Corporate responsibility (CR) is embedded in both what PwC does and the role we play to influence and engage others.
At PwC, we believe in being part of the global conversation and movement towards responsible business practices that create positive change in the world. And responsible business practices, such as ethics, integrity, independence and transparency, have always been at the heart of who we are.
Our relationships span almost every sphere of business and public life – from individual entrepreneurs to governments – so we can help others to evolve and operate as responsible businesses.
PwC’s Corporate Responsibility agenda focuses on the material issues for the PwC business and incorporates widely accepted CR best practices, linking them to our core business strategy. Our CR agenda operates on two central principles:
Do the right thing, which means playing our part in responsible business issues that are central to our business – from the quality of our services and the diversity of our people, to our engagement with communities and our environmental footprint.
Be a catalyst for change, which is about using our skills, voice, and relationships to work with others and influence activities that make a difference, create change and have a lasting impact on the world around us.
We apply these principles to areas where we can have the greatest impact: responsible business, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and environmental stewardship.
|At PwC, we believe in being part of the global conversation and movement towards responsible business practices that create positive change in the world.|
We recognise that today’s most important business opportunities lie in society’s biggest challenges – ranging from helping businesses become more transparent, trusted and fair, to the management of increasingly scarce natural resources. That’s why we use our skills to act as a catalyst for wider change in business and society. This includes creating services and solutions that help companies become more sustainable, and collaborating closely with clients, regulators and other organisations to develop sustainable practices and reporting standards.
There are many examples of our commitment to responsible business. PwC firms in four countries organise awards that promote trust and transparency in the NGO sector. And in 2012, PwC Germany has gone a step further by creating the PwC Transparency Check, an online tool available globally that enables NGOs to generate a free and anonymous self-evaluation of their own reporting, highlighting areas for improvement.
|The project helped to shape the new sustainable development strategy that Accor announced in April 2012, including 21 measurable targets for all its hotels to achieve by 2015.|
A good example of our contribution to the creation of new sustainability standards is PwC France’s work with Accor – one of the world’s leading hotel operators – to develop a comprehensive methodology for measuring its environmental footprint. The project helped to shape the new sustainable development strategy that Accor announced in April 2012, including 21 measurable targets for all its hotels to achieve by 2015.
PwC France also facilitated a review of the new methodology by a panel of independent life-cycle and sustainable tourism experts, and Accor has now made the results available through its knowledge-sharing platform, Earth Guest Research.
Drawing on the insights developed through its work with Accor, PwC France is now providing its expertise on a pro bono basis to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) global working group. This develops guidance on easier and more effective application of ISO life-cycle standards at an organisational level.
PwC Netherlands is also demonstrating leadership in responsible business through its participation in a pilot programme sponsored by the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The pilot programme’s purpose is to develop a new approach to corporate disclosure that integrates reporting on an organisation’s strategy, governance and financial performance with information regarding its social, environmental and economic impact.
This approach to corporate reporting – commonly called integrated reporting (IR) – can help businesses understand how their decisions may affect various stakeholder communities, and provide stakeholders with greater insight into corporate performance across a range of measures.
While PwC Netherlands is directly involved in the development of an integrated reporting framework through its participation in the IR pilot, the principles promoted by the IIRC are reflected in actions taken by many PwC firms across the world.
At PwC, we believe that the future of corporate reporting is integrated reporting – and that a recognition and understanding of sustainability-related issues must eventually be embedded across the entire spectrum of services we offer the marketplace.
In light of that, leaders of our sustainability practice have launched a series of workshops aimed at raising awareness among PwC partners of global, regional and local CR issues. In this way, we’re providing our partners with the tools they need to help clients apply responsible approaches to all their business functions.
To create value for clients and communities we have to build and maintain strong relationships among people who possess a variety of talents, experiences and backgrounds. Globally, diversity and inclusion are integral to our people and business goals.
Spearheaded by our global chairman Dennis Nally and senior partners from around the world, our Diversity and Inclusion Council drives our diversity and inclusion strategy.
With the encouragement of the Council we have developed various initiatives. For example, we are building on the success of a training programme for our Network Leadership Team which raised awareness of implicit assumptions and the impact on talent management. We are extending the programme to a broader range of partners this year.
And in association with the Women’s Forum and CNBC Creative Solutions, PwC representatives to the Women’s Forum in Deauville asked delegates, “What will women’s empowerment mean for men?” While inclusion must focus on providing more choice for certain classes of employees, we believe that the ultimate goal of diversity and inclusion should be greater opportunity for every member of our workforce.
