Corporate responsibility

Using our skills to support non-profit organisations

Working with governments and society to achieve 'green growth'

Working with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)


PwC people involved in community activities


hours of professional services and skilled volunteering

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Of further interest

A strengthened approach to corporate responsibility at PwC

At PwC we believe in being part of it: part of the global conversation and movement towards responsible business practices that create positive change in the world. We set out our strategic intent as follows:

  • Doing the right thing, which means playing our part on 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.
  • Being 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.

To help us achieve these goals, last year we introduced a new global corporate responsibility (CR) strategy, which has now been rolled out to all PwC firms. This strategy is tailored to our specific strengths and opportunities as a network of professional services firms, and aims to leverage our skills to deliver measurable outcomes that create both business and social value.

The case studies in this section highlight some of the initiatives we have undertaken in both these areas over the past year.

Putting our global CR strategy into practice

With so many PwC firms operating in diverse parts of the world, each firm must set its local priorities.

However, we know that only by aligning behind a unified CR vision and approach will we be able to make the most of the impacts of our efforts.

With this in mind, the implementation tools below have been designed to support PwC firms in their local interpretation and implementation of the strategy.

View our Global CR strategy animation here

Our strategy implementation timeline

To support the implementation of our CR strategy, we have developed a timeline of milestones and key activities at the network level, taking us to the end of FY 2016.

Key stages on the path to full implementation include:

  • the publication and achievement of our CR commitments
  • extending the scope of our CR reporting
  • setting performance targets
  • firms measuring their progress against the ‘leadership ladders’.

Of course, firms across our network are at different stages of implementing their CR strategies, so some have already reached various milestones at a local level.

View our CR timeline

Making commitments

To support our CR strategy and communicate our intentions clearly to all of our stakeholders, we have put in place a number of commitments. These commitments are based on activities PwC firms will undertake to implement our CR strategy and will prepare our firms for future performance measurement, target setting and reporting.

Our CR commitments FY 2014-FY2016

These commitments reflect our strategy implementation timeline (FY 2014–FY 2016) for our 21 largest firms and relate to the implementation of our network CR strategy and enhancements to our CR reporting at the network level. Many of these commitments have already been achieved by our larger firms; however, we know that only by aligning behind a unified vision and approach across the network and collaborating to measure and manage what we do, will we maximise the impacts of our efforts.

To have a positive impact on the world around us, we will:

  1. Harness the power of our network to scale responsible business behaviours

    By the end of FY 2014, our 21 largest firms will align to the global CR strategy and use their skills, voice and relationships to be a catalyst for change through their CR activities. They will assess themselves against our CR leadership ladders and develop clear progression plans. Our largest firms will also set targets for improved performance in the questions relating to CR in PwC’s Global People Survey.

  2. Build an even more inclusive culture that values difference

    By the end of FY 2014, the leadership teams of our largest 21 firms will have conducted blind-spot awareness training in their businesses and a thorough demographic analysis to identify key local populations and understand barriers and enablers to diverse leadership. They will also undertake efforts to raise their people’s awareness of the importance of diversity and engage them in efforts to increase cultural dexterity.

    By the end of FY 2016, our largest 21 firms will put programmes in place to drive increased leadership diversity and the development of diverse staff.

  3. Increase the positive social impact of our community activities

    By the end of FY 2014, our largest 21 firms will provide opportunities for their people to take part in volunteering activities that involve the contribution of their professional skills.

    By the end of FY 2015, our largest 21 firms will pilot output and outcome-based performance measurement for their community activities.

  4. Manage our impact on the environment

    In line with our new global environmental statement, by the end of FY 2014, our largest 21 firms will each implement a local environmental policy and environmental management approach to minimise negative impacts.

  5. Enhance the transparency and relevance of our CR reporting

    By the end of FY 2014, our reporting at the network-level will be enhanced to include stakeholder engagement efforts undertaken by our largest 21 firms. These firms will also put in place enhanced internal reporting structures to improve the efficiency and accuracy of reporting on their on their CR performance.

    By the end of FY 2015, we will introduce performance-based targets for the network as a whole and during FY 2017, we will gain assurance on FY 2016 priority network key performance indicators.

