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Show me the sustainability: Westpac named 2011 Sustainable Business of the Year

Last week it was announced that Westpac New Zealand outperformed its Australian parent with a 41 percent boost in earnings. And perhaps proving that profitability doesn’t have to come at the expense of sustainability, Westpac also cleaned up at last night’s 2011 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards. Westpac was named Sustainable Business of the Year and also took home the People’s Choice and the Trailblazer Large and Corporate Business awards. 

Judges said they were espeically impressed by Westpac’s high level of commitment to sustainability across management levels. The judges were also won over by Westpac's sustainable supply chain code of conduct and application to high risk/high spend suppliers. 

“The company demonstrates a high level commitment to sustainability across management levels,” they said. “It has initiated sustainability initiatives in a number of business areas such as carbon trading, an impulse savings product, financial literacy programmes, recyclable bank cards and communication of sustainability issues to customers.” 

With sustainabiltiy being at the “heart of its culture,”, Westpac New Zealand’s head of brand and community, Suzie Marsden, said: 

“We see it as part of our duty to act responsibly and assist in building a more sustainable and robust economy for at least another 150 years...” 

Senior Sunday Star-Times journalist Rod Oram and Back Benches host Wallace Chapman presented the awards, and the winners in their entirety follow: 

* Emerging Small and Medium Business Award        

Winner: Daisies Early Education & Care Centre         

* Emerging  Large and Corporate Business Award                 

No winner. Judges commendation: Localist  Limited 

* Trailblazer Small and Medium Business Award

Winner: Tahi Estate Ltd        

* Trailblazer Large and Corporate Business Award

Winner: Westpac New Zealand Limited. Judges commendation: SCA Hygiene Australasia – Kawerau Plant 

* Trailblazer Not for Profit Award

Winner: Framework Trust        

* Sustainable Design and Innovation Award        

Winner: Cityhop Cars by the Hour by Cityhop. Judges commendation: Hungry Bin by Low Impact Limited 

* Sustainability Champion Award

Pippa Coom - Grey Lynn Farmers Market, Cycle Action Auckland        

* Social Innovation Award

350 Aotearoa         Kaibosh 

* People’s Choice Award

Westpac New Zealand Limited         

* NZI Sustainable Business of the Year

Westpac New Zealand Limited 

While the news bodes well for Westpac, no busnes is truly wihtout its critics and Westpac is no exception. Bill English last year also questioned the salary paid to Westpac New Zealand chief executive George Frazis, in what had been a tough economic environment. To the year September 30, 2010, Frazis had been paid $5.59 million. 

Meanwhile group KiwisForChange has posted this video about why they belive Westpac is “far from an ethical business”.