CEO Message

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou mō ngā pānui tohutohu whakaoranga nei

David Mclean Circle

In a world of accelerating change and disruption, we are facing a startling array of challenges in our business and our society. Climate change, the distribution of economic outcomes, digital disruption and the future of work, environmental quality and use of natural resources, to name a few. These challenges create risks and opportunities, both for our business and New Zealand. We’re committed to playing a role in tackling these challenges: not only to ensure the survival of our business today, but to ensure we’re responding to the challenges of tomorrow; and not only the challenges that directly and immediately impact our business, but the wider challenges that impact the wellbeing of all of our employees, our customers and New Zealanders. Why? Put simply, if New Zealand thrives, we thrive.

I truly believe business should be a positive force in society – at a basic level, businesses create jobs and pay tax without which modern society couldn’t exist. Businesses should also try to solve customer problems and bring resources and a different lens to the challenges we face. Businesses should create value for customers, shareholders and the communities we live in. Those ideas sit at the heart of our sustainability strategy and align with the purpose of Westpac New Zealand - helping our customers financially, to grow a better New Zealand.

Our 2020 sustainability strategy focuses on three areas aligned to our purpose and our ability to influence change. They are: Growing New Zealanders’ Financial Wellbeing; Taking Action on Climate Change, and Being a Responsible Business.

In the past year there have been numerous highlights and challenges. Our employees have supported financial wellbeing by delivering free financial capability workshops to 5,260 New Zealanders. And, importantly, we are looking at how we can raise our customers’ financial wellbeing through everyday banking interactions. We offer our customers options to monitor and understand their spending habits in real-time and we are offering customers more data driven insights into their banking activity, and options that might save them cost, or better meet their needs.

However, while improving financial capability and New Zealanders' confidence with their money is hugely important, if we want to truly lift financial wellbeing we also need to help more New Zealanders be financially independent – through lifting incomes, tackling the drivers of poverty and ensuring everyone can participate in and benefit from our economy. We recognise that stable, affordable housing is a key enabler of these goals, so it’s been pleasing to see an expansion of the ways we are helping lower income New Zealanders into homes, through Welcome Home Loans, shared equity schemes and continued lending and support to the community housing sector.

However affordable housing and financial inclusion remain a huge challenge and will continue to be a focus in 2019.

On the environmental front, we’ve again reduced our electricity use, although our overall emissions have increased due to the higher emissions intensity of the electricity grid. However we remain on track for our targeted 25% reduction between 2016 and 2020. We have introduced 69 electric vehicles to our fleet and will have 100 by early next year.

We’ve introduced 30 worm farms to our Auckland headquarters that process around 20,000kg of waste on site, and feed a collection of thriving onsite herb gardens. We’ve increased our lending to businesses supporting the transition to a net zero carbon economy to $1.6 billion.

We’ve also used our economic perspective as a bank to publish evidence-based reports calling for New Zealand to move faster on climate change, and for businesses to get better business outcomes and address the pay gap by getting to 50% women in management. We want to use our expertise to show how doing the right thing can also bring benefits to New Zealand and individual businesses’ bottom lines.

It’s great to reflect on highlights, but with that comes the realisation that we are only scratching the surface of many of the big challenges we face. That’s why collaboration and collective action are vital – from business, government, NGOs and individuals. In the past year we were a founding member of the Climate Leaders Coalition, we’re co-chairing the Sustainable Finance stream of the Aotearoa Circle and supported the Financial Inclusion Forum for the banking and finance industries. All of these initiatives have a greater chance of achieving results than anyone working alone. From a Westpac perspective, working with others is also a great opportunity to widen our horizons and learn.

Finally, I’d like to thank our Sustainability Advisory Panel for their help and scrutiny throughout the year. Listening and responding to our stakeholders – customers, shareholders, employees and communities - is important to us. Sometimes this will create tension and debate; however, this dialogue is vital to our ongoing success and innovation. The input we’ve received this year has been invaluable. To assist us further on this journey I welcome your feedback.

Noho ora mai

David McLean

Chief Executive Officer
Westpac New Zealand



Sustainability Advisory Panel Chair Message

To assist us on our sustainability journey and to ensure we are sufficiently challenged by representatives of our communities we established an eight-member Sustainability Advisory Panel.

Nick Main Circle

The panel’s role, as a ‘critical friend’ of the bank is to provide an external perspective on Westpac New Zealand’s sustainability strategy (and indeed the overall bank strategy which it supports), to challenge Westpac to demonstrate leadership in sustainable business practices, and to champion robust and transparent reporting and communication.

This year we have continued our support of the strategy and provided input into the three core focus areas; helping New Zealanders take action on climate change; grow New Zealanders' financial wellbeing; and be a responsible business.

While some might think these as unusual areas for a bank to focus on, they clearly support the overall bank strategy of ‘helping New Zealanders financially, to grow a better New Zealand’. In the long-term successful business can only succeed in a society that succeeds and that will mean it has responded to these major challenges. A major bank, such as Westpac, has significant influence and leverage though its suppliers and customers. More than this is it can take a leadership role in its communities. It is pleasing to see Westpac rising to these challenges as is well described in this report.

The journey has barely started in many areas and the challenges are immense. As a panel we are pleased to be able to play a constructive role in helping shape the bank's response.

During the year three panel members, Sir Mason Durie, Dr Monique Faleafa and Dr Renee Liang, have retired and I would like to thank them for their great contribution. New members have joined, Dr Jan Wright, Rangimarie Hunia and Emeline Afeaki-Mafile’o, and I thank them for their commitment. I also record my appreciation of the contribution and wisdom of all panel members and the support of the Westpac sustainability team.

Nick Main

Chair



The Westpac NZ Sustainability Advisory Panel is chaired by Nick Main and includes Emeline Afeaki-Mafile'o, Sir Rob Fenwick, Rangimarie Hunia, Sam Johnson, Anne Norman, Phil O'Reilly and Dr Jan Wright.

Nick Main (Chair)

Emeline Afeaki-Mafile’o, MNZM

Sir Rob Fenwick

Rangimarie Hunia

Sam Johnson

Anne Norman, CNZM

Phil O’Reilly, ONZM

Dr Jan Wright

​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.

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

Feedback