Stakeholder engagement

wesf-stakeholder_bannerWe 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.

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 in 2020 their engagement focused on ethical sourcing and human rights generally as well as the introduction of the reporting requirements of the Australian Modern Slavery Act.

We continue to build relationships with accredited and reputable NGOs.

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

Media

Wesfarmers engages with external media organisations and uses its own media channels to communicate regularly with our stakeholders. ‘Earned’ or independent media is an important avenue for this communication. We work with international, national and local media organisations because we believe it contributes to the transparency and reputation of Wesfarmers. Media commentary and enquiries indicate we are expected to uphold high standards of transparency, integrity, corporate governance and financial and operational performance.

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

Other than financial performance, the focus of media interest in the 2020 financial year centred on our operational and community response to the Australian bushfires and to COVID-19, along with our views on the wider economic impact of these events and on paths to recovery.

Other areas of media interest were our response to climate change, the impact of announced Target store closures on future team member employment and on affected regional towns and how we are continuing to manage IT security risks and protecting customer data privacy.

Government

During the 2020 financial year, we liaised with Federal and State Governments in relation to a range of issues that affect our businesses, including extensively over our and their responses to COVID-19.

The time and resources required to contribute to all Local, State and Federal Government enquiries that we are asked to participate in is significant. We endeavour to contribute in a constructive manner to Government enquiries and balance these requests with other important business requirements.

Suppliers

Wesfarmers is committed to long-term outcomes that benefit shareholders and our suppliers. We recognise 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 challenges facing our businesses as a result of COVID-19, 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 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 2020, we employed approximately 107,000 people. We use multiple channels to listen to our team members, including enterprise social networks such as Workplace and Yammer, periodic divisional team members surveys, discussions with unions, personal contact, our whistle-blower process, our website and via email.

This 2020 financial year, as in previous years, the key messages we received from team members included discussions around professional development and concerns relating to individual circumstances. Divisions act on the feedback they receive 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
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