CEO's Message

Kia ora, I am proud of the positive progress Westpac is making towards being a sustainable business. Our vision is to ‘help our customers, communities and people to prosper and grow’. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. The business logic behind this is clear: we benefit when our customers and New Zealand thrive.

David McLean

As a bank we want to ensure our impact is positive and that our business is helping solve some of New Zealand’s big social, economic and environmental challenges. Many of these will require innovative approaches to finance and investment, so we have a critical role to play. The areas where we think we can have the greatest impact are financial wellbeing, affordable housing, climate change, diversity and supporting communities, and we have set ourselves some challenging goals.

This year we’ve made good progress on how we manage our own operations: we’ve reduced emissions by 12% and women now hold 50% of leadership roles across Westpac. We are increasingly focused on wider impacts including how we finance organisations and sectors that benefit society and assess funding to areas that could have a negative impact.

We strongly believe clean technology and environmental businesses are long-term growth sectors that will help New Zealand tackle climate change as well as benefit our business commercially. This year we have increased our lending to this sector by 10% to $1.29 billion. We have launched leasing solutions to help our customers invest in energy efficiency and electric vehicles (EVs) and we continue to be a leader in carbon trading. At the same time, we have seen a downward trend in lending to fossil fuels.

We are working to help vulnerable New Zealanders by lending to the community housing sector so it can grow its capacity to support those in need of safe, healthy, affordable housing. We have also ended all business relationships with customers in the payday lending and mobile truck industries.

Finance underpins so many things in society, which is why raising the financial wellbeing of our customers is so important to us. Our Managing Your Money programme is doing this, with over 29,000 New Zealanders experiencing Westpac financial education this year. We also launched CashNav, a mobile app that uses real-time data to help our customers track and manage their spending.

Achieving our sustainability goals will require partnering with others. We’re up for collaboration. We have supported the Middlemore Foundation’s Mana-ā-riki programme which brings together a coalition of providers to reduce inequality and improve educational outcomes in South Auckland and we joined with Air New Zealand and Mercury to get over 30 businesses to commit to EVs making up 30% of their fleet by 2019.

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

External Stakeholder Panel

Nick Main

To assist us on our sustainability journey and to ensure we are sufficiently challenged by representatives of our communities we have established an External Stakeholder Panel.

The panel is chaired by Nick Main and includes Sir Mason Durie, Dr Monique Faleafa, Rob Fenwick, Sam Johnson, Dr Renee Liang, Anne Norman and Phil O'Reilly.

Chair's Message

Westpac has a long record of being a leader in sustainability in the banking industry in New Zealand and overseas. However the expectations of stakeholders and communities are constantly changing: yesterday’s leading practices are today’s entry stakes and are taken as a given. At the same time the issues facing humanity, and the need to move rapidly, have been thrown into sharper focus by global actions such as ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Stakeholder Panel was expanded last year with the specific role of challenging Westpac on its sustainability practices and helping set new goals, ambitions and direction for the next few years. We have met three times in the last year including an intensive workshop day, considered Westpac’s current plan, identified potential new initiatives and participated in discussions with senior Westpac leadership. Our focus has been not just on considering past performance but setting themes for future Westpac strategy. Our belief is that sustainability is not an isolated matter but should be a pervasive mind-set that helps create strategy for the bank. Acting sustainably should be integrated into everything the Bank thinks and does.

The developing focus has been on how Westpac can support the wellbeing of the communities in which it operates, the nature of the bank's role in helping achieve the Paris Agreement goals and which of the Sustainable Development Goals it could play a meaningful role in achieving. Banks have a pervasive influence on society; they can be an important force for good. We are particularly investigating areas where Westpac can have a measureable, positive impact.

These are early days but we are encouraged by the way Westpac's leadership has responded to the challenges we have presented. I am grateful to the members of the Panel for their wisdom, the time they have committed to our work, and their willingness to engage and debate challenging topics. 

We are looking forward to the journey.

Nick Main

Chair

External Stakeholder Panel 

Governance

​In addition to our External Stakeholder Panel our strategy is overseen by our Sustainability Steering Committee, comprised of our CEO, Executive Team and Chief Economist.

Under this we have six working groups chaired by members of our Executive Team and comprised of 10 - 15 employees. Our governance structure helps us to ensure sustainability is overseen at the highest levels of our organisation and embedded throughout our everyday operations.