Serving clients and sustaining our business in an ethical and responsible way

marketplace

To get an understanding of how PwC commits to our role in the marketplace, learn about:

Our role as professional service providers
At PwC, we play a significant role in the world’s capital markets and take pride that our services help to improve the credibility, transparency and reliability of financial statements and information that help guide investors and stakeholders to make informed decisions.

 

Fashion Takes Action's Kelly Drennan describes planning a socially responsible event with PwC's help.

We have a responsibility to uphold and embody ethics, transparency and integrity within all aspects of our work. We have an ability to be leaders in developing trust within business, and to use our skills and relationships to influence the marketplace to promote more ethical and responsible behaviour. By exemplifying responsible leadership, we can make a difference to the success of our clients, people and communities and illustrate the ways that sustainability is a core component of strong governance and organizational accountability.

Our marketplace initiatives in FY2013 reflect our ongoing efforts to integrate good corporate responsibility practices into our own business operations and to look for opportunities to lead the debate on issues impacting our profession. To that end, we are strengthening our understanding of which PwC defined sectors are most exposed to risks extending from environmental, social and governance issues through the development of a new heat map. We are also continuing to develop thought leadership publications on a variety of topics including trust in business, marketplace transformations and regulatory compliance to support our clients in addressing emerging marketplace issues. For the second year, we have undertaken an economic impact analysis to help quantify our firm’s impact on the marketplace, as well as provided a detailed summary of how our firm’s sponsorships are creating tangible impacts for our communities.

How we do business
We continued to review our responsible business policies and processes within the firm during FY2013 to help improve our governance frameworks and to ensure we provided formal opportunities for our employees to talk about important workplace issues. We ascertained that no updates to our responsible business policies were required at this time.

Building on a review of our corporate contributions policies in FY2012, we standardized definitions, current spending and decision making frameworks at a local level in FY2013. This work has helped to improve communications with stakeholders and to enhance transparency related to our decision-making processes.

Our focus on ethics and transparency
A key component of our overall CR strategy is supporting strong ethical and transparent business practices across the entire enterprise and all that we do. One of the ways we do this is by developing our people’s responsible leadership skills, but we have numerous other initiatives. These include:

 These include:

  • Our code of conduct
  • Ethics hotlines
  • E-learn sessions
  • Risk management
  • Canadian independence training
  • Anti-money laundering training
  • Privacy policies
  • Obligations to report under rules of professional conduct

We also have an ethics and business conduct leader who provides oversight to our reporting processes. Each year, all of our people are required to participate in interactive independence training sessions as well as complete an annual confirmation with respect to their personal responsibilities as they relate to independence and firm compliance. In FY2013 we achieved a 100% completion of compliance confirmation (FY2012: 100%).

Assurance Quality and Methodology webinars and shorts
We continued to deliver our annual Audit and Assurance Technical Update Program during FY2013 and engaged more than 1,500 partners and staff in our Audit and Assurance Group through eight Assurance Quality and Methodology (AGM) webinars. New this year was the provision of a series of AQM shorts (5 to 15 minutes in length) for teams to use on the job to address common questions on key audit topics. A key focus in FY2013 was to provide this training to our staff working on client sites to help enhance the value and quality of our work.

Virtual Tax Training
Building on our success in FY2012, we hosted a second Virtual Tax Conference and provided virtual training on Tax Knowledge over a one-week period to 590 PwC partners and managers. For the first time, this year we also included 40 external clients in the training programs and solicited feedback from all participants. Results were positive, with 80% of participants stating they would recommend the conference to others. In addition, we also received a 2012 Virtual Communication Excellence Award from ON24, a webcasting and virtual events solutions company. This award recognizes organizations that pushed the boundaries of virtual communication and defined best practices for the industry. Nominee evaluations were based on return on investment, immersiveness, branding impact and achievement of business objectives including quality.

