WESFARMERS SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2018

Stakeholder engagement

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We regularly and openly listen to our stakeholders to understand their expectations and how these might change. We welcome your feedback on our sustainability performance or reporting.

At a Group level, Wesfarmers considers the interests of a wide cross-section of stakeholders in a variety of ways, determined by the actual or potential impact of our business on their interests.

Every year, as part of our reporting process, we conduct a stakeholder-engagement survey to continually improve our communication on sustainability related issues. Respondents identified the following issues as areas of interest, which are addressed in our disclosures:

 

  • Climate change resilience
  • Supplier relationships
  • Ethical sourcing
  • Human rights
  • Women in leadership
  • Packaging
  • Indigenous engagement
  • Waste management
  • Communication with stakeholder groups

Non-government organisations

Our divisions work collaboratively with non-government organisations (NGOs) on a range of projects. NGOs engage with us on issues such as human and labour rights and environment and public policy, and this year their engagement focused on ethical sourcing and human rights generally as well as the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia.

We continue to build relationships with accredited and reputable NGOs, such as Greening Australia and WWF Australia.

We work with a range of industry associations appropriate for our operations including the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, the Carbon Market Institute, the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association, the National Retail Association, the Global Home Improvement Network and the Green Building Council of Australia.

Media

Media is an important avenue for communication with our stakeholders. We work with international, national and local media organisations because we believe it contributes to the transparency and reputation of Wesfarmers. Media commentary and inquiries indicate we are expected to uphold high standards of transparency, integrity, corporate governance and financial and operational performance. 

Our engagement with media includes holding media conferences to coincide with financial results announcements and other major events as appropriate. Our corporate affairs department considers all media inquiries and responds appropriately, guided by what is in the best interests of our company. The Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and Chairman are also available for other media interviews on request.

Other than financial performance, the main focus of media interest this year centred around the repositioning of the Wesfarmers portfolio such as the demerger of Coles and our acquisitions.

The Media continued their interest in operational issues such as the continued phasing out of single-use plastic bags, the impact of potential Target stores closures in regional areas and how we are continuing to manage cyber security risks and protecting customer data privacy.

Government

During the year, we liaised with Federal and State Governments in relation to a range of issues that affect our businesses. The time and resources required to contribute to all Local, State and Federal Government inquiries that we are asked to participate in is significant. We endeavour to contribute in a constructive manner to Government inquiries and balance these requests with other important business requirements.

Suppliers

Wesfarmers is committed to long-term outcomes that benefit both shareholders and our suppliers. We recognise that robust negotiations are a part of normal and acceptable business practice and contribute to innovation, efficiency and the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of all parties.

Our divisions have close working relationships with their suppliers. They also have ethical sourcing audit and review systems for higher-risk suppliers. Our businesses are members of supplier bodies, recognise suppliers through awards and meet with suppliers regularly and as requested.

Shareholders

We listen to our shareholders throughout the year. We engage with our retail shareholders through regular shareholder communications, at our annual general meeting, briefings to retail broker networks and respond to ad hoc correspondence. The Wesfarmers share register is managed by Computershare Investor Services Pty Limited. We listen to our institutional investors at results announcements, strategy and operational briefings, post-result road shows and other ad hoc meetings.

We hold investor briefings each year relating to Wesfarmers’ half- and full-year results. These are open to all shareholders to listen to live or delayed via public webcasts and for investment analysts to ask questions. Analysts can ask questions of the Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer and divisional Managing Directors.

The main issues that shareholders raised this year related to the competitive challenges facing our businesses, opportunities for growth, proposed acquisitions and portfolio activity, our approach to capital allocation and the Group's outlook.

Our investors are also interested in understanding our approach to sustainability including ethical sourcing, supplier relationships, climate change resilience and broader corporate governance. These topics are discussed in investor briefings and at our annual general meeting.

Customers

Our customers provide regular feedback to team members in our businesses and also contact us through emails, letters, websites, telephone calls and in person throughout the year. Customer feedback received directly via email is monitored every working day and passed on as soon as possible to the area of the Group which is best positioned to respond.

Team members

As at June 2019, we employed around 105,000 people. We have a number of channels which we use to listen to our team members, including periodic divisional team members surveys, discussions with unions, personal contact, our whistle-blower process, our website and via email.

This year, as in previous years, the key messages we have received from team members include discussions around professional development and concerns relating to individual circumstances. Divisions act on the feedback they receive in team members surveys and individual concerns are investigated and addressed. Our whistle-blower process is reported to our Audit and Risk Committee annually and serious matters identified are raised with the Board on a timely basis.

 

GRI 102-13, GRI 102-21, GRI 102-33, GRI 102-40, GRI 102-42, GRI 102-43, GRI 102-44, GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3