Instructions

After reading your chosen company’s sustainability report, prepare a report covering the following points:

  1. Discuss the level to which sustainability strategy is integrated into overall business strategy of the company.
  2. Briefly explain the key stakeholders the company engages with.
  3. A commentary on areas of strong sustainability performance of the company.
  4. A commentary on areas of weak sustainability performance of the company.
  5. Make an overall assessment of quality of the company’s sustainability report based on the following aspects:
    a) Readability (eg: logical structure, uses a graphical presentation of the data, drawings, and explanations where required or uses other tools to help navigate through the document) b) Adoption of GRI principles or other frameworks.

Westpac Group Sustainability Performance Report 2017 Case Study Report

Sustainability is founded on the sustainable development concept, which is development which addresses the present needs without compromising the aptitude of the future generation to address their own needs. Sustainability needs organizations to regard the interrelated effect of their activities on the society, environment and the economy. It is concerned with the future ability to uphold specific capabilities, assets, or values. Sustainability entails decisions which handles the interaction between economic, social and environmental domains and requires options that consider equity in across generations in the society (Langfield-Smith, Smith & Andon, 2017).  This paper analyses the level of sustainability in Westpacgroup. Westpac is the oldest company and first bank in Australia. Westpac is among the four main bank organizations in the country and among the largest New Zealand banks. The company focuses on developing sustainable value by striving to be among the great service companies in the worked, assisting people, communities and customers to grow and prosper.

The Level of Sustainability Strategy Integration in Overall Business Strategy of the Company

Westpacgroup has employed great effort to enhance sustainability. The company always has annual sustainability initiatives that revolve around embracing societal change, improving financial futures,, and offering environmental solutions. Embracing changes in the society involves assisting people to enhance the way they live and work as the society changes.  The company promotes sustainable initiative by making sure that the workforce is the community representative. The company also extends its quality and length of working lives and expects the future needs of culturally diverse and ageing customers. The company also has an initiative of assisting in solving environmental challenges. This is done by offering services and products to assist customers adjust to the environmental challenges. Increase investment and lending in environmental and CleanTech services and lower environmental footprint. The company also has an initiative of developing improved financial futures. The company assists customers to create an improved association with money for improved life. The company guarantees all customers get the right advice to attain a secure retirement. It also assist customers meet retirement financial goals, increase access to pacific financial services and assist people to gain access to affordable housing (Westpac Banking Corporation, 2017).

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 The company sustainability initiatives are strategized to be addressed in a five years span with the recent accomplished sustainability initiative running from 2013 to 2017. Other 2017 sustainability initiatives include supporting gender equity by promoting women leadership in the company and in the society. The company has embraced inclusion of minority groups in its employment and internship programs to include LGHTIQ, and refugees in the country. Its 2017-2020 action plan centers on developing skills for the future by offering free Maths education access in Mathspace, and launched business institute to assist business bankers to get on developing their skills. Others measures include promoting cultural diversity, improving wellbeing, enhancing it human right position, and creating change via its supply chain. The company has also enhanced its climate change position, by investing in limiting global warming to below 2oC by offering climate bond. The company is also increasing its commitment to environmental and CleanTech that include green business initiatives, renewable energy, energy efficiency, forestry and green building. The company is also working to lower its environmental footprints through recycling its wastes, improving its electrical efficiency and maintain neutral carbon status. The company is also trying to align its operational goals with sustainability to ensure high level of growth and development of its key stakeholders (Westpac Banking Corporation, 2017).     

Key Stakeholders the Company Engages With

The company involves a number of stakeholders in its sustainability initiatives. Some of the key stakeholders engaged by the company include customers, employees, suppliers, investors, community and the government. The company ensures sustainability among its customers by offering them products and services which foster personal growth. Some of these services and products include financial education, risk management, and home ownership. These products and services add customers’ value by enhancing their financial confidence, attainment of financial goals, and enhancing business, family and individual prosperity. The company focuses on adding employee value through development and training, ensuring their wellbeing, and ensuring their financial security. Westpac add community value through innovation and partnership, philanthropy, capacity building and mentoring, granting scholarships and funding, and positive financial impact. This ensures community resilience, development of social enterprise, community inclusion in the banking system and offering them support in their time of need (Westpac Banking Corporation, 2017).

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Westpac add value to its suppliers by promoting capacity-building for different suppliers, collaborating with them through innovation, and sourcing quality product from all its diverse suppliers. This has resulted to inclusive and sustainable business growth and establishment of resilient and responsible suppliers. In addition to this, the Westpac also focuses on adding value to its investors by promoting long-term capital growth and providing them with dividends characterized by high financial performance. This result to increase in their income and ensures long term creation of wealth. The company ensures sustainability among its stakeholders by adding value to them. The company also relates to the government and the community in general through various activities that involves taxes, foreign capital and strength of balance sheet. It ensure economic value by ensuring stability in the financial system of the country, by ensuring economic resilience and wellbeing, funding of public services and infrastructure and by supporting productivity and innovation in the country (Westpac Banking Corporation, 2017).

