24 posts categorized "Sustainability & Climate Change"

October 01, 2015

A unique opportunity for the private sector: reflecting on United Nations General Assembly week

UngaI feel very proud and deeply privileged to have had an opportunity to represent Deloitte colleagues at a number of events coinciding with United Nations General Assembly week. It is a historic week for the United Nations, celebrating its 70th Anniversary and announcing the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals point to a significant change at the United Nations. Unlike with the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nations has recognized the importance of the private sector in the global development agenda. It can be seen not only in goal 17, which highlights the significance of partnerships, but also in the amount of side events during the week that included the private sector, such as the Solutions Summit. The discussions during these events sent a clear message – the private sector has a fundamental role to play in achieving the SDGs.

On Monday, 28th September, Deloitte hosted an event in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation, which brought together senior executives and social sector leaders to discuss how companies can incorporate social impact into their business in the context of the SDGs. It was an inspiring and insightful discussion, and I believe, one of many more to come. The private sector is increasingly engaged in delivering social impact, as Deloitte research “Driving corporate growth through social impact” published this week indicates. The research shows that with the changing global landscape, social impact plays an integral role in helping businesses remain competitive and find new growth opportunities. Creating a more just, sustainable, and prosperous future for all is now a business imperative, and the private sector is increasingly working together with governments and civil society on innovative, collaborative solutions to global challenges.

Pope Francis’ address to the General Assembly sent a powerful message about the urgency and importance of addressing societal and environmental issues. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited CEO Punit Renjen joined other business leaders in supporting Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change. This encyclical highlights the increasing importance of addressing environmental and societal challenges created by climate change, and the role business can play by using innovation, scale, and entrepreneurial spirit to contribute to solutions.

Deloitte has a long history of collaborating across sectors to help drive global development efforts. One example is a project recently delivered pro bono with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, focused on strengthening the United Nations’ pipeline of diverse leaders for senior roles in the humanitarian and development sectors.

I believe the celebrations during United Nations General Assembly week marked a truly historic moment towards a better world, but this is just the beginning. The private sector has been actively engaged in the development and the adoption of the sustainable development agenda, and many business leaders see societal impact as integral to their business strategy, in a way I have never seen before. Achieving the SDGs will require continued commitment, focused action, innovation, and collaboration. I look forward to contributing to this journey over the next 15 years of their implementation.

Chip-cottrellJames “Chip” Cottrell is a partner in with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the U.S. and China and a UK Chartered Accountant as well as Chartered Global Management Accountant. Chip has served as the functional leader of Deloitte’s U.S. Federal practice and currently serves as the Deloitte Global Lead Client Service Partner for the United Nations system as well as a co-chair of a United Nations Global Compact Committee on Anti-Corruption.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

September 21, 2015

Celebrating the United Nations’ Global Goals: driving innovation and collaboration


This week, world leaders are coming together at the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will guide and catalyze worldwide development efforts over the next 15 years. This is a key opportunity for the United Nations Member States, civil society, and the private sector to come together and align efforts to address the biggest global challenges. I am excited to participate in the events that will convene leaders from different sectors to celebrate the adoption of the United Nations’ Global Goals, and to collaborate on innovative new solutions to drive positive change in achieving the Post-2015 agenda.

Deloitte has long been committed to addressing global issues. It is part of Deloitte’s culture, and an illustration of our Purpose–to make an impact that matters. With the Post-2015 agenda, this commitment is unwavering. I believe that only through innovative approaches, identifying solutions that can be scaled, and collaborating across sectors and borders that countries and organizations can truly achieve sustainable development. Today’s innovative solutions cut across the traditional boundaries separating non-profits, government, and for-profit businesses. The private sector has an opportunity, and a responsibility, to make a powerful contribution. 

Deloitte invests in numerous programs and initiatives to improve our own sustainability and contribute to driving societal impact, and many of these align to the SDGs, for example:

Goal #4 Quality education
Since 2009, Deloitte has been committed to identifying and investing in innovative solutions that enhance access to education and skills building for young people. In the past three years alone, programs supported by Deloitte member firms have reached more than one million young people, and annually these firms have invested an aggregate of approximately US$50 million towards educational initiatives.

Goal #5 Gender equality
A priority for Deloitte is attracting, retaining, developing, and advancing women to leadership positions. Deloitte supports the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). This year, in recognition of proactive commitment to gender equality, Deloitte Canada CEO Frank Vettese received a WEP Leadership Award. Many Deloitte member firms, from the Middle East, to the US and beyond, have programs focused on gender equality. Deloitte US CEO Cathy Engelbert’s appointment as the first female CEO of a major accounting and consulting firm in the US illustrates the inclusiveness of Deloitte’s own culture.

