ESG focus: ASX heavyweights present their ESG references


This story introduces WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION and other companies. For more information SHARE ANALYSIS: WBC

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ASX Heavyweights presents ESG references

Some of ASX’s large-cap family-owned companies are demonstrating their commitment to environmental, social and governance concerns through strategy integration.

– Large companies are increasingly expected to be transparent about ESG measures
– The integration of ESG as a key strategic priority is increasingly common for companies
-Westpac, ANZ and BHP all provided updates on ESG progress and additional metrics

By Danielle Austin

Corporate Australia is becoming increasingly transparent about its adherence to environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures in response to the growing expectations of customers and shareholders.

Recently, Westpac ((WBC)), ANZ Bank ((ANZ)) and BHP Group ((BHP)) all provided updates on the progress made in achieving ESG targets and how the current strategy of the company integrates ESG measures.

Both banks have demonstrated their commitment to a range of ESG measures, highlighting the work done to encourage women to take up leadership positions and a range of climate goals. ANZ Bank also raised concerns about rising household debt. BHP, meanwhile, emphasized environmental concerns.

A common thread throughout all of the company’s updates was taking a holistic approach, especially in meeting environmental goals. The companies explained how leveraging influence and resources and working with other companies, or supporting clients, would help achieve the goals.


Westpac has a proven track record in the environmental field, but has announced an elevation of climate change to a key strategic priority for the company. The bank reiterated its commitment to sustainable financing, by offering loans linked to sustainable development to support clients’ transition to a low-carbon future. Other actions discussed included:

– Exit any thermal coal exposure in their loan portfolio by 2030
-Assisting existing clients in the oil and gas sector in their transition journey
-Loan only to new clients in the oil and gas sector who have objectives aligned with Paris
-Reduce the carbon intensity of its exposure to electricity production by -28% by 2030

In social and governance spaces, the company is committed to taking key steps to reach 50% women in leadership and improve female retention through pay equity and better parental leave policies.

In addition, the bank recognized the work to be done to improve cultural diversity and Indigenous representation, particularly in leadership.

ANZ Bank

ANZ Bank focused on how incorporating ESG measures into its strategy would create additional value for customers and shareholders.

To demonstrate its commitment, the bank’s update focused on sustainable finance and financial well-being, including the positive impact on household debt, and identifying risk categories in the ESG space, including biodiversity, cyber scams and economic disparities.

The company said it exceeded its goal of women in leadership for fiscal year 21, with women making up about 34.8% of leadership positions.

Faced with climate risk, ANZ has defined the following objectives:

-Encourage bank customers to identify climate risks and opportunities
-Support the electrification of transport logistics chains
-Finance of energy-efficient buildings
-Provide support to industries in transition and help clients develop transition plans
-Reduce emissions produced by banking operations


Emissions reduction targets were already part of BHP Group’s history, but the company has determined that strategic and financial decisions in the future will incorporate climate scenarios. BHP also plans to develop biodiversity strategies and FY30 targets aligned with biodiversity.

Already committed to reducing operational emissions by -30% from FY20 levels by 2030, BHP’s latest update has Australia’s largest company on track to meet its targets. In the shorter term, the company plans to maintain operational emissions in the current fiscal year at or below fiscal year 2017 levels.

The company also announced an update on its emissions reduction investment, bringing its total cost commitment to $ 1 billion by 2025.

Its greenhouse gas emissions targets include reductions in scope 1 emissions (direct emissions or resulting directly from the company’s activity), scope 2 emissions (indirect emissions or emissions generated by the company). purchase of energy such as electricity) and scope 3 emissions (indirect emissions linked to the company’s operational chain, such as those generated by transport and distribution).

BHP has also estimated an expenditure of US $ 2-4 billion to carbonize steel by 2030, working with key partners to reduce Scope 3 emissions.

Other actions to achieve climate goals include:

-A migration to renewable energies and moving away from the use of diesel fuel
-Achieve 50% renewable electricity in Queensland coal and up to 50% renewable electricity in Nickel West
-Development of zero greenhouse gas emission transport trucks

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