Welcome to the 2013 Wesfarmers Sustainability Report. This is the sixteenth year that we have produced a report to let our stakeholders know what is important to us, how we do business and how we are performing.
The sustainability of our business is what I spend my time thinking about: what we are doing today to make sure that we are able to continue creating value for our shareholders and other stakeholders five, 10 and 15 years from now.
There are considerable efforts and initiatives throughout the Group to continue to improve stakeholder engagement and, very importantly, to support and contribute to the advancement and development of our customers, suppliers and the communities in which we operate, while caring for the environment.
We set high expectations for ourselves in this area and there is always room to improve. We will continue to focus on improving stakeholder management, consistent with our Group-wide philosophy of best practice management and continuous improvement, to drive the delivery of satisfactory returns to shareholders, and the creation of value for all our stakeholders.
The role of companies is changing. Communities increasingly expect businesses like ours to take into account the interests of a wide group of stakeholders and to think broadly about our responsibilities and the impact we have, both by our direct actions, and through our supply chain. By making good long-term decisions, we earn the privilege of playing an important role in the communities of Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
Through our diverse range of businesses, we touch the lives of a large number of people in the communities in which we operate, in many different ways. Our businesses benefit from vibrant, healthy and prosperous communities, which means that we think broadly about our role and our business decisions.
Our businesses are all about our people.
We continue to work to ensure our people are safe, we nurture their health and development and we celebrate their diversity. Ultimately, it is our workforce that creates value and we want our workforce to be proud to be part of Wesfarmers. We have worked hard this year on the issue of safety, which is reflected in our improved safety performance.
This year, relationships with both our Australian and global suppliers have received increased media attention. The sustainability of our supply chain is a very important issue for us, whether it be Australian dairy farmers,
or Bangladeshi textile workers.
In Australia, Coles is working to develop longer-term agreements with its suppliers, creating more certainty and better planning and efficiency. Ultimately, consumers and the economy benefit from a more efficient supply chain through lower prices.
All our businesses aim to provide better value to our customers, but not at the cost of human rights. We continue to improve our processes for implementing our ethical sourcing policies, to do our best to ensure that our suppliers are operating to a standard that we and our customers expect.
Climate change presents a very real risk, and some opportunities, to our businesses. We understand that businesses like ours have an important role to play in climate change mitigation, by doing what we can to minimise our impact and maximise our resource efficiency. Regardless of government policy in relation to carbon emissions, we will continue to increase our energy efficiency and reduce the carbon intensity of our businesses where possible.
Sustainability will continue to be at the heart of what we do across the Group. As we approach Wesfarmers’ centenary in 2014, we are thinking about how we can ensure that Wesfarmers continues to create value into the future. We anticipate that the expectations of our stakeholders will only increase, whether in relation to our impact on climate change, our interactions with our supply chain or how we are contributing to the communities in which we operate. In 2014, at a Group level, we will focus on improving how we prioritise and address sustainability issues, and on supporting each of our divisions to better meet the needs of their own stakeholders.
I hope that the information in this report provides you with a better understanding of how we do business, and how we have performed this year for our broad stakeholder group. Please use the feedback form at the back of the report to let us know what you think and how we could improve our reporting in future years.
Richard Goyder AO, Managing Director