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Community Engagement & Development

GPT touches the lives of millions of Australians every day whether they be employees, customers, members of the community, contractors or suppliers. The shopping centres and office buildings in the GPT portfolio are community destinations which attract people who come for work, shopping and leisure. GPT has long understood that its financial success ultimately depends on the health and prosperity of the communities where the Group operates.

As a highly trusted property group, GPT looks to create a meaningful social and economic impact to sustain the communities that allow the business to prosper. GPT’s commitment is to enable the creation of lasting positive change for the communities surrounding its assets and the broader Australian society. At the same time, the Group aims to create economic value for its business and investors. The intention of GPT’s community investment is to generate lasting positive change in the communities where it operates .

We recognise the need to respond to community challenges on multiple levels. At the societal level, we know that our most effective contributions will be made through aligning our efforts to our corporate strategy and matching them to the core capabilities of our business. At a local level, our focus is on helping to build the capacity of communities in which we operate to engage in, articulate and realise their vision of a sustainable future.

GPT’s commitment to Community Engagement is outlined in GPT’s Community Engagement & Development Policy.

GPT’S COMMUNITY FOCUS AREAS

GPT has carried out extensive research into the needs of its communities identifying three areas of focus: Employability and Skilling, Social Inclusion, and Healthy Living.

SOCIAL INCLUSION

For GPT, social inclusion is about supporting community partners, programs and services which help connect communities and provide opportunities for those who are more vulnerable, currently excluded from society or disadvantaged. This involves developing or supporting programs that actively tackle pressing issues such as social isolation and youth homelessness.

Promoting social inclusion includes facilitating access to GPT’s assets for the community by providing hubs and meeting places and by organising or supporting social and cultural events.

GPT’s seeks to host programs and events that promote social inclusion and have a positive impact on the community. Examples include:

Sensitive Santa

In 2015, GPT’s retail assets, Charlestown Square, Rouse Hill Town Centre, Parkmore Shopping Centre, Chirnside Park and Highpoint Shopping Centre delivered the ‘Sensitive Santa’ initiative for the third year in a row. This program invites families with a child on the autism spectrum to have a photo with Santa without the common hustle and bustle and sensory overload typical of shopping centre environments. Families were able to book time with Santa, which meant no queues, and the children were able to experience a photograph with Santa in an autism-friendly environment. The calm sensory environment provided a low stress, peaceful setting for the families who might have otherwise avoided entering a busy shopping centre at Christmas.

Reconciliation with Australia’s First Nation People

GPT believes in the importance of acknowledging the past and fostering the building of better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In 2015, GPT partnered with Reconciliation Australia and launched its inaugural innovate Reconciliation Action Plan. As one of Australia’s largest diversified listed property groups, GPT has a role to play in assisting in the economic and social development of Australia’s First Nations People. GPT’s RAP outlines the Group’s strategic objectives and targets over the next two years, covering three specific areas: respect, opportunities and relationships. GPT aims to build strong relationships, provide more opportunities and promote a culture of respect for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and community.

GPT hopes to use its position as an ASX 100 listed organisationto build awareness of the importance of reconciliation. Read more about GPT’s approach and innovative RAP.

CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Justin Mohamed and CEO of GPT, Bob Johnston at the launch of the GPT Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
GPT Employees Volunteering

GPT provides the opportunity for all of its staff to participate in one volunteering day each year. This gives GPT people an opportunity to give back to the community and develop a greater awareness of the different challenges faced by members of the community. By partnering with selected charities, GPT aims to promote positive change in the communities where it operates.

EMPLOYABILITY AND SKILLING

Learning, skills and employability are central to the well-being and economic participation of the communities that surrounding GPT’s assets. GPT’s investment in this area is about working alongside partners to improve the access to learning, educational and employment opportunities in the communities where it operates.

GPT recognises that there are particular groups within the community that face more challenges in relation to employability and skilling. These include unemployed youth, seniors looking to re-enter the workforce and people with disabilities. Examples of GPT’s work in this area include:

Property Industry Foundation (PIF)

People under the age of 25 make up around half of the homeless population. One in 51 girls aged between 15 -19 used a homeless service last year. The number of children using homeless services has increased by around 15,000 across Australia in the last couple of years.

According to the 2011 census there were over 44,000 young people homeless, meaning that around 43 per cent of the Australian homeless population are aged under 25.

PIF’s vision is to unite the national property and construction industry in an independent initiative to support community programs aimed at young people at risk. The foundation supports 20 children’s charities and runs a national program that provides accommodation to young homeless people.

GPT’s Chief Executive Officer Bob Johnston is the National Chairman of the Property Industry Foundation and GPT’s Head of Office and Logistics Matthew Faddy is a member of PIF’s NSW Board of Advisors.

CareerTrackers

In 2013, GPT began a partnership with the CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program and started to provide 12 week internships to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students. This program was designed to provide university students the opportunity work within the business and learn the skills relevant to their degrees. Since joining the program, GPT has provided 13 internships through CareerTrackers and will continue to offer opportunities for its interns to grow and develop their professional careers.