Our leadership ladders

Our global strategy provides a common vision for leadership but allows for flexibility in the pace, prioritisation and localisation of activities. To provide practical yet flexible guidance on CR strategy implementation for firms, we have developed a ‘leadership ladder’ for each of our four focus areas. This provides a management framework which will help us to meet our commitments.

The ladders provide practical guidance, as well as inspiration, to help firms progress from foundation-level CR activities to CR leadership in their market. All PwC firms are expected to fulfil foundation-level requirements by the end of FY 2014 and all are encouraged to progress further, particularly in areas they feel are more locally important.

View leadership ladders

Skills based volunteering

We’re shifting our focus away from general volunteering activities towards volunteering that uses our people’s skills and experience to help non-profit organisations (NPOs) achieve their goals. This change reflects our view that skills-based volunteering enables us to support more sustainable solutions in our wider communities while helping to develop our people.

Our skills-based volunteering encompasses a broad spectrum of activities such as pro bono engagements, staff secondments to NPOs, and helping to educate young people. Here is a flavour of the types of activities undertaken in the PwC network.

As all the case studies in this section demonstrate, we have made huge progress in implementing the new global CR strategy. In doing so, we are harnessing the power of the PwC network to maximise the impact of our efforts.

Environmental stewardship

Our global people survey revealed that 68% of our people are satisfied that we are responding appropriately to address the impact of our business on the environment. This is up on FY 2012, but there is still room for improvement. At the network level, our focus is on measuring and managing our GHG emissions.

Many of the firms in the network have been measuring their GHG emissions for a number of years and have mature GHG reduction strategies in place. Still others remain at earlier stages in their management of GHG emissions.

This year we have collected GHG emissions covering 20 of the 21 largest firms using a consistent approach (representing 74% of our people). However, we believe that there is the potential to improve the accuracy and completeness of the reported data. This, together with extending and deepening the scope of GHG reporting, is a continuing priority.

Environmental stewardship

Diversity and inclusion

Building a more inclusive culture for our people is another key part of our strategy. Learn about our approach to diversity and inclusion.

Working with governments and society to achieve ‘green growth’

Definitions of ‘green growth’ vary, but it is commonly understood as an approach to achieving economic growth goals in a way that is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive.

In a number of countries, PwC firms are helping governments and institutions achieve their own ‘green growth’ ambitions. For example we’re working with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), an international organisation that started out of Korea in 2010, to promote green growth based on its own local experience.

Two recent examples are our work with the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on their National Strategy for Green Growth, and with the Indonesian government on finding greener ways to accelerate economic development and attract Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) finance.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE has seen remarkable growth and development in the past decade. Its population has doubled since 2005 and new skyscrapers now adorn cities where there was recently only desert. The country’s leadership has sought to maintain this progress by outlining their vision for an innovative economy, a cohesive society and a sustainable environment.

To help turn this vision into reality, a combined PwC UK, PwC UAE and GGGI team in Abu Dhabi has spent the past year working with the UAE’s government to develop a National Strategy for Green Growth.

The strategy articulates the costs and benefits of going green and how this will catalyse further growth in the UAE. It also examines further benefits such as the creation of new economic clusters, conservation of natural resources, improvements in skills and social advancement.

The PwC people on the project include engineers, economists and other green growth experts from the UK and UAE who, in conjunction with the GGGI team, are delivering world-class analytical methods, effective project management and valuable policy advice to respond to the needs of the UAE government in delivering this high-profile strategy.


Another country where we’re working with GGGI is Indonesia. This is a nation at a turning point in its development: it needs to grow its economy and reduce inequality, but at the same time detach itself from its traditional economic engines of mining and forestry.

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is aiming to put the country among the world’s top ten advanced economies by 2025 and top six by 2050. To achieve this, he’s laid out a masterplan to remove barriers to business by linking the country’s islands through vast infrastructure projects. However, the risk is that this plan will open up the country’s beautiful natural environment to exploitation.

A combined PwC UK, PwC Indonesia and GGGI team is helping the Indonesian government examine green alternatives to the projects in the masterplan, applying principles based on preserving natural capital, improving resilience, building local economies, and being inclusive and equitable.

For example, the PwC team has forestry experts supporting the implementation of REDD+ and is working across provinces to truly understand the variety of activities and opportunities that exist. The aim is to enable Indonesia to achieve its economic growth and equality goals in a way that will last from generation to generation, by harnessing the country’s entrepreneurial spirit while preserving its natural resources.

