|KPMG Sri Lanka Managing Partner Reyaz Mihular
|KPMG Sri Lanka Principal – Sustainability/ESG, Family Business and Board Governance, Global Assurance Pyumi Sumanasekara
As part of its ongoing multi-billion-dollar investment programme, KPMG plans to spend more than US$1.5 billion over the next three years to focus on the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) change agenda. The ESG strategy is designed to support KPMG firms’ clients in making a positive difference. Importantly, this strategy is underpinned by KPMG’s recognition of its responsibility to improve its impact on the world and the ESG commitments outlined in ‘KPMG: Our Impact Plan’.
KPMG’s global ESG strategy comes less than a year after the organisation launched ‘KPMG: Our Impact Plan’, which lays out the global organisation’s commitments on ESG themes, with the ultimate goal of making an even greater positive impact on the world. KPMG was the first professional services organisation to transparently report against the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Metrics.
The plan sets out a range of science-based targets, including a pledge to become a net-zero carbon organisation by 2030. The execution and acceleration of ‘KPMG: Our Impact Plan’ is a key priority for the global organisation as it delivers on its commitments to tackle issues — from the climate crisis to social mobility and community engagement.
Launched in June 2020, KPMG Impact is the accelerator for KPMG’s global ESG strategy. It is the platform which supports and empowers KPMG professionals as they assist clients in fulfilling their purpose, achieving their ESG goals, and supporting the world’s attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It helps clients across ESG & Sustainability, Economic & Social Development, Sustainable Finance, Climate Change & Decarbonisation, and Measurement, Assurance & Reporting.
The collective investment will focus on training and expanding KPMG’s global workforce, harnessing data, accelerating the development of new technologies and driving action through partnerships, alliances and advocacy. The key to the transformation will be embedding ESG across the global organisation and client solutions to drive measurable change. The new global ESG strategy focuses on five priority areas:
1. Solutions: Five newly-dedicated ‘Hubs’ are to be established to provide world-class expertise and solutions on key ESG issues. These will focus on:
- Global Decarbonisation, helping large multinational businesses meet their net-zero commitments and plan their decarbonisation journey
- Global ESG Advisory, backed by KPMG Advisory teams, offering market-leading ESG expertise, including leadership on societal issues and solutions
- Three KPMG Regional ESG Hubs, established in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas, to give KPMG firms’ clients easy access to world-class insights and expertise across the ESG agenda
KPMG will invest in its leading climate and ESG solutions and technologies, including Climate IQ, a digital tool that helps organisations identify opportunities and risks arising from climate change. To complement the technological investments, the global organisation will also expand its workforce, both for ESG advisory work and to provide assurance on ESG disclosures. Additionally, KPMG will develop its proprietary audit workflow technology to enable delivery of ESG assurance with the same quality and rigor that KPMG firms apply to financial audit work.
2. Talent: ESG training will be provided to KPMG’s 227,000 people globally to ensure that everyone is empowered to be an agent of positive change. As part of this training, KPMG is working with two leading global academic institutions, University of Cambridge Judge Business School and NYU Stern Executive Education:
- The University of Cambridge Judge Business School partnership will build ESG skills, including the development of a learning framework and solutions to be applied across the KPMG global organisation, led by the business school faculty and other experts associated with the school, beginning with hundreds of KPMG’s most senior partners and with the ambition to reach all KPMG people around the globe.
- The NYU Stern Executive Education collaboration will see the co-creation of a sustainability program for KPMG in the form of executive education.
3. Supporting developing nations: KPMG will launch KPMG Emerging Markets Accelerators for developing nations in the Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The goal of these Emerging Markets Accelerators is to ensure areas of the world lacking expertise and resources will have a trusted advisor to support their economic and social development in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
4. Collaborations and alliances: KPMG recognises that the world’s issues will not be solved by any one organisation alone, which is why the firm is building on its collaboration with external organisations including UNESCO, Enactus and the Global Reporting Initiative. Through our ecosystem of alliances, including Microsoft and ServiceNow, KPMG is co-creating new tools and solutions that will provide critical insights based on data that organisations can use to map their ESG journeys and implement vital changes to meet their commitments.
5. Listening and advocacy: To help support the advocacy pillar of its global ESG strategy, KPMG is also launching a new campaign called ‘Voices for a Sustainable Future’, offering a platform to amplify the views of established and new thinkers, giving voice to critical issues — from climate change to gender and race equality. The program will generate actionable insights to help accelerate the journey toward a more sustainable future.
KPMG’s Global Chairman and CEO Bill Thomas said: “ESG will be the watermark running through our global organisation; from empowering our people to become agents of positive change, to the services with our clients and our partnerships with critical stakeholders. KPMG has the global scale, expertise, technology and relationships that give us the ability and responsibility to use our position to provide solutions and services to overcome the challenges facing our planet and society.”
Global Head of ESG and KPMG Impact Richard Threlfall said, “Our global ESG strategy will help equip our people to make a difference, as well as mobilise data and technology in support. But we also recognise that the changes society is demanding will be realised most effectively through open collaboration based on trust, and we will continue to seek out opportunities to partner with other organisations that share our sense of purpose to enable a better future for everyone, everywhere.”
KPMG Sri Lanka has identified that the global ESG agenda is as important to its people as it is to its clients, and is highly optimistic that these significant changes would further reinforce KPMG’s purpose to inspire confidence and empower change as a global leader in professional services. Accordingly, KPMG Sri Lanka has nominated Pyumi Sumanasekara as its ESG Champion for the firm in order to respond to the business opportunities that ESG offers in the Sri Lankan marketplace.