Commentary on Areas of Strong Sustainability Performance of the Company

The company’s areas of strong sustainability performance include enhancing financial future and enhancing societal changes. The company has managed to bring financial sustainability to almost all its stakeholders who include employees, customers, investors, suppliers, community and the government. By offering effective banking services, the company has managed to address financial needs of many people in the society by facilitating personal financial growth through savings and loans with controlled interest rate and effective payment methods. The company also offers more improved banking products to better peoples’ life such as online banking,, low cost credit cards, and well facilitated bereavement information support system to assist customers and their kin after a loss. It also has a system to assist customers experiencing financial problems, improved banking for Australian indigenous customers, measures to enhance financial literacy among people its stakeholders through online sessions and physical workshops. In addition, the company offers programs for supporting future businesses. This aspect of sustainability addresses financial status of people in the society, which is a very important aspect in life of human beings. The change brought about by financial sustainability in the community served by Westpac is likely to improve life of many people in this society, alleviating poverty in the community and uplifting the life of minority in the society, especially the indigenous community (Westpac Banking Corporation, 2017).

Societal change is another strong sustainability initiative employed by Westpac. The company tries to change the society by improving its workforce. It has ensured that its workforce represents the surrounding community by employing inclusion criteria where all members of the society are represented. The company employs all qualified individual by ensuring to consider minority groups. It also ensures that its workers are well train to handle all customers’ distress effectively. It also supports cultural diversity by supporting international students, and by integrating programs that promote workers wellbeing. Other measures employed include offering scholarships, financial knowledge development among locals and international community and skills development. The approach thus ensures that the company wins in changing life of the majority in the society and also sets a good example of enhancing social development using its own workforce (Westpac Banking Corporation, 2017).   

Commentary on Areas of Weak Sustainability Performance of the Company

The company also puts an effort to enhance environmental sustainability by reducing its environmental footprints, recycling, offering climate bonds and funding energy efficiency solutions. Although the company has taken strong measures in enhancing environmental sustainability, it has not exhausted its options that it can employ in reducing carbon footprints and enhancing environment sustainability. Being the main source of business funding at different levels of business operations to include industries and manufacturing plants, the company can limit its funding to businesses that satisfy green production and those that adapt technologies that promote energy efficiency and reduced carbon print. By so doing, the company will manage to enhance environment management and promote good health in the surrounding and the world in general. The company can thus consider stretching more to be able to promote environmental sustainability in the country (Westpac Banking Corporation, 2017).   

General Assessment of Quality of the Company’s Sustainability Report

Westpac group has provided a detailed sustainability report which is easy to read and understand. The report has a logical structure which includes introduction statement, table of content, brief company history, the company vision statement, leaders’ statement on company’s commitment to sustainability, and then reporting on company sustainability initiatives. This is followed by briefing on the company sustainability milestone, and how the company creates sustainable value. The company gives sustainability progress report. The report is divided in different sections with each section having several subtitles under it. Some of the sections other than the ones pointed above include issues which matters such as sustainable development goals, the fundamentals which touches on the company sustainability strategy, performance metrics and other general information which include the company global reporting initiative index among other things. This makes it easy to follow the report and to understand different sections. The report is also facilitated with different graphics that include bar graphs, scatter graphs, and tables. The paper is also structured to enhance improved human interface by using links set at the header of the report to navigate every section of the report rather than scrolling. The report readability is also enhanced by use of different colors for titles and sub-titles. The report also ensures that other subtitles in the text are in bold to differentiate them from the normal reading. Different font size and background colors are used also used to enhance readability (Global Reporting, 2016).   

The report has also tried to observe the Global Reporting Initiative. The report observes the general disclosure requirement by reporting contextual information regarding the organization and its sustainability practice. The report provides its brief history, organization vision and sustainability strategy. It also reports on stakeholders and their engagement in enhancing value and sustainability. Although the report does not give full information on its governance, it has a leadership section where leaders’ opinion regarding sustainability is aired. The table of content is uses to clear on the reporting process and structure to be used.  The report also fulfills the management approach standards as per series 200, 300, and 400. The report touches on economic topics especially financing and how the bank enhance people’s financial life through its banking services and products. It also provides accounting details of the company financial health, which include the company’s financial statement. It also torches on how environmental matters especially on measures the company is taking to reduce carbon footprint and to promote environmental sustainability. In social topics, the company discusses how the company brings changes in the society (Langfield-Smith, Smith & Andon, 2017). The section also demonstrates the company contribution in enhancing social life of the people in the society. The sustainability reporting is well organized, clear, and with reliable information that is highly informative to any stakeholders in need of this information. The report also touches on all the relevant parameters and hence it demonstrates a high level of completeness. It has included all relevant information for all stakeholders, ensuring every group of stakeholders is represented. The provided information covers on all possible materials that include social, environmental and economic strategies and impacts. The provided materials are suitable enough to inform stakeholders in decision making and assessments regarding the organization. The report is thus well developed, structured and presented to satisfy accuracy, reliability, completeness, clarity and balanced report (Langfield-Smith, Smith & Andon, 2017).

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