63 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

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.

November 25, 2014

G20: Insights from the Social Progress Index 2014


The G20 provides a valuable opportunity for leaders to discuss a wide range of global economic issues and to use their collective power to make a difference. The G20’s immediate task is breaking the cycle of low growth, including diminished business and consumer confidence.

A common observation we have is that governments are at, or close to, the limits of macroeconomic policy responses. We observe now there exists a challenge for governments they need to think beyond the usual macroeconomic levers to support social progress. I believe growth on its own without social progress is an empty goal.

In the past we have seen that traditional approaches to solving society’s most complex and challenging social problems have are not been sustainable. These complex problems take time to come to fruition, therefore we need to apply fresh thinking and to act with a sense of urgency.

There is a growing recognition of the need to measure progress over and above GDP to understand the sustained impact of any growth strategies. A more holistic framework of progress measures is needed. Deloitte is working with the Social Progress Imperative, a non–profit which is driving the global debate on measuring what matters most to advance progress through their Social Progress Index (SPI). Designed to complement GDP, and other economic indicators, this new index measures a country’s social and environmental strengths and weaknesses to help prioritise investment decisions.

By examining the SPI indicators and comparing G20 countries we demonstrate the ways in which the SPI can be used to unlock opportunities for true growth in Australia and examples of how these opportunities could be solved through the solution economy. Of the 40 G20 countries the Netherlands, Sweden and Canada ranked the highest in terms of social progress, among G20 countries Australia ranked 6th on the SPI.

Australia’s key social challenges identified through the SPI, when compared to other G20 countries including:

  • Affordable housing: in Australia housing affordability has continued to decline. 862,000 lower income households were experiencing housing stress, comprising 15.8 per cent of all Australian households and 28.2 per cent of low income households in 2002–035. In addition 105,237 people in Australia were homelessness in 2011.
  • Adult literacy: even though Australia does well on the high level measure, there are problematic trends below the surface. In 2011–12 around 3.7% (620,000) of Australians aged 15 to 74 years had literacy skills estimated at below Level 1, with a further 10% (1.7 million) at Level 1 and 30% (5.0 million) at Level 2 (noting that the assessment scale ranges between below Level 1 – the lowest rating – and Level 5).
  • Obesity: the growing trend in overweight and obesity is reflected in Australia. Between 2007–08 and 2011–12, the rate of adult overweight and obesity significantly increased nationally to nearly two thirds (from 61.1% to 63.2%). Children are also affected with a quarter (25.3%) of children (aged 5–17 years) being overweight or obese in 2011–12, (17.7% overweight and 7.6% obese).

I am excited to deliver some  good news: governments, non-government organisations, individual investors and the private sector have been moving towards the solution economy. This will provide new ideas and solutions to social problems, improved communication and collaboration to break down historical silos and unlock true growth. There is a real opportunity to bring new approaches and perspectives to solving society’s most complex challenges, to take an outcomes based focus and collaborate to deliver improved outcomes. If we are to realise the benefit of solving these issues we need to act swiftly and united.

Au-andrew-johnstone-burt-1x1Andrew Johnstone-Burt is the national leader of Deloitte Australia's public sector group. He has a range of specialist skills across policy reform and fiscal sustainability in the public sector in Australia, United Kingdom, and Europe. Along with 10 years’ military service, Andrew has more than 20 years’ advisory experience in strategy, people, change and ICT. He is regarded as a trusted adviser for a number of Australian federal and state government departments.

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.

June 12, 2014

East Asia: What engines of growth need

WEF EA post blogIn his opening address at the World Economic Forum on East Asia, Vietnamese Prime Minster Nguyen Tan Dung said that efforts to boost the region’s engines of growth are needed to help reinvigorate slowing growth rates. And according to a number of other leaders at the event, there are a variety of ways to achieve this.

Chief among these is the growth-enhancing potential of ASEAN’s full economic integration in 2015. The ability to function as one industrial and production base was seen by leaders as critical to the region’s competitive advantage—putting it possibly on par with the regional power of the European Union. ASEAN’s ability to participate and negotiate as one region in a range of free-trade agreements—including the Trans Pacific Partnership and the bilateral ASEAN Plus One agreements—also provides considerable opportunity to attract foreign investment to its markets. With the burgeoning middle class of a country like Indonesia—where consumers are now more and more in a position to buy cars and electronics—the draw is strong.

Leaders at WEF East Asia also pointed to the importance of regulatory reform as a means to spur growth and competitiveness.  To this end, a minister from Cambodia touted his country’s receptivity to investment, noting that “every sector is open to FDI” and that there are no “alien investor” laws in his country. One Malaysian government official emphasized that his government is “pushing hard” for reforms to improve competitiveness. Already, ASEAN countries have made significant progress on lowering barriers in the trade in goods across the region—with tariffs on more than 99 percent of goods expected to be at zero by 2015. ASEAN is now working on liberalizing regulations pertaining to services to ease access across borders in such sectors as banking.