Contributing to the UN’s post-2015 development agenda

Over the past three years, PwC firms have been working with clients who are grappling with the challenge of meeting the demands of a dramatically different world with increasingly scarce resources and how to achieve their business growth ambitions, but not at any price. ‘Good’ growth is in everyone’s interest so how can a business identify what ‘good' growth looks like? And, more to the point, how to create it?

Through insights gained from this work, PwC has developed Total Impact Measurement & Management (TIMM), a new framework for strategic decision-making which enables businesses to develop a better understanding of the social, tax, environmental and economic impacts of their activities while making a profit.

In recognition of PwC’s position as leaders in total impact measurement, we were the only professional services network to publically share our expertise with the United Nations (UN) High Level Panel on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals. PwC’s contributions will help develop the thinking around the use of impact measurement, and, in particular, understanding the private sector’s role in achieving the post-2015 goals.

Contributing our skills and knowledge as part of the solution to critical issues like total impact measurement is an important part of our network corporate responsibility strategy. Through our work with clients and our thought leadership, we aim to be a catalyst for change by leading the debate on how total impact measurement can help identify ‘good growth’ opportunities that benefit all stakeholders.

What is total impact measurement and management?

TIMM enables management to compare strategies and make business decisions (e.g. investment choices) based on a better understanding of the impacts of their activities on all stakeholders.

TIMM puts a value (positive or negative) on 20 impacts across society, tax, economics and the environment, and gives business the ability to compare and evaluate the total impact. Being able to measure, understand and compare the trade-offs between different options means decisions can be made with more complete knowledge of the overall impact they will have and a better understanding of which stakeholders will be affected.

For example, consider the hypothetical example of a brewery in Africa faced with the choice between importing raw materials or growing them locally. Which is better?

The diagram below illustrates the trade-offs if the brewery took the decision to grow raw materials locally resulting in significant community benefits such as employment and improved health, but also increased water use in an area suffering from water scarcity (to consider just a few of the possible impact areas). The size of the bars signifies the relative impact, green being positive and red negative.

TIMM diagram

Learn more

Using our skills to support non-profit organisations (NPOs)

Skilled volunteering


In FY 2013, 714 staff and partners from PwC Brazil dedicated almost 8,000 hours of volunteering to social causes, the majority of which were related to mentoring low-income youngsters.

The firm also provided pro bono and discounted projects to several non-profit organisations, adding up to more than 8,700 hours of service.


In Canada, PwC’s skills-based initiative, the ‘Not-For-Profit Apprentice’, continued to bring together employees from all levels to help NPOs understand their organisational challenges and develop new ways to enhance their social impact.


In Indonesia, 40 volunteers from PwC conducted a financial literacy workshop with around 80 women owners of fried-rice stalls. An NGO partner was responsible for identifying the women who would benefit most from the exercise. The financial training provided by PwC Indonesia was based on the process of making fried rice, looking at inputs, assets, pricing strategy and budgeting. At the same time, the women taught volunteers how to fry rice – a satisfying exchange of skills!


PwC Kuwait developed an enterprising approach to fostering entrepreneurship in high schools through a cross-sector partnership that engaged students in a business plan competition throughout the academic year. The primary emphasis was on helping students develop the thought processes and skills needed to be successful entrepreneurs, as well as focusing on new ideas in areas with particular relevance to the region’s future, such as technology and sustainability.

More than a quarter of PwC Kuwait’s partners and staff participated in the pilot programme, contributing their skills for a total of 2,500 hours to support 21 teams of students.


In Mexico, PwC people provided technical coaching and advice on accounting, finance, audit and tax to students of Villa de las Niñas, an organisation that provides education opportunities to girls from impoverished backgrounds.

United States

And PwC people in the US helped the country’s largest food bank organisation identify efficiency opportunities in its distribution channels. If realised, these would contribute to the delivery of over 400 million more meals to those in need.

“The great thing about it was that it wasn’t just a document... PwC went to the next level by saying ‘here is how you go about implementing it’, not just the technical aspects but also the change management needed in order to be successful.

“This is real hands-on work that we know for every dollar contributed, we can provide eight meals to our network. That is huge!”

