Ashley Chaleyer Senior Consultant - Corporate Affairs
As a customer, you are a part-owner of the Bank Australia Conservation Reserve, a 927 hectare property in Victoria's Wimmera region.
This places you at the heart of a movement to protect the habitat of endangered species and the bank's efforts to offset the ecological impact of our car loans and new home construction mortgages.
Together we will work to ensure that through your ownership of the bank and the reserve, you are among the most financially savvy and environmentally responsible consumers in the country.
History of the Conservation Reserve
The first few years of the third millennium were incredibly promising for businesses committed to the values of people, planet and prosperity.
Al Gore's 2006 film 'An Inconvenient Truth' had explained climate change in a clear and engaging way, sustainability – balancing the needs of present and future generations – had filtered into some of the world's most powerful boardrooms and visionary businesses had installed infrastructure set to generate thousands of renewable megawatts.
This positive momentum seemed unstoppable...until the credit crisis of 2008.
When share prices bottomed and negative sentiment peaked, many companies returned to a singular focus on profit.
In this challenging environment Bank Australia stepped up and embarked on a world first sustainability project for a bank.
In 2008 the bank purchased the first of five properties in the West Wimmera region of Victoria to establish the Conservation Reserve.
Since then we have grown the reserve and increased its impact using a set of simple yet ground-breaking operating principles:
- When selecting land for the reserve, we made sure it was a suitable refuge for endangered flora and fauna including rare Buloke woodland, the Legless Lizard, the Golden Sun Moth, the Growling Grass Frog and the South-Eastern Red-tailed Black-cockatoo;
- When customers borrowed money from the bank to build a new house, we allocated the same amount of land for protection and/or revegetation in the reserve; and
- When customers bought a car with a loan from the bank, we planted enough trees to absorb the carbon of an average car per year for the life of the loan*.
We are pleased to report that since that time, your share in the bank and the reserve has delivered strong financial benefits and vital conservation outcomes. We like to think of this as Mutual Prosperity in action.
In the coming months the bank will be working with Trust for Nature and Greening Australia to further develop our vision for the reserve and the strategy to realise this vision. If you are interested in receiving specific updates on this exciting phase please send the bank an e-mail.
*In 2017 we changed the way we offset emissions associated with our car loans. More information on how we offset our car loans is available here.