Scentre Group (ASX: SCG) released its 2020 Responsible Business Report today highlighting progress against the four pillars of its Sustainable Business Framework – community, people, environment and economic performance.
Scentre Group CEO Peter Allen said: “We take a whole-of-business approach to responsible business to keep us focused on the issues that matter most to us and Our Purpose – creating extraordinary places, connecting and enriching communities.
“Despite the disruption of 2020, we maintained momentum on key initiatives that support our goal to operate as a responsible sustainable business. I’m proud of our team and their ability to keep adapting to the changing conditions. We have been proactive and deliberate in the decisions we made to protect the long-term interests and sustainability of our business.
“Community engagement with our Westfield Local Heroes community grants and recognition program continues to grow with more than 140,000 people voting for our 2020 Heroes. Over the past three years, we have donated $3.62 million to programs that directly benefit local communities.
“Our diversity and inclusion strategy continues to be a key driver of our culture and we’re proud of our inclusion in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second year running as well as continued recognition as an Employer of Choice by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency and Silver status in the Australian Workplace Equality Index Awards.
“In 2020, we improved our performance in key investor surveys including CDP and GRESB, which continues to inform our climate resilience approach and reporting against the Taskforce for Climate Related Financial Disclosures recommendations. We reduced our energy use by 10 per cent year-on-year, of which 4 per cent was continued asset operational efficiency.
“We recognised the cash flow shock for small retailers and supported them through the development of a voluntary Code of Conduct (Code) to navigate the period and guide our commercial arrangements. This was later mandated by the Federal Government and then each state and territory legislated it. As an industry, we have provided more than $2 billion in direct rental relief to our small retail partners, a responsibility no other industry has been asked to bear.
“Delivering a cash surplus of $771 million for the financial year, whilst receiving no financial support from government programs such as JobKeeper, and providing support to our small to medium sized retailers, has been an important outcome for our business and stakeholders.”
Scentre Group’s 2020 Responsible Business highlights:
- All 42 Westfield Living Centres across Australia and New Zealand remained open, every day during the pandemic, supporting community access to products and services and providing opportunities for economic activity.
- Implemented the third consecutive Westfield Local Heroes program, donating a total of $1.26 million to programs that directly benefits local communities. Over the life of the program, Scentre Group has donated $3.62 million.
- Connected more than 590 retail partners with customers at the height of the COVID-19 restrictions through the trial of a drive-through contactless click + collect service called Westfield Direct
- More than 450 million customer visits and maintained high levels of community trust in our health and safety protocols.
- Achieved a COVID-Safe return to our primary workplaces from May 2020.
- Included in the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index for the second year in a row .Improved score to 78.76 per cent, above the global average of 66 per cent.
- Recognised for the fourth consecutive year as WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equity.
- Awarded Silver status at the Australian Workplace Equality Index Awards.
- Announced target to achieve net zero emissions across wholly owned portfolio by 2030. Publicly committed to the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and developed a roadmap to continue to enhance alignment.
- Reduced our energy use by 10 per cent year-on-year, of which 4 per cent was continued asset operational efficiency.
- Moved into the Leadership band of CDP with an improved score of A-.
- Named as a Global Sector Leader for Development in the GRESB survey.
- Supported small to medium sized retail partners through industry development of a voluntary code of conduct, which was later mandated by government. Voluntarily applied the code to NZ SME retail partners.
- Did not receive financial support from the Australian or New Zealand Governments including the JobKeeper program.
- Delivered a cash surplus of $771 million for the 12-month period, with net operating cashflows growing 95.7 per cent in the second half of the year.
- Developed first Modern Slavery Statement to assess and address risks in direct operations and supply chain.