Our Corporate Responsibility Strategy

Group Strategy

Our customer-focused strategy is supported by four key priorities to enhance business performance and future growth – People, Technology, Strength and Productivity.

Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2016-2018

In 2014 we reflected on how we could better help secure and enhance the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate. The result was our 2016-2018 Corporate Responsibility Strategy which we are now in the process of implementing.

For us, corporate responsibility is about securing the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate guided by a number of key principles:

  • Transparency - improving the transparency of business decisions by publicly reporting on progress; and actively engaging with our customers, employees and the communities in which we operate.
  • Balance - where necessary, explaining our business decisions in terms of the trade-offs we have considered.
  • Focus - developing and implementing strategies that strengthen our social impact, while supporting our core business.

In the 2016 financial year we further mapped out our corporate responsibility priorities and as a result, identified the need to specifically call out programs of work related to our employees and their contribution to communities.

Our Corporate Responsibility Strategy addresses our key material issues across seven focus areas:

Our role in society

We strive to make a positive contribution beyond our core business through programs and initiatives that allow us to:

  • Invest in education and skills, now and for the future
  • Lead and foster innovation to enhance the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities

Our people

We are committed to creating an environment where our people can do their best work every day, through programs and initiatives that enable us to:

  • Treat all people with respect and fairness
  • Create opportunities for our people to contribute to their communities

The way we do business

We work to continually improve our operations. We draw on our strong ethics and values through programs and initiatives that let us:

  • Make transparent and balanced decisions
  • Use our influence to enhance environmental, social and economic outcomes, in our supply chain and through advocacy for public policies that enhance financial wellbeing
  • Improve the environmental efficiency of our operations

Just as the world around us is not static, neither is our approach to corporate responsibility. Our Corporate Responsibility Strategy and initiatives will evolve as we continue to engage with a broad and diverse range of stakeholders.

Across the business we have a range of mechanisms for capturing and actioning the views of stakeholders, from customer feedback systems, to staff engagement surveys and regular meetings with interest groups such as NGOs.

  • Image of a wheel and spoke representing: Stakeholder input

    Stakeholder input

  • Image of two people talking with speech bubbles representing: Customer feedback systems

    Customer feedback systems

  • Image of a clipboard with a checklist representing: Staff engagement surveys

    Staff engagement surveys

  • Image of two hands holding a globe representing: Regular meetings with NGOs

    Regular meetings with NGOs

During the 2016 financial year, as part of the development of our Human Rights Position Statement, we engaged with a range of civil society organisations.

We also worked with our community partner Social Ventures Australia to co-create the Learning Impact Fund. The fund evaluates education programs in Australia to raise the academic achievement of children and young adults and improve access to the existing evidence base.

And in our Innovation Labs we engaged with more than 2,400 businesses, introducing them to our innovation process, allowing them to explore our latest products and providing the tools to work together to create the next generation of products.

Corporate Responsibility Strategy


Corporate Responsibility Strategy

Our 2016-2018 Corporate Responsibility Strategy is the Group's roadmap to secure and enhance the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate, through the way we do business and our role in society.

Materiality Matrix

Our Corporate Responsibility Strategy addresses our key material issues and has three key pillars:

  • Our role in society
  • Our people
  • The way we do business
Materiality Matrix

As part of our strategic planning process, we regularly revisit our material issues list to ensure we are responding to emerging trends and changing stakeholder expectations.

Our current material issues list was developed as part of designing our Corporate Responsibility Strategy. To develop our list, we:

  • Engaged more than 300 internal stakeholders to get their views
  • Interviewed 30 organisations with leading corporate responsibility programs
  • Conducted research based on questions asked by investors and sustainability measurement firms
  • Looked at the sustainability reporting standards tailored for financial services such as Global Reporting Initiative and the Sustainability Accounting Standard Board
  • Looked at the material issues on which our peers publicly report.

Once we had a preliminary list of material issues, we gathered a cross-organisational leadership team to consolidate the list of issues that are material to our business.


Industry mover on the


world index

The G100 is the global index of the world's most sustainable corporations. In 2016, we ranked 4th, making us the number one Australian company and the number one bank in the world in the G100.

How we measure our progress

Demonstrating our progress and commitment to corporate responsibility is increasingly important not only for our own people and community partners, but also for the Group's customers, shareholders and investors. That's why we benchmark our progress against a number of leading global sustainability indices and surveys.

Image of logos of awards won by Commonwealth Bank of Australia

How we report our progress

We will publicly report our progress against our Corporate Responsibility Strategy 2016 - 2018 every year in our Corporate Responsibility Report, released alongside our Annual Report, to provide a comprehensive view of both our non-financial and financial performance.

Our reporting is organised and presented in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Framework using the 'Core' option. A document providing links or signposts to information relevant to the GRI Index is available here.

We are also a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and committed to communicating our progress on integrating the Global Compact principles covering human rights, labour, environmental and anti-corruption matters through our annual Corporate Responsibility Report. And we actively consider the guidance provided on key developments such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to evolve and refine our approach to Corporate Responsibility.

In the 2016 financial year, as a first step in understanding and responding to the SDGs, we have mapped our existing programs of work to the goals, available here. In future years we will continue to review our strategy and programs of work in light of the SDGs and build on how we report.

We will continue to review and implement the guidance provided through both the GRI and the UNGC.

In addition, other brands within the CBA Group have started to explore their own corporate responsibility reporting, for example Sovereign, our New Zealand based life insurance company, produces standalone reports against the UNGC PRINCIPLES