Private Company Services (PCS) outlook
We hosted a series of regional events throughout FY2013 with the purpose of sharing perspectives, learning and collaborating with colleagues across our lines of service specific to Private Company Services. The sessions focused on sharing the upcoming year’s business priorities, the past year’s lessons learned and wins, as well as key learnings to assist partners and staff in becoming highly effective in their roles and in client engagements. The sessions balanced national and regional priorities, focus areas and ran in their entirety in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Sessions also ran in various regional offices, either in entirety or portions key to that region’s needs. This work will continue in FY2014.

Consulting foundations for the future
We launched a new onboarding program for new graduates entering our Consulting practice in Calgary and Toronto called Foundations for the Future. Designed to build strong and consistent base-line consulting skills in our junior staff as well as create opportunities that empower them to deliver high-value client experiences, the program has two main components. First is an eight-day formal learning experience upon arrival to the firm, which introduces networking opportunities and real-life client simulations. The second component is on-the-job learning opportunities over the course of the year including rotations in different Consulting groups, numerous client engagements, monthly Lunch and Learn sessions and quarterly peer-to-peer review meetings with coaches, Learning and Development and Human Resources. We completed the first year of a two-year program during FY2013 and received positive feedback from participants as well as their business units. We will be looking at longer term measures of success during FY2014 and reporting back on our progress.

Our role in creating a sustainable society
PwC is the market leader in providing sustainability services to large global organizations. Our sustainability teams operate in more than 40 countries helping organizations integrate sustainable business practices into the very fabric of their processes, systems and supply chains. We provide assistance to clients to build business value by evaluating the entire sustainability picture—challenges and opportunities— and incorporating effective solutions for CR programs, climate change, CR reporting, and chain of custody/supply chain risk management and sustainability management systems.

Our Canadian practice is part of a global Sustainable Business Solutions (SBS) network comprised of 500 practitioners in 40 countries, serving 50 of the Fortune 100 companies. As we strive to be catalysts for change, we have provided Consulting and Deals, Tax and Audit and Assurance services through our SBS practice to a wide range of clients since the 1990s. Our clients are from a range of industries including retail, entertainment and media, mining, energy and utilities and forest and paper.

We are also proud to have achieved accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a Greenhouse Gas Verification body, as well as accreditation as a certification body for the Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody Standard.

Our responsible business heat map
We strengthened our understanding about which PwC defined sectors, competencies and services are most exposed to risks extending from environmental, social and governance issues. We developed a responsible business heat map to help visualize these risks and opportunities and found that the top areas to embed sustainability in our current service offerings included Audit, Risk & Controls and Transaction Services practices. This work complemented initiatives occurring at a PwC global level looking at Corporate Responsibility with the audit process, and we plan on creating a process document to help us embed this work more deeply in FY2014.

Catalytic dialogues and thought leadership
As a way to help lead conversations related to our corporate responsibility initiatives and the ways we’ve integrated this into our business operations, we launched the following conversations in FY2013:

  • PwC’s Vision to Reality Conference is our firm’s exclusive forum for emerging Canadian technology companies. In FY2013, we provided an opportunity for 450 entrepreneurs from across Canada to forge new relationships, meet potential new business partners and to discuss the results of our annual survey and report on the emerging technology company space.
    The morning sessions at this year’s conference consisted of workshops for pre-selected applicants to access mentorship opportunities led by some of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs. Moving into the afternoon, there was an open session for the entire start-up community, consisting of a series of insightful and inspirational talks by leading entrepreneurs and innovators on themes affecting the industry. This conference will take place again in FY2014.
  • PwC’s 16th Annual Global CEO Survey aimed to inform and stimulate the debate on how businesses are facing today’s challenges. The survey was conducted during FY2013 and interviewed more than 1,300 of the world’s chief executives in 60 countries, including 120 in Canada. This year’s survey looked at key items on CEO agendas around the world including confidence in growth, current threats like the availability of talent and approaches to leadership.