Aussie Banks Touting Sustainability, Community

From The Australian, news that two top bank executives are pushing greener business practices as a “new approach” to bigger profits:

The heads of two of Australia’s big four banks have unveiled their vision for caring, sharing companies that would measure their success in community respect as well as profits.

In a reversal of the profit-obsessed “bastard bank” philosophy of the 1990s, the heads of Westpac and ANZ said banks needed to focus on sustainability, environmental issues and caring for their staff and customers.

Of course, the added benefit is that the new approach could mean even bigger bank profits.

In a speech to stock analysts in Sydney [today], Westpac boss David Morgan said the bank had focused on lowering electricity use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing “switched-on” employees, lowering staff turnover and fostering a healthy engagement with the community.

Several interesting points here. First, these execs. are touting a “doing well by doing good” philosophy of business: not only is it right to do business in greener and more “people-friendly” ways, but it’s also a way to increase revenue and profits. Secondly, they’re recognizing that sustainability is a broad concept with environmental and social implications: ultimately, we want to protect the natural environment to improve the quality of human life. I suppose one of things that continues to amaze and delight me about sustainability is its simplicity; of course, that makes the slow pace towards it that much more frustrating, too… Still, good to see that it’s sinking in here and there.

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