How we respond to natural disasters
Our stakeholders have told us that we have an important role to play in helping our customers and communities manage and recover from natural disasters.
We understand that natural disasters can have severe consequences for individuals, businesses and local communities.
Our Disaster Relief and Recovery Policy aims to deliver an efficient, coordinated and proportionate response to disasters particularly as our business grows in the Asia Pacific region. The policy builds on our values of integrity, collaboration, accountability, respect and excellence. It prioritizes:
- meeting the needs of our customers and looking after our employees
- focusing on the geographic regions of strategic importance to our business
- supporting our Group-wide Sustainability Framework.
Our support for communities affected by disasters includes a package of relief measures for customers, measures to support employees, and support for organisations involved in the response, e.g. promoting appeals and donations. We are also keen to help longer-term recovery where we can, including financial advice and planning for recovering local businesses and a volunteering program for our employees to assist with community rebuilding.
We encourage any customer impacted by a disaster to contact our financial difficulty team, local branch or relationship manager to discuss how we can support them during their recovery.
In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded, devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. We responded by donating $100,000 to the Philippines Red Cross. In addition, employees across ANZ’s network organised fundraising activities which raised over $100,000. Employee fundraising was matched dollar-for-dollar by ANZ, making the total contribution over $300,000.
We also implemented assistance packages for our Australian customers impacted by the Western Australian and Victorian bushfires in early 2014.
In December 2012 Cyclone Evan caused significant damage in Fiji and Samoa resulting in the need to temporarily close branches. To help communities recover as quickly as possible we provided cash donations of FJ 100,000 (AUD 55,000) to Fiji and WST 100,000 (AUD 45,000) to Samoa. In January 2013 we donated AUD 200,000 to the people of Jakarta following the worst flood in Indonesia in 30 years. The funds helped to provide clean water via mobile water tanks to the worst affected areas in the city. The flooding led to 25,000 people being evacuated and the temporary closure of ANZ branches.
Also in January, devastating fires significantly affected Australia’s Tasmanian communities. Around 3,000 properties were without power and 25,000 people had to be evacuated. We donated AUD 100,000 to the Australian Red Cross Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal to support relief efforts. We also implemented an assistance package for our customers which included:
In February, communities in Australia, Queensland and New South Wales were hit by extreme weather and extensive flooding. We responded by implementing our financial assistance package for our customers, and donating AUD 400,000 to the Queensland Floods Appeal and AUD 100,000 to the Australian Red Cross to support immediate relief efforts in NSW.
Fortunately, this year did not witness the level of humanitarian disasters that marked our Region in 2010 and 2011. However, there were still significant events that affected our people and their communities.
Severe flooding in Western Fiji in early 2012 and in the Philippines, particularly around Manila, in August resulted in loss of life and caused disruptions to economies and our operations. In both cases, local governments declared states of emergency.
ANZ quickly launched Employee Financial Assistance Programs for our staff, drawing on the successful program developed for ANZ staff impacted by the 2010 Queensland floods.
The assistance packages included special leave arrangements as well as financial grants for severely impacted staff. We also provided support to communities in need, including staff volunteering in the many areas where significant clean-up and repair efforts were needed.
In addition to our direct assistance to employees, loan repayment suspensions for customers and other foregone costs, we contributed $0.6 million to supporting the communities impacted by these events.
Recent events in Australia, New Zealand, our Pacific region and Japan have shown us how natural disasters can take us by surprise and leave our people and communities feeling shocked and unprepared, for both the event, and the recovery afterwards.
This year, we created ‘Being Prepared’ booklets for all ANZ staff globally to help them to prepare for and respond to unexpected events, such as natural disasters, at home and at work. Two versions of the guide have been made available, one for employees and one for line managers. Translated versions of these booklets have been created and disseminated where necessary.
In 2011, ANZ committed more than A$3.7 million to assist relief and recovery efforts and matching of staff donations. We worked with local partners to deliver timely, effective and appropriate support to our employees, customers and communities impacted by natural disasters.
Significant natural disasters in our region this year highlighted the important role we can play supporting relief and recovery efforts in times of need.
|Case study: Helping communities in Laos during a disaster|
A key part of ANZ Laos’ newly launched corporate sustainability program is providing assistance to impacted communities during a disaster, such as flooding during the monsoon season which runs from May to October.
To help needy communities in rural areas, a ready supply of disaster relief packs comprising essentials such as water, rice, noodles and blankets has been prepared by employees. During a disaster, a team of ANZ volunteers will then be quickly mobilised to deliver the supplies to rural communities in need.
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