KPMG launches multi-year programme to accelerate global solutions for ESG issues

  • KPMG to invest US$1.5 billion over the next three years in ESG initiatives
  • KPMG Regional ESG Hubs to be established in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas to support clients on their ESG journey
  • KPMG Emerging Markets Accelerators to deliver region-specific support and financing expertise to help developing nations
  • KPMG firms will co-create and deliver ESG services with an ecosystem of world-leading alliances

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 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.

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 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, 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 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 all of the KPMG organisation’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 organisation, 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 programme 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 global organisation is building on its collaboration with external organisations 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.

5. 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 programme will generate actionable insights to help accelerate the journey towards a more sustainable future.

Sustainable Futures & ESG

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 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.”

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.

To meet these net-zero ambitions, KPMG in Ireland has set its own targets, which have been approved by an independent third party, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and will see the firm commit to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2030, and to reduce scope 3 emissions by 30% over the same timeframe.*

Russell Smyth, Partner with Sustainable Futures, KPMG in Ireland added: “The sustainability agenda has progressed more in the past 18 months than during the previous 20 years. It has evolved from being an optional corporate social responsibility item to being the number one strategic priority for organisations globally. Embracing the ESG agenda isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s vital for business survival. That is why we have been investing heavily at KPMG Ireland in our Sustainable Futures practice, a dedicated cross-functional team of experts who are supporting corporates and public sector clients plan and execute programmes addressing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) topics, including decarbonisation and climate risk. KPMG’s global investment to accelerate ESG solutions will allow us to both enhance and develop our local offering and leverage the latest in Global thinking on this important topic.”

*  Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from company-owned and controlled resources, (e.g. fuels, heating sources)

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, from a utility provider - all GHG emissions released in the atmosphere, from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling.

Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain, including both upstream and downstream emissions linked to the company’s operations and include such items as business travel, employee commuting, waste generation, purchased goods and services.

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