In the arena of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), every little bit counts towards building a sustainable route forward; each action we take aims to forge a better future for the world's inhabitants. Whatever the size or type of your company, detailing your commitments to ESG will distinguish you amongst stakeholders, whether your employees or customers, and help you build the skills a workforce requires in the years to come.
To be considered truly ESG focused, businesses must be sustainable, operate with social responsibility and display integrity.
As a responsible business aiming to grow sustainably, and as one of the largest employers in the islands of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man, we are striving to set an example of responsible and progressive people alongside community and environmental policies and practices.
Our Response to ESG
We are often asked how we are approaching ESG given we promote and consult on the topic. Now we explore how we have organised our ESG response.
We have developed our KPMG IMPACT plan, addressing and embedding ESG in our business, both globally and on the islands, built on four pillars - Planet, People, Prosperity and Governance. Through IMPACT and the staff volunteers on each pillar, we have developed a diverse range of plans and activities to define the type of sustainable business we will be going forward. This framework can be applied to any business, and indeed has been to some of our clients.
We have committed to reducing our impact on the environment to build a more sustainable and resilient future, achieving net zero by 2030. Across the Crown Dependencies, we are implementing initiatives in our own business, as well as the local community, to stimulate further positive change and drive real action. We have been taking steps to reduce our direct and indirect emissions. On the journey there are easy fixes - such as LED lighting reducing emissions and electricity cost – and those that are more fundamental and require real investment. For example, following our emissions assessment we identified that staff commuting was our largest emissions contributor. Flexible working will naturally reduce the level of commuting, however, to minimise our carbon offsets in the future, we need to adjust mindsets. These include installation of new shower facilities and bike storage, so our people can walk or cycle to work with less barriers and public transport awareness which costs us nothing but would make a big impact. It is important for companies to understand the easy wins, which involve cultural change and those that need business model shifts.
For many years, KPMG have partaken in beach and park clean ups, and these are still important, but fundamental changes need to happen if the world is to avoid further warming. Under IMPACT, through its focus and structure, we are working with local charities and our governments on developing carbon capture and nature based solutions – be it rewilding of unused agricultural areas or developing seagrass meadows, potentially as powerful as rainforests in carbon capture.
Our People IMPACT team has provided greater focus on our efforts to enhance our caring, inclusive and values-led culture. We have been a long-standing advocate of equal opportunities and diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as continued leadership development programmes and improving representation of underrepresented groups in leadership positions, but we can always do more. We want our workforce to be empowered to build their careers to suit them through a programme of learning opportunities, specially curated to open up a greater variety of career pathways and allowing employees to choose their own working arrangements. Ultimately we need to change our boardroom inclusivity and thus giving consideration to the working environment, offering new and dynamic ways of working in the office and positively enhancing wellbeing in the workplace are all steps in the right direction.
The impact we have in our local communities has been a core focus for many years before CSR was even a term – we have provided financial aid as well as our skills and time. Pro-bono time spent like teaching children’s skills that they can use for the rest of their lives or working with NGO’s on how to accelerate their worthwhile projects is appreciated by those we support and it’s very rewarding for our people.
Supporting communities remains core to our purpose, and under IMPACT can be broader. We are driving positive business practices, both internally and externally, working with government to embed ESG principles in society and using our skills and expertise to aid the third sector achieve their goals. There are many more ways that companies can help our communities beyond the much-needed charitable funding – such as promoting buying local and championing living wage to set the right example to influence others and drive change for the better.
Simply put ‘To do the right thing, the right way with no regrets’. Ethics, independence and integrity already lie at the heart of our business. Our governance plans hold us accountable against our commitments made in the other 3 pillars, ensuring we are prioritising and delivering on our policies and plans across the ESG spectrum. Doing things in the right way, means they are right for everyone –people, clients, communities, and partners. We have created a Stakeholder Council, reporting to our board, consisting of KPMG people from all levels and backgrounds – giving everyone a voice and a stake in the future direction of the firm. Already there are fresh ideas and innovations that may not have happened before.
Whether you're a large corporate or a small company, ESG is proportionate to every business. Through our four-pillar approach, we’re actively embedding ESG perspectives into everything we say and do. We believe we are at the forefront of sustainable change and are driving forward a movement for companies to think about their impact. Because how you grow matters.