Sustainability at Wesfarmers
Our diverse business operations impact their communities and environment in many ways. Creating value over the long term requires that we take into account the impact we have on our stakeholders.
We aim to operate our businesses in accordance with our 10 community and environmental impact principles relating to five areas of people, sourcing, community, environment and governance. These principles have been refined in the last year, based on the issues that are most material to the Wesfarmers Group and cover our key sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities. To learn more about how we identified which issues to report against, you can read more about our materiality process.
Managing our sustainability issues
Each of our divisions manages its own material sustainability issues and a report summarising sustainability issues is submitted to the Wesfarmers Board at most meetings. Our annual risk process considers all risks to our businesses, including those categorised as sustainability risks.
Recent trends in sustainability have emphasised the importance of how we source our products, as well as how we manage our greenhouse gas emissions and our corporate governance approach. Safety continues to be a high priority for all our businesses. Management of these issues is essential for long term value creation and to maintain our competitive position. While we do not set targets at a Group level, due to the diversity of our businesses, over the coming years, we will continue to focus on improving safety for our employees and customers, the ethical sourcing of our products and our energy efficiency, as well as all the issues covered by our ten community and environmental impact principles.
Our sustainability reporting
For 17 years, we have published an annual sustainability report, informing shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers and the broader public about how we manage our impact on the community and the environment.
This year we have moved our sustainability report online. This website covers all the material previously found in our hard copy sustainability report, structured by our ten community and environmental impact principles. To view sustainability reports and related links from previous years, click here.
This online report covers all businesses fully-owned or operationally managed by Wesfarmers, but does not include joint ventures where Wesfarmers does not have operational control, unless otherwise specified. It covers the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014 and will be renewed annually. Our previous sustainability report was released in November 2013 and is available here. The only significant changes to the Wesfarmers structure or ownership during the year were the sale of the Insurance division and the sale of the 40 per cent interest in Air Liquide WA in our Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers division.
It is independently audited by Ernst & Young (EY). For more information on EY's assurance click here. In relation to our community contributions, Coles, Target, Resources, Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers and Wesfarmers corporate office are members of the London Benchmarking Group (LBG). LBG assures direct community contributions for those divisions. The remaining divisions' direct contributions and all divisions' indirect contributions are assured by EY.
This online report has been assessed against the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Guidelines 3 by GRI and assessed to be at the B+ level. The GRI statement can be viewed here and the GRI Content Index, which provides a guide to where the relevant GRI Aspects are addressed, can be viewed here.
If you want to find out more about a specific Wesfarmers business, please navigate to it using the 'Our divisions' tab at the top of this page above or refer to its website.
This year we are proud of our progress in the following areas:
We worked hard on improving safety across the Group, which is reflected in reductions in workers' compensation claims and the frequency of injuries.
We continued to work towards making our workplaces more diverse, with 29 per cent of all roles at manager level and above now held by women. We also had steady growth in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team membership, with more than 300 new starters this year in Coles alone.
We have increasingly focused on improving the ethical sourcing of our products, including strengthening our supply chain and improving its transparency, especially in Bangladesh, where our discount department store divisions are working closely with apparel suppliers.
We continued to make a significant contribution to the communities where we operate through supporting non-profit organisations in a range of areas.
With a diverse range of autonomous businesses, setting targets at a Group level is impractical and, consistent with all performance metrics, we assess performance on a divisional level. Each business sets its own internal targets appropriate to its operations.
This year, continuing to reduce our energy use has been challenging, in light of business expansions in many divisions and significant improvements to energy efficiency and emissions reductions that have been made in previous years. We will continue to seek improvements to our energy efficiency, which provides a cost benefit as well as an environmental benefit.
Ethical sourcing is another area of ongoing attention. Better supply chain visibility remains a focus. Progress has been made during the year with our primary suppliers in the garment manufacturing industry. Our retail divisions continue to seek appropriate ways to ensure that workers' rights are protected, without creating unrealistic or ineffective obligations for suppliers. This issue will continue to evolve over time and our businesses will continue to refine and adapt their approach.
Sustainability Overview 2014
While our online report covers all aspects of our business for the financial year ended 30 June 2014, our printed overview is also available as a PDF to download. This printed overview launches our ten new community and environmental impact principles and provides an overview of how we have performed against them this year.