PwC firms create value in their local communities by contributing their time, skills and resources to a variety of activities. The primary focus is on education and helping people to better develop the skills they need – a process known as ‘capacity building’.
For example, the US firm has leveraged the skills and knowledge of its people to increase proficiency in mathematics and financial literacy, and better prepare young people to make responsible decisions, be productive citizens and contribute to a healthier economy.
PwC can help to close the educational gap through targeted donations, skills-based volunteering, and partnerships with non-profits that are focused on improving youth education within and outside of the school day. This theme underpins PwC’s Earn Your Future, which was launched in the US in 2012.
Another focus for PwC is supporting capacity building within the NGO sector. PwC Poland and PwC Canada have recognised this need, and have adopted different approaches to supporting leadership development in the NGO sector.
The PwC Poland Foundation has developed ‘Two sectors – one vision’, a coaching programme for social leaders, run with the School for Leaders Association, as an effective and sustainable way of supporting the sector. PwC people are actively supported and encouraged to reach their potential through coaching and personalised development at every level. PwC Poland made use of this experience and created an innovative programme for NGOs involving coaching from PwC leaders.
Meanwhile, PwC Canada has created the Leadership Grants Program, which provides financial support for the professional development of staff and volunteers at small to medium-sized Canadian NGOs. Since the programme's launch in 2006, the PwC Canada Foundation has awarded over C$1,000,000 in grants to over 400 registered NGOs.
We create value by understanding and reducing our impact on the environment. We also make a positive influence through our work and thought leadership in this area.
For the past five years, PwC’s support in analysing and reporting for the Carbon Disclosure Project has helped some of the world’s largest companies provide investors with information and analysis regarding their carbon footprint. We also apply the same measurement to our own operations, and in the past year we’ve calculated 79% of our carbon footprint. Our local firms use this information to set their carbon reduction strategies, often underpinned by stringent environmental management and transparent reporting against targets – meaning we don’t just report the good news.
For example, PwC UK assessed its environmental performance in 2012 against challenging five-year targets, and achieved ‘zero-to-landfill’ in terms of waste, while also cutting its carbon emissions from energy use by almost 30%. But it hasn’t all been easy. The UK firm’s target for carbon emissions from client-facing air travel was missed and will be a continuing priority in future years. As a first step, PwC UK has launched a campaign to encourage web-conferencing as an alternative, and wants to collaborate with clients to find additional innovative solutions.
In the future, PwC UK’s targets include achieving 100% recycling by 2017, reducing all material and waste impacts by 50% and cutting total carbon emissions by 25%.
A further confirmation of PwC’s commitment to CR is that we’re a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) CEO Water Mandate, a public-private initiative that aims to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies. We’ve gone further than signing up by contributing our skills and expertise to the Mandate, to support the development of innovative new standards made available to all.
There’s a global conversation going on about what constitutes responsible corporate behaviour; how those behaviours can be embedded within organisations; and what sorts of measures should be used to determine CR’s worth. That’s a conversation that PwC is very much a part of – both within our own organisation and in conversations with clients, governments and NGOs.
We also recognise that discussions about CR can’t be limited to corporate boardrooms and think tanks. Employees, customers, vendors, and the man and woman on the street all have a stake in the matter – and something important to contribute to it, too.
So, engaging those communities – bringing them into the conversation – must be made part of the CR equation. That’s why engagement with our stakeholders is important to the way we think about and practise CR. In the end, we believe, inclusion and a diversity of ideas around CR is the best basis on which to create greater value for all.
Having become a signatory to the UNGC CEO Water Mandate, we decided to support its aims in the way that will have maximum impact: by contributing our knowledge and water subject matter expertise. PwC US has worked with the UN and a wide range of stakeholders – including the Carbon Disclosure Project, Global Reporting Initiative, and World Resources Institute – to analyse existing corporate water disclosure practices and to draft the first global corporate water disclosure guidelines. These were launched in August 2012 at World Water Week in Stockholm and are now publicly available to companies to help guide their water disclosure and management.
For companies just beginning to disclose on water-related issues, the guidelines can help them gather and analyse common data and incorporate the results into their respective sustainability or financial reports. For businesses with more progressive water management systems, the guidelines provide advanced metrics and guidance on how to report on such activities as engagement with NGOs, governments, suppliers and communities.
