KPMG launches multi-year program to accelerate global solutions for ESG issues
As part of its ongoing multi-billion-dollar investment program, KPMG plans to spend more than US$1.5 billion over the next three years specifically 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.
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 in the organization and client solutions to drive measurable change.
The new global ESG strategy focuses on five priority areas:
Five newly dedicated Hubs are to be established to provide world-class expertise and solutions on key ESG issues, these will focus on:
• Global Decarbonization, helping large multinational businesses meet their net-zero commitments and plan their decarbonization journey, and
• Global ESG Advisory, backed by Advisory teams from KPMG firms, offering market-leading ESG expertise including leadership on societal issues and solutions.
• Three KPMG Regional ESG Hubs will also be established in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas to allow 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 clients identify opportunities and risks arising from climate change. To complement the technological investments, the global organization 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.
ESG training will be provided to all of the KPMG organization’s 227,000 people 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 organization, led by the business school faculty and other experts associated with the school, beginning with hundreds of business leaders 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.
- 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.
- Collaborations and Alliances
KPMG recognizes that the world’s issues will not be solved by any one organization alone, which is why the global organization is building on its collaboration with external organizations including UNESCO, Enactus and the Global Reporting Initiative.
Through alliances with Google Cloud, Microsoft and ServiceNow, KPMG is co-creating new tools and solutions that will provide critical insights based on data that clients can use to map their ESG journeys and implement vital changes to meet their commitments.
- Listening and taking action
To help support the engagement 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 towards a more sustainable future.
Bill Thomas, KPMG’s Global Chairman and CEO said: “How you grow matters, and what worked for us and other businesses in the past will not work in the future. The world faces crises on multiple fronts, which is why we’re putting the Environmental, Social and Governance agenda at the heart of everything we do. ESG will be the watermark running through our global organization; 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.”
Richard Threlfall, Global Head of ESG and KPMG IMPACT said: “It is incumbent on all of us — as businesses and as individuals — to play our part in tackling the challenges that threaten the future of our planet and the quality of life of people throughout the world. Our global ESG strategy will help equip our people to make a difference, as well as mobilize data and technology in support. But we also recognize that the changes society is demanding will be realized most effectively through open collaboration based on trust, and we will continue to seek out opportunities to partner with other organizations that share our sense of purpose to enable a better future for everyone, everywhere.”
KPMG’s global ESG strategy comes less than a year after the organization launched KPMG: Our Impact Plan, which lays out the global organization’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 organization 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 organization by 2030. The execution and acceleration of KPMG: Our Impact Plan is a key priority for the global organization as it delivers on its commitments to tackle issues — from the climate crisis to social mobility and community engagement.
KPMG’s Global Head of Corporate Affairs, Jane Lawrie, commented: “We know that KPMG and our profession have an important and pressing opportunity to accelerate the change needed for a sustainable future; that change starts with us. Our Impact Plan, launched in January, lays out how we intend to change our actions and commits to report against our progress so we can be held to account.
The ESG agenda is as important to our people as it is to clients; these significant changes outlined today further reinforce KPMG’s purpose to Inspire Confidence and Empower Change and act as a north star for how we grow the organization.”
Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore said, “ESG is a global issue and a national challenge. Stakeholders are expecting companies to deal with climate issues, address social impact, while governing their enterprises to be trustable and transparent entities. Yet, even with corporate reputations at stake, companies still find it challenging to incorporate and holistically integrate ESG across their value chain. Convincing measurements to tell the ESG story are also missing – since this is a problem that needs to be solved nationally at least, with the ecosystem agreeing on minimum standards and progressing these yardsticks together. KPMG’s investments in ESG talent, digital assets and regional hubs are meant to facilitate these conversations, creating greater clarity for industry players to identify the ESG fundamentals they value, so that ESG is not just served for compliance, but becomes a sensible strategy to future-proof organisations with clear gains in the years ahead."