Sustainability Report 2010
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All Westfield centres, whether in full operation or under development, engage with their communities.

Westfield’s Communities Around the World

Every one of Westfield’s 119 shopping centres around the world is an important part of its community: a place where people gather, shop, work and have fun. 

In addition to their primary function as a place to do business and shop, Westfield centres around the world are a natural place for communities to turn to in times of need, for celebration, for services and for information. 

Each Westfield centre engages with its local community in a number of ways. Management teams are in contact with various community groups from a local area which often use their Westfield centre as a place to raise funds or awareness for their particular cause. Centres may provide mall space or advertising space which is increasingly in demand from commercial tenants. They may act as a liaison between a community group and retailers to broaden the reach of, or support a particular program. In others cases centres will host special events and in many cases, make donations to worthy causes.

The development or redevelopment of a shopping centre offers many opportunities to engage with the local communities. Every major project requires an environmental and economic impact assessment, which allows the Group to gauge how a new centre will affect a local community. Community consultation is always undertaken for a new project to inform the local community about the changes that are happening in their area, and to hear their opinions. 

In many cases new or expanded shopping centres come with additional community facilities like childcare services or a library, or a seniors’ centre or a recreational place for young people. Importantly, it is the unique needs of a particular local community that Westfield tries to address, recognising that every community is different.

Despite those differences, there are a number of needs which are common to many communities, and Westfield also looks to engage with them on a broader basis. This may be regional or even national, allowing the collective strength of Westfield centres to provide a greater level of support. 

In Australia, a program supporting children with disabilities and their families was established some years ago to provide funds for therapy, equipment, respite, early intervention and education programs. The program has generated more than $1.1 million for more than 30 different charity partners related to this cause, including Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Northcott Disability Services, Sylvanvale Foundation, Austism Spectrum (Aspect), Down Syndrome NSW, Barnados Australia, Royal Institute of Deaf and Blind Children, Scope, Endeavour Foundation, Montrose Access, Cerebral Palsy League, CARA and Therapy Focus (see case study Westfield Community Program in this report)

In New Zealand, along with centre-specific community support, the national portfolio has for a number of years supported Style Pasifika — a large scale fashion and entertainment program that highlights the distinctive elements of New Zealand’s culture. Since it launched, Style Pasifika has promoted young designers, artists, musicians and dancers and has also provided behind-the-scenes training for stage managers, lighting designers and other technical staging personnel. The program has provided a unique opportunity for the Group — coming to New Zealand as an Australian company in 1998 — to become engaged with the local community on a national basis. Today, Style Pasifika is New Zealand’s premier fashion awards and one of the world’s largest indigenous cultural fashion events. 

The Group also assists a number of other community initiatives on a regional or national basis in New Zealand including Deaf Awareness; the North Shore Hospital Foundation; breast cancer support through the periodic installation of breast screening units for education and awareness at all centres; and the New Zealand Property Education Trust providing a study grant to a recipient who can further their career in the property industry.

In the United States the Group supports a number of community initiatives on a regional or national basis in addition to centre-specific engagement. In March all centres in the US portfolio partnered with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to raise funds and awareness for research, and teams of Westfield staff from each region participated in the MS Walk.

The US portfolio also provided continued support to the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital which is internationally recognised for its research and treatment of children with cancer and other diseases. During the Christmas holiday season, all 55 centres were dedicated to creating awareness of the hospital through in-centre and online promotion.

More than half the US centres supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation granting ‘shopping spree’ wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses. Westfield also provided mall space to the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts throughout the year for their fundraising efforts. Other associations assisted during the year included the Toys for Tots initiative for needy children (supported by around a third of the portfolio); the Special Olympics supported by all centres in the Los Angeles region; and the Girls & Boys Club.

Most US centres are also members of their local chambers of commerce.

In the United Kingdom each centre has established ongoing relationships with its local community and some of the initiatives supported include the Chase Children’s Hospice at The Friary; Demelza Children’s Hospital at Royal Victoria Place; Derby Kids Camp at Westfield Derby; the Mary Stevens Hospice at Merry Hill; and Fashion for Relief at Westfield London.

Each centre in the United Kingdom also provided mall space to community groups and charities to raise funds and awareness.

At Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, significant community engagement has been undertaken and is outlined in case studies 'The Development of Westifield London' and 'Community Grants in East London' respectively.

The Group also maintains a number of long-standing relationships with various organisations across health, education and the arts sectors through its major corporate philanthropy program. These include the Sydney Children’s Hospital, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

 

100% of Westfield operational and development centres undertake community engagement.

 

 

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People

Injuries and Absenteeism 

The safety and welfare of people who work for Westfield, or visit their shopping centres and offices is of primary concern to the Group and there are robust systems in place to minimise the risk of harm and injury and related absenteeism.

Across its global operations Westfield directly employs more than 4,500 people in its shopping centres, construction sites and offices. In each of these locations, there are documented and well-practiced policies and procedures to manage life safety. Westfield staff at any site in any territory are regularly provided with comprehensive safety training that is customised to the potential risks of their respective location and job description. The online system is designed to ensure full compliance, with any non-compliance reported via subsequent levels of management through to the Board Risk Management Committee.

Westfield’s construction division is a key part of the Group’s global operations and distinguishes the organisation from many of its peers, in that it is one of the few shopping centre groups in the world that undertakes its own building and construction ‘in-house’. The demands of constructing shopping centres creates unique challenges and risks, and on-site construction activities are strictly managed in accordance with regulatory guidelines and industry best practice to maximise the safety of all stakeholders. 

In 2010 the number of independent contractors who worked for Westfield for a particular period was almost twice the number of directly employed staff. Contractors are subject to rigorous safety checks and procedures, ensuring that there is a uniform understanding of life safety practices for everyone working at a Westfield site. Given the prevalence of contractors working for Westfield at any one time, the Group has also dedicated significant resources to collaborate with a leading specialist in contractor occupational health and safety to customise an online pre-qualification and safety data recording system that accurately tracks and manages information about external contractors working for Westfield. (see case study Cm3 above right)

There are also many people in Westfield shopping centres who are not under the Group’s direct operational control, including the retailers, their staff and contractors, and the public who come to shop. Westfield makes significant efforts to maintain a safe environment with minimal risk and aims to provide as much information and guidance as possible to allow these groups to appropriately manage their own safety responsibilities. 

In 2010, the Group agreed to establish a range of life safety benchmarks, specifically aligned with its unique business model. This was largely achieved through the refining of the Global Safety Reporting (GSR) system, which can be used to more accurately measure the performance and improvement of Westfield’s key life safety indicators around the world. 

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