Our Approach - CommBank Sustainability Report 2014

Sustainability Reporting 2014

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Our approach

Sustainability informs every aspect of the way we do business. Across society, cultures, workplaces and communities we continue to embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in implementing our corporate strategy. We report on our progress to enable all stakeholders to review both the financial and non-financial performance of the Group.

Commonwealth Bank employee in open plan office on a laptop

Who we are

Established in 1911, the Commonwealth Bank Group (the Group) is Australia's leading provider of integrated financial services. With established businesses in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA and the Asia-Pacific region, we have more than 52,000 employees globally who serve more than 14 million customers.

Our products and services include retail banking, premium banking, business banking, institutional banking, funds management, superannuation, insurance and investment.

Our brands include Commonwealth Bank, Colonial First State, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, First State Investments, CommInsure, CommSec, Bankwest, ASB, Sovereign, PT Bank Commonwealth, PT Bank Commonwealth Life and PT First State Investments Indonesia.

We are Australia's best capitalised bank with a strong balance sheet and a 'AA' rating. The Commonwealth Bank brand is the most recognised brand in the Australian financial services industry. Other businesses within the Group include our wealth management business Colonial First State, our online broking service CommSec and our wholly owned subsidiary Bankwest.

The Group has a strong domestic presence with the largest financial services distribution network in the country with the most points of access, offering 1,300 branches and 4,300 ATMs.

Commonwealth Bank Money Box.

Our Group strategy

The Commonwealth Bank Group is a leading financial services organisation globally, built around a simple purpose: to excel at securing and enhancing the financial wellbeing of people, businesses and communities.

It builds on our customer-focused culture and desire to continually improve the delivery of long-term value to customers, shareholders and employees as well as to the wider community.

Our Sustainability Framework
Sustainable Business Practices We embed sustainable business practices across our operations through strong governance, established management systems, responsible procurement and transparent reporting
Responsible Financial Services We take a responsible approach to the provision of financial products and services
Engaged and Talented People We attract, develop and retain a diverse, engaged and talented workforce
Community Contribution and Action We make impactful contributions to our communities through mutually beneficial partnerships
Environmental Stewardship We are proactive in measuring and reducing our own environmental footprint and provide smart solutions to help our customers and employees reduce their own

Transparent reporting

Documenting progress against our Sustainability Framework is about transparency and honesty. It's why we publish our Sustainability Report alongside our Annual Report, thus providing a comprehensive view of both the financial and non-financial performance of the Group.

Additionally, our sustainability reporting is informed by:

  • Our material issues as recommended by the ASX's Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations Third Edition, which require a listed entity to disclose how it manages (or intends to), any material exposure to economic, environmental and social sustainability risks. Our material issues are available on our company website, and our response is articulated throughout this Report.
  • Voluntarily reviewing and implementing guidance provided by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) index. A document providing links or signposts to information relevant to the GRI Index is available here.
  • Being a signatory to the Global Compact, a set of guiding principles covering human rights, labour, environmental and anti-corruption policies.

Stakeholder engagement

Across the Group 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.

During the last year we saw an increase in campaigns by non-government organisations (NGOs). These related mainly to their concerns about:

  • Fossil fuels in Australia.
  • The agriculture sector in developing countries.

NGOs are important in advocating for social change. We respect and acknowledge their concerns. They form part of our wider culture of stakeholder engagement and due diligence associated with any environmental, social and governance risks the Group may face.

For example, the important issue of due diligence around fossil fuel investment was addressed by the Group's Chairman, David Turner, during the 2013 Annual General Meeting. To find out more, view a webcast of the 2013 AGM.

For the most up to date statements by the Group on issues in the media, please see our On the record webpage.