A positive contribution to our communities
At Wesfarmers, we believe a strong business environment is underpinned by an equally strong, cohesive and inclusive community. Our team members are the driving force behind our approach to community engagement. Our focus is largely on supporting organisations that deliver strong, positive social outcomes where our teams live and work. This ensures value is created in ways that best address the needs of our customers and their communities.
Significant impact on the Australian economy
During the year, the Group generated more than $34.1 billion in economic activity through $20.9 billion paid to suppliers; approximately paid $3.5 billion in rent, services and external costs; and $1.3 billion paid in taxes and other government charges. Our workforce of almost 114,000 team members received $5.3 billion in salaries, wages and benefits.
Giving back to our communities
In the 2021 financial year, the Group contributed over $55 million to community organisations in Australia, New Zealand and other regions where we operate. That included almost $25 million in direct social investment to community organisations, as well as more than $30 million in indirect contributions from customers and team members, facilitated by the Group.
At a corporate level, Wesfarmers supports community organisations and initiatives within the pillars of medical research and wellbeing, education and the arts. Across each of these areas, we endeavour to include support for organisations that are Indigenous led, or that have significant Indigenous programs. Wesfarmers corporate contributed more than $12 million to around 50 community partners.
Wesfarmers also pledged more than $4 million to community and arts partners most severely impacted by COVID-19, and those payments were made over the course of the financial year. In February 2021, we contributed $200,000 towards the Lord Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund to assist the communities in Western Australia affected by the Wooroloo bushfires. We also added significant support for mental health initiatives, knowing the impact of COVID-19 and associated policy responses on mental health.
Wesfarmers has been a leading supporter of the arts for more than four decades. Our partnerships with a diverse range of premier arts and cultural organisations in Western Australia and nationally reflect our belief in the vital contribution the arts make to vibrant communities in which creativity, social cohesion and innovation thrive.
This year, we continued to stand by our arts partners during COVID-19, providing significant, targeted support to help keep artists employed when performances were suspended and galleries were closed. In addition to our ongoing regular support for a wide range of premier arts organisations, more than $825,000 additional funding was provided over the 2020 and 2021 financial years for our arts partners most acutely impacted by COVID-19.
The year also saw Wesfarmers support the building of the new Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip with a donation of $5 million over 10 years. Opened to the public on 21 November 2020, the museum is the largest contemporary museum building project in the Southern Hemisphere in recent history and one million Western Australians and visitors to the state are expected to visit the museum each year.
As a Founding Partner of the new Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip, Wesfarmers supports the Ngalang Koort Boodja Wirn Gallery, which means Our Heart, Country and Spirit in Nyoongar language. One of eight permanent exhibitions in the new museum, it showcases cultural materials, multimedia and audio experiences from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from around Western Australia.
In 2020, the onset of COVID-19 necessitated a halt to preparations for the Wesfarmers and National Gallery of Australia (NGA) Indigenous exhibition Ever Present: First People's Art of Australia.
While the international touring schedule has been impacted by an extended delay, the opportunity has arisen to launch the exhibition in Australia ahead of the international tour. The Ever Present artist commission by acclaimed artist Jonathon Jones is currently in production and will travel with the exhibition for presentation at the Art Gallery of Western Australian in November 2021.
Following the Australian presentation in 2021, Ever Present will commence an international tour at the National Gallery of Singapore from May to July 2022.
Click here for more on Wesfarmers Arts.
GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 201-1, GRI 413-2