Message to stakeholders
The Hon. Mark Vaile AO
Paul Flynn
Managing Director and CEO

We are pleased to present Whitehaven Coal’s Sustainability Report 2021.

This year’s report reflects the additional investment we are making to address changing expectations among our stakeholders in relation to Environmental,Social and Governance (ESG) reporting, and to ensure closer alignment with internationally-recognised sustainability reporting approaches.

If you’re a regular reader of our reporting suite, you’ll notice some new features and themes that provide improved disclosure around our material sustainability issues and stronger governance frameworks to support our work in this area. Overall, we hope you’ll find the document more accessible and user-friendly.

For us, sustainability is about how good assets and good operational practices combine to create enduring value for our stakeholders, underpinned by our STRIVE principles. Whether it’s a local business supplying our operations, a long-term customer accessing high quality raw materials or an apprentice learning new skills on which an entire career can be built, sustainability has always been at the heart of our company.

It’s a story we’re proud to communicate and one that people want to know more about. Since we launched our first standalone sustainability report for FY19, we have noticed the appetite for ESG information has steadily increased. In that time, we’ve also received and addressed plenty of feedback about what we’re doing well in this space, and where we might be able to improve.

This year’s report is a product of the path we’ve already travelled, but it also signals some changes for the future. During the course of the year, the Board endorsed the company’s first Sustainability Reporting Roadmap, which will guide our approach in the coming years. Among other things, we will look to adopt targets in certain areas, seek external assurance of key data and undertake independent materiality reviews on a periodic basis. This is a multi-year journey but one we are committed to.

As we look ahead, how the world responds to the challenges posed by climate change will continue to dominate discussions in an ESG context. This report makes a number of observations about the relationship between energy use and the population growth driving economic development in our near region. Many of our stakeholders acknowledge the journey to a lower-carbon future is an incredibly complex one and are receptive on the need for a multi-faceted response of which high-quality Australian coal can be a part.

There continues to be interest in how we identify and evaluate the risks and opportunities of climate change. As with previous years we have again responded to the voluntary recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, making us the only Australian pure-play coal company to do so. Understandably, how we assess our resilience in a more carbon-constrained world is an area of continuing focus and one we will look to refine in the coming years. We invite you to read more in the Climate chapter of this report.

The past year has also seen more scrutiny of corporate behaviour, whether around supply chain responsibility, respect in the workplace, or working with host communities including Traditional Owners. These topics are all addressed in the following pages. And of course, while the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to pose major challenges for governments and businesses, it has also reinforced the vital role of the coal industry – Australia’s second largest commodity export – in sustaining and supporting regional economies through the period of ongoing economic recovery.

This backdrop of increasing interest in, and public discussion of, the sustainability of our industry underscores the importance of continuing to engage with stakeholders transparently and proactively. To support our ongoing efforts in this area, we invite you to share your feedback at

The Hon. Mark Vaile, AO

Paul Flynn
Managing Director and CEO

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Where we operate
Our customer base by coal type
Our locations
How we
create value
We identify, develop and operate high-quality, cost-efficient, long-life coal assets and distribute the financial and non-financial returns to shareholders, employees, customers and the communities where we work and live.
Our material issues
In FY21 we undertook a desktop materiality assessment to define our material sustainability issues and the stakeholders impacted.

This assessment was aligned to the AccountAbility AA1000AP Standard and informed by our regular engagement with stakeholders.

Through this process we have distilled our approach to material issues and how we address them into three themes.

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Responsible supply chain
We seek to support sustainable practices throughout our supply chain, and in doing so contribute to social and economic development.
Social development

Our commitment to human rights, embodied in our Code of Conduct, extended to suppliers in FY21 with the introduction of an assessment and reporting process to guard against modern slavery in our supply chains. Activities undertaken are outlined in our first Modern Slavery Statement, released in March 2021, in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 1988 (Cth).

The statement is available on our website. The due diligence undertaken in FY21 found no evidence of modern slavery practices in our supply chain.

Our Modern Slavery Statement is available on our website
Economic development

Small and medium-sized enterprises face cash flow challenges when invoices are not paid on time. Cash flow challenges can be more pronounced in the mining sector and associated service businesses in regional communities, which is why we offer 21-day payment terms to our small and medium-sized local suppliers in the areas around our operations. In FY22 we will commence formal reporting on our payment times in accordance with the Payment Times Reporting Act 2020 (Cth).

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Whitehaven recognises and supports the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global average temperature increases to below 2 degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, consistent with Australia’s national commitments under the accord.
Community contribution
We firmly believe the local community should be the main beneficiary of our presence and are focused on building local prosperity, improving quality of life, and ensuring our regional towns thrive.
Investing in Australian communities
Identify, develop and operate high-quality, long-life, lower-cost coal projects
Promote local economic growth and sustainability through permanent job creation and local procurement
Help build local community capacity and viability through direct and indirect intergenerational investment in education, health, skills and infrastructure
Instill community trust through responsible environmental stewardship and community partnerships
Leave an economic and social legacy that outlives mining operations

Economic contribution
to North West NSW in FY21




Plains LGA

Coal Basin

Narrabri LGA

Wages and

Number of


Council rates
& VPA payments$1.7m

Gunnedah LGA

Wages and

Number of


Council rates
& VPA payments$1.5m

Tamworth LGA

Wages and

Number of


Council rates
& VPA payments$0.02m

Liverpool Plains LGA

Wages and

Number of


Council rates
& VPA payments$0.5m


Water use in North West NSW

In FY21 253,247 megalitres of water from the Lower Namoi River was allocated or made available to licensed water users in the region.

Source: Water Sharing Plan for the Upper Namoi and Lower Namoi Regulated River Water Sources 2020


Whitehaven Coal land use FY21

Whitehaven owns 84,406 hectares of land.

Health & safety

The safety of our people, workplaces and communities is our number one priority. We believe every single member of our workforce should expect to be able to come home safely to their families and loved ones at the end of each day.

FY21 total recordable injury frequency rate per million hours worked (TRIFR)


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Managing the risks of COVID-19

Especially in light of our status as a major employer in the North West NSW community, we have stayed agile as we respond to the evolving nature of COVID-19 and changes in state and federal Government settings that have arisen in relation to movement, mask-wearing, and COVID-19 testing.

We have maintained protective measures, including around hygiene, social distancing, limiting or postponing gatherings, travel and access to sites, and adjusted our response in alignment with public health advice. We have kept our people safe and employed, and maintained continuity of production and supply. No cases of COVID-19 in our workforce were recorded in FY21. We continue to work closely with our suppliers, including labour hire and transporation contractors, to mitigate against potential impacts of COVID-19 related restrictions.

We continue to participate in state and national industry association working groups convened to develop and implement COVID-19 response measures to keep communities and employees safe, and minimise the operational impacts of COVID-19 restrictions. The Resources Sector National COVID-19 protocols became a model for other sectors early on in the pandemic and we continue to share approaches and lessons within the industry, and to other sectors where applicable. In FY21 and into FY22, we have focused additional resources, both as a company and as an industry, on supporting the national vaccine roll-out.

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Talent & diversity

We are committed to promoting a workplace culture and environment in which every individual feels safe and supported.

Proportion of workforce identifying as Indigenous


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Tax transparency

Whitehaven Coal is listed on the ASX. Our mining operations are located only in Australia and we have no foreign subsidiary companies, which means transfer pricing is not a tax issue for the Group

Taxes collected and paid by the Whitehaven Group and its JV partners in FY21


Download the
Sustainability Report 2021


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