The focus on services and the difficulty of moving to this next stage, however, points to a continuing stumbling block in ASEAN’s ability to function as one region—the lack of connectivity. Not only do services like finance need a strong ICT network to facilitate transactions and connectivity among countries, businesses in both services and the manufacture of goods alike need well-developed physical transport to ease movement in this geographically dispersed area. The ASEAN Open Skies initiative, which will allow all airlines within ASEAN to compete on intra-ASEAN routes, is one initiative that aims to promote better connectivity among ASEAN nations and there is hope it will be implemented in 2015. But rail, roads, seaports, airports and broadband are all areas in need of investment. On the bright side, the scale of the transport infrastructure requirements—as a minister for transportation from Singapore noted—can represent a substantial opportunity for international financing institutions as well as for public-private partnerships.  

All of these efforts can accelerate the engines of growth and help rev up East Asian economies. But will they bring high-quality growth—that is, the kind that encourages innovation and stimulates quality job formation? There are indications that this may be the case. President Aquino in his opening address noted that the Philippines’ rates of employment for graduates in IT, business processing operations, and electronics exceed 70 percent, with some sectors exceeding 90 percent. And the greater competition that ASEAN economic integration brings is expected to spur businesses to become more innovative and compete more keenly for talent, according to the minister from Cambodia mentioned above.

However, there is one thing that all of these efforts to drive engines of growth need—and that’s stability. The prime minister from Vietnam made this clear in his remarks: “Development is not possible without peace and stability.” He pointed out that any disruption in the region’s shipping lanes—a distinct possibility given recent tensions with China—could mean major disruptions to East Asia’s economy and the world’s. So even if East Asia gets the engines of growth to again fire on all cylinders, the geo-political environment may turn out to be the most critical—and most challenging—factor holding the region back.

Dttl_garycoleman_56x56Gary Coleman is Managing Director, Global Industries, of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. He is a member of Deloitte’s Global Markets Committee and is the lead partner in Deloitte’s strategic relationship with the World Economic Forum. Follow him on Twitter @gcoleman_gary.

May 15, 2014

Nigeria’s new numbers

Nigerian flagRecently, the Nigerian government announced new GDP numbers that now make it the largest economy in Africa. Having overhauled economic data for the first time in two decades, the GDP figure rose by 89 percent from 2003 to 2010. It’s a number that caught the attention of the world and was much discussed at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, held last week in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja.

But is GDP really the best measure of success? If you listened to the debate at WEF, the answer is, probably not. Because when you look behind a remarkable number like that, you can see there are many factors not addressed by this figure—factors that provide clues as to how the economy is really unfolding and how it is impacting quality of life.

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April 09, 2014

Talent: the first step to innovation?

Post WEF LATAMBuilding innovation is one of those hot topics that yield all sorts of discussion about disruptive technology—the cloud, 3-D printing, social media, digital infrastructure, et cetera. But what spurs innovation may come down to something much more basic: talent. And at the World Economic Forum on Latin America  (WEF LATAM) last week, it was clear that participants from this region agree.

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January 28, 2014

Davos 2014: Optimism with a healthy dose of reality

Post-davos photoWith economic recovery seeming to finally take hold this year, I was not surprised that many of the Davos 2014 speakers sounded a positive note for the future. Nowhere was this more evident than in the remarks from country leaders. But these leaders understood that there is still a lot of work to be done—and it was striking how in sync they were when it came to the challenge going forward: building and sustaining growth.

South Korea is focusing on entrepreneurship and building a “creative economy,” where individuals are encouraged to start businesses and put “innovation into action,” according to President Park Geun-hye. Similarly, Liberia is making strategic investments in education and focusing on public-private partnerships to spur the rise of small and medium businesses. Mexico is working to promote start-ups by reforming fiscal policies to allow greater access to credit.

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January 27, 2014

Shaping the future together

Deloitte Davos Live video screen_300x200Times of global change require leaders with a global vision – leaders who inspire confidence and foster innovation. I see this attitude reflected in Davos. I have noticed a remarkable shift of attention at this year’s World Economic Forum. While the meetings in past years focused heavily on finance and the banking industry, representatives of the global technology industry are clearly the thought leaders now.

At the same time, politics seems to have been pushed into the background somewhat – especially, European representatives are less visible this year. But Europe’s image has not yet fully recovered after the Euro crisis and the world is closely watching how European banks will perform in the stress tests.

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January 21, 2014

Business must disrupt the status quo

Blog_joee_davos14_300x200It’s time for real change. It’s time for disruption.

In the last few years, the world has been lurching from financial crisis to financial crisis. As business leaders gathered last year at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, the U.S. government had just narrowly averted falling off the fiscal cliff. Less than a year later, the U.S. found itself in a similar situation, which resulted in the third-longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Despite all of this, in the U.S., and globally, there have been positive signs of economic recovery and business growth. Momentum continues and that is why I’m optimistic for the upcoming year.

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