Wesfarmers regularly engages in discussions with its stakeholders to help identify and manage our businesses and operations, including positive and negative impacts that our activities may have on stakeholder interests. We also seek to understand stakeholder expectations and how these expectations are changing.
Wesfarmers considers the interests of a cross-section of stakeholders in a variety of ways, determined by the actual or potential impact of our business on their interests.
Shareholders and investment analysts
Wesfarmers engages with and listens to our retail and institutional shareholders through our annual general meeting, at strategy and results briefings, through meetings and events, and in response to ad hoc correspondence. The Wesfarmers share register is managed by Computershare Investor Services Pty Limited.
Wesfarmers is engaged with investors through regular forums and meetings, usually in small face-to-face formats, which makes for more meaningful engagement.
Investor briefings relate to Wesfarmers’ financial results, strategy and operations. These are open to all shareholders to listen to live via public webcasts or delayed through our website and are an opportunity for investment analysts and the largest institutional investors to ask questions on behalf of the wider investment community of the Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and divisional managing directors.
The main issues that shareholders raised during the 2023 financial year related to operating environment, opportunities for growth, individual divisional strategies, progress on the Group’s sustainability agenda, our approach to capital allocation and the Group’s outlook.
In relation to our approach to sustainability, investors have engaged on topics including ethical sourcing, circular economy, climate resilience, cyber security and corporate governance. These topics are discussed in investor briefings and at our annual general meeting.
As at June 2023, Wesfarmers employed approximately 120,000 people. Wesfarmers use multiple channels to listen to and communicate with team members, including enterprise social networks such as Workplace and Yammer, periodic divisional team members surveys, personal contact including through yarning circles, a whistleblower process, the website and via email. Wesfarmers maintains contact with key unions representing team members.
As in previous years, during the 2023 financial year the Group received reports related to various issues including alleged breaches of the Wesfarmers Code of Conduct and items related to professional development and individual work-related grievances. The Group and divisions act on the feedback they receive and individual concerns are investigated and addressed.
Whistleblower reports are provided to our highest governance body, the Board Audit and Risk Committee annually, with processes in place to escalate whistleblower issues to the Board if required.
Wesfarmers’ customers provide regular feedback to team members in our businesses and make contact through emails, letters, websites, telephone calls and in person. Customer feedback received by email is monitored every working day and addressed as soon as possible by the area of the Group that is best positioned to respond.
Wesfarmers is committed to long-term outcomes that benefit shareholders and our suppliers. We recognise robust negotiations are part of normal and acceptable business practice and contribute to innovation, efficiency and the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of all parties.
The divisions have close working relationships with their suppliers. They all maintain ethical sourcing policies and review systems for higher-risk suppliers. Team members are often members of supplier bodies and they recognise suppliers for positive actions and contributions through awards and meet with suppliers regularly and as requested.
During the 2023 financial year, Wesfarmers liaised with the federal and state governments on a range of issues that affect our businesses, including industrial relations, industry policy, climate change and modern slavery.
Significant time and resources are committed to support government enquiries and reviews, either directly or through submissions made by peak bodies. We endeavour to contribute in a constructive manner where issues are relevant to our business.
Wesfarmers engages with external media organisations and uses its own media channels to communicate regularly with 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 provides transparency and contributes to Wesfarmers’ reputation. During the year, media commentary and enquiries focused on sustainability, transparency, integrity, corporate governance coupled with a longstanding focus on 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 respond appropriately, guided by what is in the best interests of our company and businesses. The Chairman, Group Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and Executive General Manager of Corporate Affairs, along with divisional managing directors are available for other media interviews on request.
The focus of media interest in the 2023 financial year was around financial performance and the strategies of our new divisions. Other areas of growing media interest included our response to climate change, domestic and international economic conditions and our actions supporting reconciliation in Australia.
Wesfarmers’ divisions work collaboratively with diverse non-government organisations (NGOs) and experts on specific issues or contexts for a range of projects.
We continue to build relationships with accredited and reputable NGOs, industry associations and subject matter experts. NGOs engage with the Group on issues such as human rights, labour rights, environment and public policy. In 2023, their engagement focused on ethical sourcing, climate change, reconciliation and inclusion, and extended to areas of policy and legal reform.
We work with a range of industry associations appropriate for our operations, including the Business Council of Australia, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, the Carbon Market Institute, Chemistry Australia (formerly Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association), the National Retail Association, the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Australian Hydrogen Council, Australian Energy Transition Initiative, and the Global Home Improvement Network. While we work with these organisations, we formulate our own position on diverse issues affecting our business that may not always align with the positions adopted by these organisations.
Wesfarmers’ divisions and corporate teams have also participated in industry forums, such as the Climate Leaders Coalition and the UNGC working groups.
We welcome your feedback on our sustainability performance or reporting.
GRI 2-12, GRI 2-16, GRI 2-28, GRI 2-29, GRI 3-3