Goal #13 Protect the planet
In response to climate change risks, many member firms have focused on reducing impacts through environmental programs and employee engagement. A number of Deloitte member firms have established absolute or intensity carbon reduction targets for operations to sharpen their focus on achieving lower greenhouse gas emissions. Deloitte’s largest opportunities for protecting the planet, however, result from the work of more than 800 sustainability specialists across the Deloitte network helping member firm clients transition to sustainable business models and practices.

I am also focused on supporting Deloitte to play its part within this initiative through the work our member firms do for their clients. Deloitte helps clients solve challenging problems, and the United Nation’s Global Goals are no exception. We bring to bear the skills of some of the world’s brightest minds from across the global network to work on all areas of the sustainable development goals, and to make an impact that matters. One example of how we make a positive impact in society is through the Deloitte Humanitarian Innovation Program. Professionals of Deloitte member firms collaborate with the humanitarian organizations, combining their diverse skills and expertise to co-create and implement innovative solutions to enhance the sector’s ability to prepare for, and respond to humanitarian crises.

How we collaborate across sectors on innovative solutions, and how our member firms help clients will determine where the Deloitte network can have the most impact. Living our Purpose, and encouraging clients to be purpose driven by delivering on the SDGs in all areas of their business, and collaborating across sectors so they can grow, is how Deloitte plans to respond in substantive ways to the Post-2015 Agenda.


David Pearson is the Chief Sustainability Officer for DTTL. Dave leads innovative programs which demonstrate Deloitte’s commitment to driving societal change and promoting environmental sustainability. Collaborating with government, non-profit organizations, and civil society, the Deloitte network is designing and delivering solutions that contribute to a sustainable and prosperous future for all. Dave has more than 20 years’ experience in both public accounting and private industry. From 2007–2011 he served as CEO of Deloitte CIS, which covers 11 countries in the former Soviet Union.

“Deloitte”, “we”, “us”, and “our” refer to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. See additional information.

September 22, 2014

Cross-sector collaboration: essential to protect Brazil’s rainforest

ForestBrazil’s Amazon is famous worldwide for its natural resources and environmental importance. Yet its preservation is being threatened by the social challenges faced by people in the region.

This was the scenario addressed by an unprecedented study, “Social Progress Index in the Brazilian Amazon.” The research was conducted by the Imazon research institute in partnership with Social Progress Imperative, and the Avina Foundation. The study was prepared by #Progesso Social Brasil, a network organised by Deloitte Brazil and Avina, focused on bring different sectors of society together to drive social progress and wellbeing.

The 2014 Amazon Social Progress Index report showed that social progress in the region is significantly lower than the rest of the country. It shows that the region has a general Social Progress Index score of 57.31, lower than the national average of 67.73, based on a range that goes from 0 (worst level of social progress) to 100 (best). In the evaluation 772 municipalities in the region, 98.5% had a Social Progress Index score lower than the average of Brazil.

Knowing the challenges facing people in the Amazon region is the first step--a lack of opportunities was found to be the most pressing problem Amazon residents faced--but addressing these issues is the next step and this requires all our efforts, including businesses.

At Deloitte we believe that business has the power and responsibility to help build a robust and prosperous society. Business serves human needs and desires, creating vital products and services, which drive social and economic development. Thus a thriving society requires thriving businesses and for business to thrive over a sustained period, it needs to operate in a prosperous society.

Yet, the complexity of the big societal challenges demands collaboration. At Deloitte, we are working as part of #Progresso Social Brasil, to bring different sectors of society together--different businesses, but also civil society and philanthropic organizations, government bodies and academia, to better drive social progress. Collaboration is essential if we are to tackle complex problems such as deforestation and communities with too little opportunity. Regardless of sector, it is imperative that all of us begin to ask ourselves what societal problems we our best positioned to tackle and how we can work with others to drive change.

OLIVEIRA EduardoEduardo de Oliveira is a Financial Advisory Partner and the Public Sector leader for Deloitte Brazil. He has 24 years of experience working for Deloitte, leading teams focused on valuations, acquisitions processes, fixed asset strategic management and privatization.

October 08, 2013

Companies must play a role in driving social progress

BgI recently attended the Ethos Conference in Sao Paolo, Latin America's largest conference on sustainability and social responsibility. Hosted by Instituto Ethos, a Brazilian not-for-profit with over 1,300 member companies, the event was full of fascinating insights into the rise of sustainable business in Latin America. However, the key reason for my visit was to attend the launch of the 2013 Social Progress Index in Brazil.