Trust, transparency and accountability are of growing importance in the NGO sector. They enable donors to make informed decisions about which organisations to support; keep staff and volunteers motivated; let directors demonstrate the integrity of their organisations; and build confidence among an often cynical public.
PwC has been promoting trust and transparency throughout the NGO sector for over seven years through the PwC Transparency Awards. The concept originated in the Netherlands, where the awards were launched by the Dutch firm in 2004 – and they have since been introduced by PwC firms in Australia, Germany, and Korea. Through collaboration with local experts such as the University of Göttingen in Germany and the Centre for Social Impact in Australia, our people use their skills to assess the award submissions and provide detailed feedback to the entrants to support further improvements in their reporting.
Many NGOs across the world have experienced the positive impacts on their reporting. Gina Anderson of the Centre for Social Impact in Australia comments: “As the PwC Transparency Awards enter their sixth year, their significance is becoming ever more important. They will be increasingly relevant with the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission this year.”
And Dr. Jürgen Heraeus, Chairman of the Board of the German National Committee for UNICEF, adds: “Winning PwC’s Transparency Award has been a very positive affirmation of UNICEF Germany’s efforts to be fully transparent and continuously nurture our donors’ trust. Detailed feedback given by the jury has been valuable, and we are fully committed to lead further on transparency efforts in the not-for-profit sector.”
Sustainability issues are becoming increasingly relevant as clients look to manage risk, improve efficiency or achieve growth in this globalised, transparent and highly connected economy.
Over the past year, PwC’s Global Sustainability Leader Malcolm Preston and his team have developed a sustainability awareness workshop targeted initially at PwC partners in five countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the UK and the US. Each workshop has been designed to enhance awareness of global, regional and local sustainability issues, how these issues impact on our clients, and the trends in strategies and initiatives adopted by leaders to address these challenges.
The most recent workshop was conducted in Brazil during the Rio+20 Earth Summit in which partners came together from PwC firms in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Ronaldo Valiño, PwC Brazil’s Mining Industry Leader, notes: “As a result of the workshop, I now know more about the broader sustainability issues that are impacting my clients and have learned how we at PwC can apply our expertise to help solve these issues while creating value.”
PwC firms in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the UK and the US have since adopted the workshop and the next wave of workshops is being planned for PwC participants throughout Europe and in Japan and Australia.
PwC US’s Earn Your Future is a US$160 million investment composed of US$60 million in cash donations and one million service hours worth US$100 million, to address youth education with a focus on financial literacy. This commitment will reach more than 2.5 million students and educators across the United States over the next five years.
This multi-year investment aims to unite educators, parents and communities to work collaboratively to improve financial literacy among students – a necessary competency to preparing our workforce of tomorrow and advancing our global economy.
PwC US has committed to leveraging the power of its 35,000 people and their core skills, to convey the importance of teaching financial responsibility and literacy in the classroom to equip students early on with the decision-making skills necessary to secure a successful financial future.
To support this endeavour, PwC US has developed a unique financial literacy curriculum, complete with 21 modules including interactive lessons, multimedia, and assessments for students aged 8 to 18. The curriculum is easily accessed online and free to download by teachers, parents and non-profit representatives worldwide to instruct on their own, or to receive experienced training facilitated by PwC US partners and staff. This branded curriculum empowers our people to use their talents and knowledge to develop the next generation while making a tangible impact on the economic landscape of the country.
Mohammed Asif Iqbal, a principal consultant in PwC India’s Kolkata office, is passionate about bringing disabled people into the workplace.
Born visually impaired owing to a genetic disorder, by 16 Asif had completely lost his sight. “My teachers and many people around me didn’t think I was meant for learning,” he says. Asif proved everyone wrong. At the age of 11, he moved to the US where he finished his primary and secondary education. He later became the first visually impaired person to graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata with a degree in commerce. He went on to become the first visually impaired person in India to gain an MBA in HR.
Asif’s been with PwC India since 2005, working with clients on human resource consulting assignments. Technology helps him to be fully effective: “My work is mostly done through talking software installed on my laptop and mobile phone. Whatever appears on my screen gets turned into an audio output.” Asif is involved in a number of initiatives to help disabled people in India join the workforce and build rewarding careers. This has earned him several awards, including the National Institute for the Visually Impaired’s 2011 Excellence award.
He is dedicated to helping business leaders understand that hiring people with disabilities makes business sense. “By 2020, I would like disabled people to make up 5% of the top 100 Indian companies’ workforce.” he says. An ambitious goal? Maybe... but considering Asif’s track record, it may well be just within reach.