As one of Australia's largest organisations with 15 million customers and more than 51,000 employees, we have a responsibility to speak up on matters of importance to the nation, our people and our customers. Adding our economic and policy knowledge to the national public policy debate increases the likelihood of good policy outcomes, which help to secure and enhance the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities. In 2016 areas of focus included innovation, skills and the foundations for growth.

We recently joined 10 other community and industry organisations in making a Statement of Commitment to a national Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP). The FIAP is an extension of many initiatives we already have in place to help more Australians become active participants in the financial system. And we continue to engage with Government in a constructive dialogue on issues covering the financial services industry and economic and social issues generally.

Advocating for public policies that secure and enhance the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities

We recently joined 10 other ‘trailblazer’ community and industry organisations in making a Statement of Commitment to a national Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) program to help people access affordable, appropriate financial resources. The FIAP is an extension of many initiatives the Group already has in place, such as programs directed at women's economic security, Indigenous communities and people with a disability, to help more Australians become active participants in the financial system.

The cross sectoral approach of the FIAP program places Australia in a global leadership role with regards to the international commitments of the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan (GPFI). As part of the program, each trailblazer will develop a plan identifying measurable actions to improve financial resilience for its customers or clients. The program has a particular focus on women, as increased financial inclusion is linked to improved gender equality and stronger outcomes for women and their children. Developing a FIAP aligns with our vision and demonstrates our values in action, in guiding our business practices and decision making processes.

The long term outcome of FIAPs would see three million people that are experiencing financial exclusion, in control of their finances and with improved capability and confidence. By connecting and collaborating across sectors and industries we can remove the barriers for inclusion and promote economic wellbeing.

Image of hands shaking with a dollar sign representing a commitment to a Financial Inclusion Action Plan

Committed to a Financial Inclusion Action Plan

Gender equality in financial education

As an example of the types of initiatives we will drive as part of our FIAP, we recently joined together with advocacy organisation Our Watch to address the connection between gendered financial inequality and violence against women by reviewing the Bank‘s award-winning Start Smart program.

In 2016, we commissioned a review focusing specifically on how the financial education program effectively promotes gender equality and how it could encourage financial independence and security for young women. We are the first financial institution in Australia to apply the learnings from Our Watch’s world-first ‘Change the Story’ framework to our financial education program.

Contributing to debate on economic and social progress and consumer concerns

In October 2015 the Federal Government announced its response to the Financial System Inquiry (FSI), accepting largely all of the Inquiry’s recommendations across the areas of strength and resilience; superannuation; innovation; consumer outcomes and regulatory capability. The Government found that Australia’s financial system was strong, stable and well-regulated and that an efficient financial system was central to delivering prosperity. The Government has initiated processes to implement the resulting reforms, in consultation with industry. Commonwealth Bank welcomed the strong focus on innovation in the Government’s response, with the Treasurer establishing an advisory group on developments in innovation in the financial sector, to which CBA Group Executive Institutional Banking and Markets Kelly Bayer Rosmarin was appointed. Commonwealth Bank was closely involved through the full process of government consultation and engagement through the FSI.

In April 2016, Commonwealth Bank, along with other Australian banks, announced a six point plan of measures to promote consumer protection, increase transparency and accountability, and build trust in banks. The plan, announced by the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA), will address consumer concerns about remuneration, the protection of whistle-blowers, the handling of customer complaints and dealing with poor conduct within the Australian banking sector. The industry has appointed former Commonwealth Auditor-General Ian McPhee as independent expert to oversee progress under the initiatives. McPhee will report periodically on progress and the extent to which the reform plan is meeting its aims.

Image of a group of people in silhouette representing a continued focus on supplier diversity

Continued to focus on Supplier Diversity

Using our influence to enhance environmental, social and economic outcomes in our supply chain

As one of Australia's largest organisations we purchase a wide range of products and services in the course of our everyday business, from catering and vehicles to computers and stationery. We need to know that our suppliers, and their suppliers in turn, are acting with integrity.

Sustainable supply chain management

In conducting our day-to-day business, we expect our people to:

  • Comply with laws and regulations
  • Act in a socially responsible and ethical way
  • Value and respect people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives
  • Carry out robust corporate governance
  • Have a proactive focus on risk awareness and management
  • Manage environmental impacts
  • Act responsibly to safeguard the Group, employees, customers, brand, reputation, assets and information.

We expect that our suppliers will adhere to these same standards. Our Supplier Code of Conduct clarifies and reinforces the social, ethical and environmental criteria we expect our suppliers to meet, along with their own suppliers.

Corporate responsibility compliance

We manage corporate responsibility compliance throughout its primary and secondary supply chain.

As an international organisation we engage suppliers both onshore and offshore, including suppliers in emerging markets. Our preference is to engage suppliers with internationally-recognised certification such as ICTI, BSCI or SA8000. Additionally, for many of the Group's offshore suppliers our Hong Kong based International Procurement Office (IPO) conducts Workplace Conditions Assessments to ascertain whether potential suppliers' labour conditions, management systems and operational environments align to the Group's Supplier Code of Conduct.

Building diversity into our supply chain

As a major purchaser of products and services, we are in a position to make a positive impact by supporting suppliers that reflect diversity and a wide range of perspectives and capabilities. As part of our Supplier Diversity Strategy, we encourage our people to engage with suppliers that are Indigenous-owned, women-owned or led, disability enterprises and social enterprises whenever possible.

In 2015, a 'Supplier Diversity' section was launched on our intranet to help our people better understand how to engage Indigenous-owned and women-led suppliers. Capability uplift workshops were also held for our procurement specialists, and supplier diversity training is provided to all new procurement staff.

Indigenous businesses

We use our purchasing power to deliver economic benefits to Indigenous communities by supporting Indigenous owned and led businesses. Since 2009, we have used certified Indigenous-owned suppliers for a wide range of products and services such as telecommunication services, photography, printing, catering, office supplies and cultural training. We also participate in the Business Council of Australia's Indigenous Network, sharing successes and collectively troubleshooting barriers we face.

Women-led businesses

We support women-led and owned businesses through Women in Focus. In the 2016 financial year we established and launched an internal directory of women-led businesses as part of our International Women's Day activities. This tool is intended for procurement specialists to invite relevant and capable businesses to be included in Group tenders when we seek to source products and services for use in our own supply chain.

Our Chief Executive Officer, Ian Narev, is a member of the Male Champions of Change (MCC), a coalition of Australia's most powerful men who use their collective influence to improve gender equality in business and the community. As part of the work with MCC, the Group participates in the Supplier Multiplier initiative which aims to use the combined purchasing power of the MCC organisations to affect improvement in gender equality.