Today, we released our 2018 Sustainability Report.
Our CEO, Peter Allen, reflects on our key highlights and achievements for the year.
Scentre Group’s purpose has been constant since our company was established in 2014, guiding our culture and decision-making as we have grown our business: creating extraordinary places, connecting and enriching communities.
As the owner and operator of 41 Westfield living centres across Australia and New Zealand, we are conscious of delivering on our purpose with a responsible business mindset and approach. This is supported by our DNA — the values that underpin our organisation.
Our Sustainable Business Framework includes four focus areas: our community, our people, our environmental impact and our economic performance. It encapsulates how we create a long-term sustainable business that satisfies the needs of stakeholders, including our employees, securityholders, retail partners, suppliers, communities and customers.
Whilst we have been delivering to internal targets for our people and environmental impact since we were established, this report marks the first year we have externally communicated targets for these focus areas. This reflects our efforts to be more transparent and create awareness of what we have achieved to date and clarity on our future priorities. In 2018, we achieved our target to reduce emissions intensity (based on Gross Lettable Area or GLA) by 25 per cent across our Australian operations ahead of our target year of 2025. We have updated this target to reduce emissions intensity by 35 per cent by 2025 portfolio-wide compared with our 2009 baseline.
During 2018, we continued to rise to the challenge of meeting customers’ needs against the backdrop of a dynamic retail sector and ever-changing expectations. Advocacy for the experience we provide in our living centres has improved significantly, demonstrating that our focus on listening and responding to customers is delivering results.
One of the strengths of our business is our vertical integration. We are able to design, build, operate and market our centres with the future requirements of our customers in mind. This end-to-end approach also reflects the way we manage risks. ‘People Protecting People’ is embedded into our culture and encapsulates how each of our teams takes responsibility and accountability for safety. I am proud of our teams in Western Australia and Queensland who were acknowledged with awards from their respective work safety authorities.
Westfield Local Heroes was launched in 2018 to shine a light on the exceptional contribution many individuals make to the social fabric of our communities. Through this $1.17m community recognition and grants program, we supported 117 individuals representing diverse and valuable organisations in individual communities.
Our aspiration to be ‘the place where talent thrives’ continues to drive strong Employee Engagement and retention, and our targets are focussed on maintaining this leadership position. We were proudly acknowledged by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality. We have built high levels of Employee Engagement and our Diversity and Inclusion strategy is gaining momentum across our company, as more leaders complete our inclusive management program and employees voluntarily engage in the activities of our working groups.
On a personal note, I have continued to participate in initiatives that focus on leadership engagement to support gender equality through my role as a Male Champion of Change in the property industry. Within our company, I’m pleased to report we have no pay gap for like roles by gender and females represent 41 per cent of all people managers and 26.5 per cent at senior executive level.
We reduced electricity usage across our living centre portfolio by 4.1 per cent during 2018. There are many contributing factors to this result but the most important is our people’s behaviour and local decisions to ensure our assets perform more efficiently. We have continued to invest in solar energy across our portfolio and now have a generation capacity of nine Gigawatt hours (GWh) per year.
This year, we opened more than $1.1 billion worth of development works across four Australian states, creating an estimated 15,000 jobs in construction and 1,400 permanent retail roles. A key highlight was the opening of our first greenfield centre — Westfield Coomera — on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
For 2019 and beyond, I know there is more we can do. I am excited about our company’s ability to remain focussed on the future, continuing to adapt to what our customers want and ensuring our centres continue to play an essential role in our customers’ lives and their communities.