Our Sustainability Advisory Panel

To assist us on our sustainability journey and to ensure we are sufficiently challenged by diverse perspectives we established a Sustainability Advisory Panel, in 2013.

Acknowledging Sir Rob Fenwick (1951 – 2020)

Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane - The totara has fallen in the forest of Tane.

The Panel would like to acknowledge the legacy of Sir Rob Fenwick, who passed away in March 2020. His contribution to the environmental, social and commercial fabric of Aotearoa was immense, and the void he leaves is large.

To quote Sir Rob: “Sustainability is no longer something that we as individuals or corporate institutes should feel is nice to do. It’s a must do. New Zealand must preserve its natural capital if it has a hope of surviving economically and that means all sectors, public and private, rural and urban, have to all pull together under the banner of sustainability.”

Sir Rob was a founding member of Westpac’s Sustainability Advisory Panel since its inception in 2012, and a friend and mentor to us all. We will strive to do justice to his legacy.

Our advisory panel members.

The Westpac NZ Sustainability Advisory Panel is chaired by Nick Main and includes Abbie Reynolds, Emeline Afeaki-Mafile'o, Dr Jan Wright Rangimarie Hunia and Sam Johnson.

In addition to our Sustainability Advisory Panel, our strategy is overseen by our Sustainability Steering Committee, comprised of our CEO, Executive Team and Chief Economist. See how we manage sustainability here.

Our governance structure helps us to ensure sustainability is overseen at the highest levels of our organisation and embedded throughout our everyday operations.

Abbie Reynolds

Abbie Reynolds is CEO of Predator Free 2050 Ltd. She was previously Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council, where in 2017 she co-founded the Climate Leaders Coalition with Mike Bennetts CEO Z Energy. This work led to a 2019 Women of Influence win, and the opportunity to present at the UN as part of the NZ Government's report on its Sustainable Development Goal performance. She is a Trustee for Sustainable Coastlines and VOYCE Whakarongo Mai, and served on Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisors ‘Rethinking Plastics Panel’, and the Government’s Electric Vehicle Leadership Group.

Emeline Afeaki-Mafile’o, MNZM

A social entrepreneur from South Auckland for more than 20 years, who founded Affirming Works in 2001, providing essential services to pacific people. This led Emeline contributing to public policy in New Zealand and the Pacific. Emeline and her husband Alipate provide opportunities for farmers in Tonga producing Tupu’anga products including organic coffee, vegetable chips and vanilla. Together they started Community Cafe social enterprise cafes across Auckland. In 2006, Emeline was named as a Blake Emerging Leader and won the Woman of Influence community & social enterprise award in 2013.

Dr Jan Wright

Dr Jan Wright was New Zealand's Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment from 2007 to 2017. Dr Wright has degrees in Physics and in Energy and Resources, and a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University. She has worked as an policy and economic consultant and as a member of Crown Entity Boards. In her last report as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Wright made the case for a new climate law, now enacted as the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019. Dr. Wright currently chairs Te Manahuna Aoraki - a nationally significant conservation project in Canterbury.

Nick Main (Chair)

Nick Main is a chartered accountant and was CEO and later Chair of Deloitte in New Zealand. More recently, he was Global Managing Partner of Sustainability and Climate Change Services and has also served as Deloitte's Global Chief of Ethics Officer. Nick currently chairs the Middlemore Foundation, is Deputy Chair of NIWA and is a board member of the Sir Peter Blake Trust. Nick has also held a number of high profile positions, including chair of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and deputy chair of the New Zealand Leadership Institute.

Rangimarie Hunia

Rangimarie Hunia is a Director of Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa Limited. With broad experience in the commercial, environmental, education and social enterprise sectors, Rangimarie runs her own business, is a director on the Institute of Directors’ Commercial Board, and a trustee on the Committee for Auckland and the Manaiakalani Education Trust. She was fortunate to lead the education developments for Ngati Whatua o Orakei for a number of years before starting a family. From 2008 to 2012, Rangimarie was a director of Ngati Whatua o Orakei Corporate Ltd, the former commercial arm of the hapu. She completed her masters in commerce in 2011 titled ‘Economic Renaissance of a Maori Community: Ngati Whatua o Orakei as a Case Study’ which traces the economic development journey of the hapu.

Sam Johnson

Social entrepreneur Sam Johnson is Founder and Executive Director of the Student Volunteer Army. Sam has helped the SVA mature from a student social media movement into an internationally recognised charity that will engage 60,000 young people from all corners of New Zealand in its volunteering programmes this year. Sam is a trustee of the Prince's Trust New Zealand, Emerging Leaders Co-Chair for the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum and an Adjunct Fellow at the University of Canterbury.

Message from the Chair

This is the fourth year that the Sustainability Advisory Panel has operated as an independently chaired ‘critical friend’ of Westpac NZ. Our role is to provide insights into the changing expectations of communities, stakeholders and customers, identifying the changing risks and opportunities in the environment the bank operates in and challenging Westpac to take leadership roles where the organisation can be most effective.

Over this period we have been consistent in our messaging:

  • Simplify your strategy so that you have a smaller number of items you will focus on, those which are most important to the society you operate within and where you can have biggest impact.
  • Align your sustainability and business strategy so your actions and messages are consistent and authentic. This will allow you to have greatest impact and build cultural coherence.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your voice and influence. You can lead collaborative efforts and also lead by example.

This report reflects the progress to date. Next year sees the launch of the new strategy which is more tightly focussed on the positive role Westpac NZ can play in caring for the planet, for people and to increase financial wellbeing. It talks to where Westpac NZ can lead, can influence and have direct impact in creating a more sustainable world.

This year has been very challenging for New Zealand, not least because of the impact of COVID-19. The bank has endeavoured to maintain its sustainability strategy during this time as well as put in place measures that support the communities it operates in. Stressful times tend to reveal true character, personality and strength; the way the bank has reacted to the needs of its people and its customers in this time has revealed a strong caring culture.

It is still early days in our journey of recovery from the pandemic. It is also early days in the journey to sustainability and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. We continue to challenge the bank on its strategies, plans and actions and the goalposts continually move. However, this report is a good opportunity to see the progress made to date and the challenges Westpac NZ has set itself for the future. We are encouraged in our role and enjoy an honest and open relationship with management and the Board.

Finally, a thank you to the members of the Panel that provide challenge and advice to Westpac NZ. This year we lost one of our members to cancer. Sir Rob Fenwick had been a tireless campaigner for sustainability whose leadership gave rise to many organisations including the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and Predator Free New Zealand. We miss him, and his wisdom, insight and humour. He continued to battle for the environment until the end.

We also said goodbye to Phil O’Reilly, one of the Panel’s original members, joining in 2013. We welcomed Abbie Reynolds, CEO of Predator Free 2050 Ltd. Other members noted above have served unchanged through the year. And, also, our thanks to the Westpac NZ sustainability team, led by Kate van Praagh, who have supported us throughout the year.

Nick Main