Rio+20: Deloitte + Me, Contributing to the global sustainability dialogue
By Ryan Morgan - June 20, 2012
The world is quite literally coming together in Rio for a few days 20-22 June to build consensus on a more sustainable course for our planet. The unifying event is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which has a much more catchy title: Rio+20.
Organized by the United Nations, Rio+20 will enable thousands of government participants as well as many from the private sector—including Deloitte—to play a critical role in creating some innovative business solutions with long-lasting social and environmental impact. A related event being held in Brazil’s second largest city in the days leading up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development is the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, which will focus more on the business contribution to sustainable development. The number “20” is a reference to the years since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio where many countries rallied for the first time around a blueprint for economic growth that would consider social equity and environmental issues.
Needless to say, a lot has changed in 20 years, and I am excited to play a role in these significant public policy and business discussions. My “day job” with Deloitte is manager in the AERS Advisory Business Risk practice, serving Deloitte U.S. member firm clients in the Life Sciences industry through the Governance, Regulatory and Risk Strategies (GRRS) and Financial Operations and Controls Transformation (FOCT) market offerings. However, my exposure to the Rio+20 Conference is through a pro bono secondment to the UN Global Compact. The Global Compact helps businesses align their strategies and operations with key principles around human rights, the environment, poverty, and anti-corruption.
Deloitte’s role in Rio+20 comes as a result of our tradition of providing pro bono assistance to our long-time client, the UN, and more specifically in this case because of our firm’s commitment to our sustainability member firm clients. Deloitte’s sustainability practices are focused on helping companies rethink business fundamentals around thoughtful growth, resource efficiency, and environmental impact. I consider myself fortunate to have this opportunity early in my career to clear my head of “business as usual” thinking and instead to envision the possibility of helping create a new way of thinking about responsible business practices—about the future; maybe even an entirely new paradigm.
In my advisory work at Deloitte LLP, the U.S. member firm, my team constantly challenges clients to consider new and better ways to think about their approaches to people, processes, and technologies. Companies that wait, we caution, may find themselves spending more time and money later on playing catch up. The same can be said about getting a leg up on sustainability issues. Rio+20 aims to build more global agreement among public and private institutions about a sustainable future path for development, growth, and cost savings. I’m learning a lot about the rewards to be found in the game-changing opportunities presented by our consulting work in the areas of water stewardship, climate change, supply chain efficiency, emissions reduction, and energy access, to name just a few.
I’m proud that Deloitte is a major player—an increasingly well-recognized brand—in this space. If I can help contribute to the dialogue that sustainability is a driver—not a constraint—for innovative thinking and growth then my work on Rio+20 planning and logistics will have been very professionally fulfilling on many levels.
Ryan Morgan is an Advisory Business Risk Manager for Deloitte LLP. He is a Life Sciences professional providing Governance, Regulatory & Risk Strategies and Finance Operations & Controls Transformation services to U.S. member firm life science and health care clients. His engagement work primarily focuses on finance and procure-to-pay transformation, internal controls integration, enterprise risk management services, financial and operational audits of internal control environments, and compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He is also a Certified Internal Auditor.