Why it’s so important
Across many countries, including Australia, there is a widening gap in social inequality, with worrying consequences. Studies show that as the disparity between rich and poor increases, so do many social and health issues: mental health problems, obesity, substance dependence, decreased literacy and numeracy, and incarceration.
How we’re positioned to drive change
Mirvac is a leading Australian company with high performing people and substantial purchasing power. We believe we can use these assets to make our business a force for good – a business that’s for purpose, as well as for profit. We want to support organisations that are run for purpose, and be more inclusive of those in the community who don’t always get the opportunities that others do.
Housing affordability is also another issue we can help to address – through the diversity of products we offer, the quality that we design and build, and the energy technologies that make our buildings more affordable to maintain. It’s estimated that Australia currently has a shortfall in available social housing of 270,000 properties, and this number is set to increase to close to 700,000 properties by 2030, creating an opportunity to help make change happen.
Our progress to date
In recent years we’ve made great progress addressing sustainability across our supply chain – releasing a new vendor code of conduct, helping to establish a Sustainable Supply Chain School, and becoming members of organisations such as Social Traders and Supply Nation. We also developed The Right Start, a new initiative to make property more affordable for first home buyers, and we conceived and built the House With No Bills: a world-first experimental study that’s examining how we can use technology to help customers control their energy use.
Our social contributions have also become more strategic. We entered into a two-year national partnership with The Smith Family, and launched two new social enterprises – one of which being the Song Café located at our Sydney headquarters, who direct 100 per cent of profits to the YWCA. Each year, the café enables around 650 beds to be provided for victims of domestic violence in need of crisis accommodation; a great example of just what this type of enterprise can achieve. Finally, we also agreed on our first Reconciliation Action Plan, taking an important step towards establishing stronger relationships with Indigenous Australians.
We’ve recognised we can do more in this area – which is why we’ve committed to invest $100 million in the social sector by 2030. In part, this will be done by redirecting some of our procurement spending to support social enterprises, Indigenous businesses, and other organisations that are set up to be purpose-driven. We’ll also be supporting Homes For Homes in their ambition to raise $1.8 billion for social housing investment, and expanding our research through the House With No Bills to look at wider cost of living challenges.
To inspire our people to play their part, we’ll also be offering unlimited volunteer leave to all employees, giving them greater scope to lend their time, energy and capabilities to the social sector. Not only does volunteering allow us to directly contribute to our communities, it improves employee engagement and teaches us an enormous amount, and it’s a great measure of social cohesion across communities.