Janet Gibbs, CFO of Feeding America

Skilled volunteering in Kuwait - fostering entrepreneurship in high schools

In FY 2013, a new cross-sector partnership was launched in Kuwait aimed at boosting the business skills of the State’s high schools students.

Built by PwC Kuwait, industry leaders and a well-known higher education institution, this initiative established ‘Entrepreneurship Clubs’ in four high schools across Kuwait, with students engaging in a business plan competition that ran throughout the academic year.

The primary emphasis of the initiative - named PIN2 (for Promote, Inspire, Innovate) – was on helping students develop the thought processes and skills needed to be successful entrepreneurs, as well as focusing on new ideas with particular relevance to the region’s future, such as those related to technology and sustainability.

Drawing on the insights of PwC and industry leaders, the high-school teams received active mentoring and guidance during the year leading up to their presentations to the final judging panel.

PIN2 provided a wide range of skilled volunteering opportunities for PwC people of all levels. In fact, more than a quarter of PwC Kuwait’s partners and staff participated in the pilot programme, contributing their skills for more than 2,500 hours to support 21 teams of students in the programme.

PwC Australia helps charities to turn spare time into cash

With the recent launch of an innovative market research app, Australians can now give generously by donating their time rather than their money. The app turns people’s spare time answering questions into donations for charity programmes.

Called AskU, the app was developed by PwC Australia in collaboration with the Australian Charities Fund (ACF). AskU helps organisations to gain faster, real-time market insights, with half of all revenue raised going to charity.

PwC Australia’s CEO Luke Sayers says: “AskU is digital disruption at its best, using mobile technology to create economic and social benefits for both business and charity.”

ACF has nominated four charities to benefit from AskU in the first phase of its growth: Opportunity International Australia, The Smith Family, Mission Australia and Redkite.

ACF CEO Jenny Geddes says: “AskU is an exciting game changer for the charity sector.

Being digital, mobile and social, AskU has the potential to reach and engage more people who can help make a difference. We know Australians are big users of technology and already very generous; so what’s exciting is that we aren’t asking for their money, just their spare time.”

ACF has licensed AskU in Australia and will continue to work with PwC to maintain the technology and build the AskU community of individual and business users.

Benefit of AskU to participating charities

The Smith Family - CEO Dr Lisa O’Brien
“Based on the latest figures, over 1.2 billion people now own a smart phone which means it is becoming more important for charities like The Smith Family to find innovative ways to engage with a tech savvy audience.

“Fun, interactive games and apps like AskU allow The Smith Family to stay at the forefront of the digital world and bring our organisation in front of a new audience. This participation will help us support even more children with their education.”

Opportunity International Australia - CEO Rob Dunn
“I’m encouraged by how the AskU app uses technology for social good; you’ve only got to look at the number of people playing games on their phones while on the bus to see that AskU will appeal to people.

“The funds raised through AskU will help Opportunity International Australia continue to reach out to families in developing countries living on as little as $2 a day. Funds will help these families start their own small business, earn regular income and provide proper food, water, shelter and education for their children.”

Putting a price on value:
PwC Global PE Responsible Investment Survey 2013

Putting a price on value

Better environmental, social and governance (ESG) management provides an opportunity for the private equity (PE) sector to generate more value –for their portfolio companies, for their investors and for society at large. We believe that not only is there clear benefit in better ESG management, but also that it is possible for the value to be quantified and communicated to investors, acquirers and wider stakeholders.

This year, we carried out the largest ever survey of the private equity industry’s attitude to ESG issues. More than 100 PE houses in 18 countries responded, managing more than US$860 billion of assets.

Highlights from the report:

  1. Focus on risk, not opportunity
    We found that ESG management activities are geared more towards risk rather than opportunity - 36% cite risk management as the primary driver, with only 15% identifying opportunities. Activity levels are high at acquisition with PE houses sensibly keen to identify potential problems – 71% of PE house participants include ESG issues in pre-acquisition due diligence.
  2. A minority are measuring value
    ESG activity levels reduce during the hold period with ultimately less than 15% measuring the difference they’ve made at exit. This means that there’s more emphasis on monitoring and less on valuation, so the added value of any performance improvement generated through investing in ESG issues is being missed (it's not being quantified).

To find out more about the PE survey and our findings please click here.