STREAT

STREAT is a social enterprise that provides training, support and employment to homeless and disadvantaged youth. The organisation provides hospitality training and work experience while simultaneously offering individual case management, counselling, group life skills programs, social activities and access to specialist service providers.

A core element of STREAT’s enterprise involves running cafes and coffee carts. GPT partnered with STREAT in 2010, shortly after its inception and houses the longest running and busiest of STREAT’s cafés at its Melbourne Central shopping centre. GPT has:

  • Provided STREAT a location in the Melbourne Central. Around 50 per cent of STREAT’s revenue to date has come from the café at Melbourne Central. The café which originally opened as a coffee cart in 2010 has served more than half a million customers.
  • Promoted STREAT through various activities and directly supported events such as the Sleepless in September outdoor sleep-out event. In 2015, GPT assisted STREAT to generate public relations material valued at $381,970 and with a reach valued at more than $5 million; and
  • Provided STREAT with in-kind support through sharing of business, finance and marketing expertise to support its back office functioning and strategic direction.

By the end of 2015, STREAT has worked with 452 young people providing over 38,000 hours of support and training while serving more than 1.25 million customers.

Charlestown Square Welcome Team

The Hunter Volunteer Centre and GPT Charlestown Square teamed up in 2014 to form the HVC Welcome Team. Charlestown Square is the largest shopping and entertainment destination in the Hunter region, with more than 270 specialty stores and 3500 car spaces. The HVC Welcome Team is a group of friendly and fun-loving volunteers who love helping people. This could be from assisting visitors find their cars or guiding visitors through the centre.

This program trains volunteers who would like to be employed in retail and customer service. All team members receive training in customer service and retail skills to gain a Statement of Achievement. This role is approved by the Centrelink Volunteer Work Initiative and Mutual Obligation schemes.

During their time on the HVC Welcome Team, volunteers develop customer service skills and experience, build relationships with all centre staff and are able to network with retailers who recruit on regular basis.

HEALTHY LIVING

GPT contributes to healthy living in two ways. The first involves helping to tackle societal challenges, such as obesity, by supporting national community partners in reaching more people and raising awareness about healthy eating and active lifestyles. The other is through the creation or support of local initiatives that promote healthy living behaviors that actively improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.

Example of healthy living programs:

End of Trip facilities

One way we are demonstrating our commitment is by taking a more proactive approach in encouraging the health and well-being of the occupants of buildings. In office buildings, for example, the long-term health risks of sitting at a desk all day are now being compared to smoking. This has led GPT to provide more amenities in its office buildings that encourage white collar workers to adopt less sedentary lifestyles. This includes opening End of Trip facilities in many of its office buildings in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, that include bike storage, showers and lockers.

MLC Centre – End of Trip facility
Healthy Hunter Region

Another way GPT promotes healthy living is through the creation or support of local initiatives. In late 2013, it was identified that seven out 10 Hunter residents were overweight, with half classified as obese. GPT’s Hunter-based shopping centre, Charlestown Square partnered with the Newcastle Herald to tackle this serious issue, with an objective of improving a major community social problem. The Hunter Health Kick was launched in 2014 as a Shared Value initiative, in which GPT would seek to both address a social problem and receive a business benefit, ensuring its longevity and making it sustainable.

After the success of the inaugural 2014 campaign, it ran again in 2015. This program was a 12-week campaign with an objective to provide information, inspiration and motivation to the community through the adoption of a more active lifestyle. The success of the initiative was in measured through total weight lost by the participants, which totalled 714 kilograms out of 500 people and the return on investment the Centre was 36:1.

SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY INVESTMENT

GPT’s Shared Value approach focuses on creating measurable economic benefit while improving the social and environmental conditions of the communities where the Group operates. To ensure GPT generates business value simultaneously with social value, the Group continues to find new and innovative ways to engage with communities around its assets, in order to tackle key social issues. Developing an approach that drives both business and societal value has been critical to the Group’s overall economic success. This approach enables GPT to make long-term community based commitments and has positioned the Group at the forefront of emerging community challenges and opportunities.

Shared Value is about moving beyond philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. It is about being more strategic, thinking simultaneously about GPT’s business interests and the capacity of the Group to contribute to positive and lasting change in the communities where it operates.

If you are interested in working with GPT, please read GPT’s Sponsorship and Community Partnership Guidelines that details our evaluation and selection criteria, and the process to apply.

Community Investment Reporting - 2015 Results

Community Contribution

GPT’s Community Investment Protocol aims to capture all of the community-related investments made by GPT including time volunteered by GPT employees, direct community investment, in-kind giving and monetary contributions through donations and sponsorships. In 2015, $10million was invested in community and Shared Value projects as detailed below:

Contribution

2015 ($)

2014 ($)

Explanation for change

Examples

Direct Shared Value community investment

$ 9.4m

$3.3m

Significant spend in 2015 on End-of-Trip facilities.  All GPT retail sites now offering free public Wi-Fi. Increased contribution of Shared Value projects.

