Rio+20: PwC weighs in on the issues that count

Several members of PwC’s US and global sustainability practice participated in the business forums at the Rio+20 summit in June, speaking on topics ranging from water efficiency to sustainable investment frameworks to sustainability valuation. Rio+20, formally named the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, drew 50,000 people to Brazil, including world leaders from government, the private sector, academia and advocacy groups.

Rio+20 was a milestone in a public-private dialogue that will continue to evolve, according to Matt Haskins, a principal in PwC's US Sustainable Business Solutions practice.

For business insight from the frontlines in Rio, see:

Reports from the US PwC delegates:

Kathy Nieland

Kathy Nieland is the PwC U.S. Sustainable Business Solutions lead, focusing on business transformation & innovation and non-financial reporting.

“We are at a tipping point; businesses are beginning to take a long-term view on sustainability, making sustainable business practices an increasingly strategic, standard investment. We will build on our work at the Rio+20 summit by continuing to help businesses drive this transformation in ways that will accelerate growth and spark innovation across the board.”

Matt Haskins

Matt Haskins is a principal with PwC and leads PwC’s U.S. Sustainable Business Solutions tax practice, focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency investments and tradable environmental rights.

“We may look back on Rio+20 as a turning point towards a more sophisticated and collaborative approach toward greener, more socially inclusive growth. We heard a lot of talk in Rio about the need to value natural capital. Doing so will be difficult, and many of the methodologies will take a long time to develop, but the potential for improved business and government decision-making is profound.”

Lauren Kelley Koopman

Lauren Kelley Koopman is a director with PwC’s U.S. Sustainable Business Solutions, focusing on private equity, financial services and water.

“Access to quality water is increasingly emerging as an issue of concern for both business productivity and the health and wellbeing of communities. PwC Sustainable Business Solutions is working closely with the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate to draft guidance for standardizing corporate water disclosure. At Rio+20, members of the UN CEO Water Mandate joined together with representatives from businesses of all sizes and sectors to discuss water risks and solutions. Ultimately, tools and strategies that support more sophisticated corporate water disclosure will enable businesses to more effectively minimize water-related risks and impacts and bring positive change for the future.”

Don Reed

Don Reed is a director with PwC’s U.S. Sustainable Business Solutions, focusing on IP, engineering & construction, materials & chemicals.

“At Rio+20, we heard from business leaders that they are investing significant resources and putting capital behind corporate sustainability. In our view, offerings that solve customers’ sustainability challenges without compromising other attributes are succeeding and will prevail globally. PwC Sustainable Business Solutions works with companies using established finance and decision analysis tools to put a numerical value on the intangible benefits of sustainability initiatives and programs.”

Chris Turner

Chris Turner is a director at PwC and director for Rio+20 at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

”As business leaders continue to face tough challenges – such as resource constraints, population growth and climate change – the business case for sustainability from an operational, political and societal standpoint continues to build. The private sector must play an integral role as a solutions provider for global sustainable development; and at Rio+20, PwC Sustainable Business Solutions urges collaboration among businesses and government to launch widespread global action in support of green growth and poverty alleviation.”

Shannon Schuyler

Shannon Schuyler is PwC’s U.S. Corporate Responsibility lead, focusing on corporate responsibility, employee engagement and reporting.

“For companies like ours, a professional services firm that doesn’t make anything, a huge part of addressing the sustainability challenge will be through galvanizing our people—our 35,000 U.S. partners and staff—to take individual action that decreases our environmental impact. We really view Rio+20 as that opportunity to not only share our insights, but also learn across sectors for what motivates people; how best practices can be scaled; and what initiatives bring the best ROI.”

Jeff Senne

Jeff Senne is the director of environment in PwC’s U.S. Corporate Responsibility practice, focusing on reporting, metrics and valuation.

“As a firm with a foundation in accounting and assurance, we understand deeply that measurement is critical to pushing the needle on sustainable development. At PwC, this means CR reporting and using internal dashboards to track sustainability data across offices—both of which help us examine our internal operations and identify opportunities and, most importantly, engage staff from across the firm. Rio+20 is an important event on our continuing journey to create commitments and means of measurement and engagement that lead us – a global society, community, individuals and organizations – to be ever more sustainable.”