Ms Tessa Price, ANZ Bank’s Regional Executive, Pacific Islands.
Banks are among the biggest businesses in existence, certainly at the scale of businesses in the Pacific. Thus, the way banks run their own business and their investment choices has a great impact on environmental and social sustainability. The Pacific Green Business Centre wants to explore further this role of banks in sustainability. We start with this interview with Ms Tessa Price, ANZ Bank’s Regional Executive for Pacific Islands. With her 18 years experience across major financial institutions, Ms Price shared her views on the bank’s role in the sustainability agenda.
Q1. What does sustainability mean to ANZ and how does this translate in the bank’s activities?
Environmental sustainability is important to us as individuals and for the future of our business. That’s why we are committed to supporting household, business and financial practices that improve environmental sustainability. ANZ strongly believes in managing our business in a sustainable manner. We must be mindful of our impact on our environment, manage our resources carefully and play our role as responsible corporate citizens. Sustainability at ANZ is about ensuring our business is managed to take account of social, environmental and economic risks and opportunities. By taking these factors into consideration across all areas of our business, we can create and preserve value for customers, shareholders, our people, the environment and the communities in which we operate. For instance, we are continuously looking at ways of making our energy usage more efficient across our branch network. We are very proud that 30% of our power usage at our operations centre in Kalabu, Fiji, is now via solar energy, and we’re saving over 48,000lts of diesel every year – that’s approximately 2900 trees! Sustainability for us is also about ensuring our business decisions, products and services to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals as well. At a Group level, ANZ has committed to bold targets to support our customers to transition to a low carbon economy, including increased funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change adaptation measures.
Q2. How does ANZ reflect its corporate social responsibility in the Pacific?
We take pride in focusing our staff volunteer efforts on worthy local causes that support environmental sustainability. Each staff member has a paid volunteer leave day they’re encouraged to take every year. To put this into context, last year our staff clocked over 4000 volunteer hours in Fiji, and this year we’re wanting to push that over 5000 hours. Across the Pacific, our teams get involved in grassroots activities such as mangrove rehabilitation and coastal reinforcement where the effects of climate change have eroded village coastlines. ANZ’s formal partnerships with the likes of WWF Pacific and Live & Learn Pacific have greatly helped in facilitating these important local activities. Just recently ANZ held a huge foreshore clean-up in Suva in partnership with other local businesses and ministries. ANZ teams held similar clean-ups in Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Timor-Leste, Guam, Cook Islands and Samoa. These sorts of activities will continue across the Pacific on a regular basis, and our staff are really passionate about getting involved.
Q3. Do you see a role for ANZ in raising green finance in the Pacific?
We’ve been in the Pacific for a long time – through thick and thin for over 137 years, and we are committed to our customers, communities and people here. We also have the most far-reaching banking network across the region with a presence in 12 Pacific countries. Earlier this year ANZ Group launched and priced its first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) bond in the European wholesale debt capital markets, raising €750 million to fund ANZ loans and expenditures that directly promote nine of the United Nations’ 17 SDGs. Finally, we were very proud to support Fiji’s bold initiative last year to become the first emerging market to issue a sovereign green bond to support climate change.
Note: If you enjoyed reading this Exec Interview you may also enjoy reading our other previous interviews. You can find them here.