Playground and community gardens, family entertainment and community events, free public Wi-Fi, End–of-Trip facilities.

Sponsorship

$0.2m

$0.2m

 

Various sponsorships at asset level, Property Industry Foundation at corporate level.

Volunteering time

$0.2m

$0.2m

 

GPT employees volunteering throughout the year and on the annual Community Day.

In kind provision of charity and community space

$0.3m

$0.7m

Changes in reporting systems have resulted in under-reporting in 2015

Providing space in shopping centres or office building foyers for charity and community events.

Management support

$0.2m

$0.2m

 

GPT employees working on programs, activities and systems to deliver community.outcomes.

The percentage of staff volunteering continues to remain high at 78% (exceeding our target of 75%), with community and shared value investment growing considerably on prior year.

Learn more about GPT's Community Investment Reporting Protocol.

Community outcomes and impacts

GPT has developed case studies that demonstrate just a few of the activities that the Group is undertaking to deliver both business and social outcomes simultaneously. The development of these case studies is a work in progress. They illustrate the breadth of activities that can generate both business and social value and will help GPT begin to develop a better focus on the measurement of outcomes and impacts.

GPT’S APPROACH TO HUMAN RIGHTS

GPT believes in respecting basic human rights and is a signatory of the UN Global Compact.

As signatory to the UN Global Compact (since May 2011) and its 10 principles on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption, GPT submits a 'Communication on Progress' to the UN Global Compact office every two years.

GPT’s main responsibilities lie in a number of critical areas:

  • Respecting the human rights of our employees;
  • Encouraging respect for human rights throughout our value chain, including customers and suppliers, and our approach to financial crime;
  • Supporting human rights in our communities; and
  • Monitoring our performance and ensuring effective governance.

Principle

Assessment, policy and goals

Implementation

Measureable results and outcomes

Further information

Human rights
Principles 1 & 2

GPT’s goal is to have a work environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying.
GPT’s Code of Conduct, and Equal Employment Opportunities policies

It is an employee’s responsibility to understand and meet the requirements of working at GPT and identify and report incidents of non-compliance.
Refer to GPT’s corporate governance principles  and policies

No incidents of human rights violations have come to GPT’s attention in financial year 2014.

Our people

Labour

Principles 3, 4 & 5

GPT’s goal is to ensure there is no forced or compulsory labour within its operations or parties dealt with externally.
GPT encourages and supports Freedom of Association and elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour.
This extends to relationships with our suppliers; contained within the supplier policy and supplier code of conduct are GPT’s expectations of the activities of suppliers.

GPT’s Freedom of Association policy and approach is owned by People and Performance.
It is an employee’s responsibility to understand and meet the requirements of working at GPT and identify and report incidents of non-compliance.
Refer to GPT’s corporate governance principles  and policies
It is each supplier’s responsibility to achieve and maintain the standards as set out in the supplier policy and supplier code of conduct. GPT enacts these policies through the Supplier Management Framework

GPT had no incidents of:
- Freedom of Association violations or
- Forced or compulsory labour laws.
We recognise the right to collective bargaining and have not cancelled any contracts or agreements on the basis of forced or compulsory labour in financial year 2014.

Our people
Our Suppliers

Labour
Principle 6

GPT is an equal opportunity employer and promotes an inclusive workplace.
GPT's Equal Employment Opportunities policyand Diversity Policy govern its operations. The Supplier Code of Conduct details expectations of suppliers.

Details of specific goals can be found on Our people overview page.
It is an employee’s responsibility to understand and meet the requirements of working at GPT and identify and report incidents of non-compliance.
Refer to GPT’s corporate governance principles  and policies
It is each supplier’s responsibility to achieve and maintain the standards as set out in the Supplier Code of Conduct.

Information on performance against diversity targets is found at Our People – Diversity

Our people

Environment
Principles 7, 8 & 9

GPT supports the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies though our Sustainability Policy and actions across; resource use and waste minimisation; water management; climate change and energy; and community engagement and development.
Refer to GPT’s corporate governance principles  and policies

GPT enacts the Sustainability Policy through the Sustainability Management Systems

Information on performance against environmental targets is found at Environment

Sustainability
Environment
Community Engagement

Anti-Corruption
Principle 10

The goal is to have no incidents of corruption within the organisation or in any dealings with external parties.
GPT has a Code of Conduct, Whistleblower and supplier policy that supports and underpins our commitment to work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.

It is an employee’s responsibility to understand and meet the requirements of working at GPT and identify and report incidents of non-compliance.
Refer to GPT’s corporate governance principles  and policies
It is each supplier’s responsibility to achieve and maintain the standards as set out in the supplier policy and to train their employees and contracted parties on their consequential rights and responsibilities. GPT enacts these policies through the Supplier Management Framework

There were no known incidents of corruption or bribery registered or identified by GPT in financial year 2014.

Our people
Our Suppliers

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Environment Data Pack

For detailed statistics around GPT's Sustainability Reporting Download the Environment Data Pack.

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