The Index is the first initiative of the Social Progress Imperative (SPI), a not-for-profit with whom Deloitte has established a strategic alliance. The mission of SPI is to advance global human wellbeing, by combining national social performance and capacity indicators with solutions-oriented outreach to sector leaders, and grassroots champions, who together can effect large-scale change. The 2013 Index ranks 50 countries across the globe by their level of ‘social progress’. The methodology, designed by Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School and Scott Stern at MIT, is a response to a growing recognition that GDP alone is not an adequate measure of a country’s wellbeing. The Index is an attempt to address this by creating a measure that focuses solely on societal and environmental indicators. 

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October 03, 2013

Reflections from the World Economic Forum’s Impact Investing Initiative

This article was co-written with Carolien de Bruin and Joel Bryce.

Plant in a money pot ind_fsi_glb_ho_237_hiSeptember marked the completion of Phase 1 of a year-long initiative in which the World Economic Forum (The Forum) engaged Deloitte on its Mainstreaming Impact Investing initiative. The purpose of the initiative was two-fold:(1) Better understand whether the buzz and excitement with impact investing is more than “a flash in the pan” and if it represents a structural shift in how investments are made, especially as it relates to mainstream or institutional investors; and (2) Assess who are making impact investments, and – as importantly – who are not, today.

In this context, impact investing, in its simplest form, is leveraging one’s investment portfolio to intentionally create social value (of course, and financial returns).  Going into this initiative, we knew that many high net-worth individuals, foundations, and development organizations look to create social and environmental value with their investment portfolio. However, we were keen to understand whether “mainstream investors” such as pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, university endowments, and other large-scale asset owners were making a play in the space, and if not, why.

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June 23, 2012

Rio+20 demonstrates that we’re “headed in the right direction”

Dttl_antsonbranchAs more than a week of activities at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) concluded yesterday, I think everyone who contributed thought leadership, put their and their organization’s support behind conference goals, and supported the sessions should be happy with where the conference ended: that is, happy that change is happening and that we are headed in the right direction, but not, in my opinion, content to think the work is done.

As you know from our messages over the past week, Rio+20 set out to help shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty, and advance social equity and environmental protection.  Along those lines, those of us who participated in a related conference over the past several days—the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum (CSF)—had three specific goals in mind:

  • Set the stage for further growth for companies engaged in sustainable development
  • Demonstrate that many solutions for sustainable development already exist
  • Demonstrate concrete, tangible action on a massive scale

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June 22, 2012

Integrating sustainability and the environment into an effective business education

Green appleRio is an exciting cosmopolitan city but even this dynamic and festive city received a jolt of activity when 5,000 registrants arrived this week for the much-anticipated United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). One of my first activities after I arrived was to take part in the “Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Summit” which preceded the official opening of Rio+20. 

As many of you know, education is a primary global focus for corporate responsibility at Deloitte, so it was energizing to hear discussions around the future role of business management education in creating the society we all want and deserve. The PRME initiative is a partnership of a number of academic and public sector international organizations that support the notion of business schools having a unique niche at the forefront of innovation for sustainable development. These groups believe that action must be taken now to envision and implement a business education construct that adequately takes sustainability issues and the environment into consideration of how business gets done.

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June 21, 2012

Ready Set Go! Rio+20 starts

Green bottlesAnd so it starts!  What an especially exciting time to be in Rio de Janeiro!  I am here for some of the numerous events being held over the next few days in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the original Rio summit on the environment held here in 1993.  In fact, this week's much-anticipated event has been given the catchy name of "Rio+20," because of this milestone year.  The more formal name is the United Nations Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum and it kicks off this evening with an opening ceremony and reception.

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June 20, 2012

Rio+20: Deloitte + Me, Contributing to the global sustainability dialogue

Rio de JaneiroThe 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. 

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June 07, 2012

The future of renewable energy

Solar image The future of renewable energy has been cast into doubt this past year. Natural gas prices have dropped significantly due to new technology that enables formerly uneconomic resources to be reached, creating a lower price bar that renewable energy must meet. The global financial situation has caused many jurisdictions to reduce or eliminate subsidies for renewable power, which has slowed the expansion of projects. Combined with opposition in many regions to the construction of wind turbines, one could wonder if the enthusiasm for renewable energy was an unsustainable short-term phenomenon.

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