We engage with our customers, local suppliers, contractors and industry organisations, and actively promote our presence in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Our most significant social impacts are through our employees, supply chain, and directly to our community through philanthropic initiatives. Through our people, supply chain and our communities, we aim to contribute to a greater distribution of economic resources and sustainable development. Our presence and procurement practices also bring socioeconomic benefits as we are deeply embedded in our communities and have a responsibility to support their success and provide an enduring legacy. We also implement a range of strategies focusing on social responsibility, cultural heritage management and stakeholder engagement.
Downer's activities delivering projects and services for our customers can impact the human rights and economic, social, cultural, or environmental wellbeing of local communities. Where possible, Downer is expected to anticipate and avoid negative impacts on local communities (for example health and safety, environmental, disturbance). Establishing a timely and effective stakeholder identification and engagement process is important to understanding local communities, their vulnerabilities and how they might be affected or impacted by Downer’s activities.
During the planning phase of all Downer projects and services, a stakeholder assessment is completed. This assessment informs the development of appropriate community and stakeholder engagement strategies and is important in understanding concerns over potential negative impacts and then communicating information about the actual impacts of Downer’s work on local communities. In addition, it enables Downer to create positive relationships with stakeholders and minimise negative impacts on people, culture and the environment.
In some circumstances, a dedicated Stakeholder and Community Engagement role may be required depending on the size and complexity of the project.
Relationships are forged and trust is built during times of stress and hardship, and we are committed to supporting community resilience and recovery when it is needed most.
We have seen an increase in the frequency and severity of adverse weather events across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, which deeply impact the communities that Downer operates in. We have responded to support those communities to ensure they can get back on their feet through recovery and rebuild.
Māori and Pacific peoples
We are committed to supporting Māori in their role as Kaitiaki of Aotearoa and to embed Te Ao Māori and tikanga into our Aotearoa New Zealand operations, including daily interactions with our people, customers and business partners. We undertake our work respectfully and that includes liaising with relevant iwi in the area within which we plan to do work before we undertake that work. We also learn from those who are on the same journey as we are, and seek renewed collaboration with other businesses, o and local government, iwi, community groups, and technically skilled organisations.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Downer has a proud history in Australia, and we are committed to ensuring we play a role in building more relationships that help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples succeed. Our operations are deeply embedded in local communities, and we are committed to developing genuine long-term relationships and working closely with Traditional Owners to ensure we respect their traditional lands that we work on.
Downer understands that the preservation of Indigenous cultural heritage is imperative to project success and we implement detailed Heritage Management processes on all our projects to limit the impact of our operations on heritage sites. Downer’s experienced Indigenous Engagement team fosters relationships with Indigenous partners and works with operational and bid/tender mobilisation teams to develop and implement Indigenous engagement and participation plans to meet customer requirements and Downer’s objectives and targets. Our Indigenous Engagement team is also responsible for ensuring that our site-based teams work in a way that protects cultural heritage.
Downer’s supply chain of more than 28,000 suppliers is diverse and consists of indirect and direct suppliers. We are committed to ensuring fair and equal treatment of everyone in everything we do. Downer will not tolerate any form of human rights abuse, including modern slavery in our operations and supply chain.
Downer acknowledges that we potentially cause or contribute to supply chain environmental impacts (e.g. carbon emissions, natural resource degradation, pollution, water management and biodiversity or nature impacts) and social impacts (e.g. employment and working condition, human rights) through our supply chain and business relationships (e.g. JV partners, contractors).
Due diligence is expected to prevent, mitigate, and address actual and potential negative impacts in the supply chain. Downer recognises that our procurement practices can support sustainable development by engaging local suppliers, Indigenous, Māori and Pacific or women-owned businesses.
Downer’s supplier sourcing tool includes filters for social, economic, governance and environmental factors alongside the typical procurement considerations such as price and quality. Downer’s prequalification process is designed to ensure our suppliers and contractors meet our Standards of Business Conduct. This includes checks on health and safety standards and policies, environmental policies, modern slavery and adherence to Downer’s terms and conditions.
Downer’s standardised Procurement Framework is closely aligned to the principles of ISO 20400 – Sustainable Procurement, and is supported by a range of tools and platforms. The framework is designed to ensure we are engaging with the right suppliers and subcontractors to achieve our business, ethical, environment, safety and social objectives.
Sustainable procurement takes into consideration Economic, Environmental, Social and Governance impacts of any purchase. This is referred to as the quadruple bottom line approach.
Supplier diversity is a key strategy in Aotearoa New Zealand to create an equitable and prosperous Aotearoa. Downer has focused on establishing a diverse supplier base, which strengthens our business and supports a thriving Māori and Pasifika business community. Downer is a member of Amotai – Supplier Diversity Aotearoa, which supports the engagement of a network of Māori and Pacific owned businesses across the country.
Local suppliers and procurement
In Australia, Downer has undertaken a comprehensive review of our Indigenous procurement processes to ensure we are engaging verified businesses. This includes working with Supply Nation, Australia’s leading directory of verified Indigenous businesses
Downer partners with Social Traders, Supply Nation and Kinaway in order to support positive social outcomes through our procurement activities. We continue to review our spend categories to identify opportunities for long-term partnerships with social enterprises and indigenous businesses.