by Rob Fisher
I look forward to working with my incredible colleagues around the world to help our clients navigate the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) imperative to make businesses better, by standing out among the competition for talent, capital, and consumers, and to do our part in restoring trust in our society, proving we can solve big problems when we work together.
To me, the purpose of ESG engagement is to unlock new value for businesses by more effectively aligning employees, customers, and investors on sustainability commitments.
What does it mean to unlock value?
In short, employees, especially our younger generations and future leaders, often focus on a purpose over a paycheck, reducing turnover costs for organizations that get it right. Many consumers will pay more to buy from companies that deliver goods and services sustainably, value diversity and inclusion, and invest in their communities. In a post-pandemic world, businesses are demanding more ethical and resilient supply chains. And, investors are increasing their investments in ESG at a record pace and setting forth clear expectations that create risks for business both in terms of cost of capital and access to capital.
These benefits are simply a means to the end: better business. In the long-run, aligning stakeholders on purpose creates more space to think bigger when a business innovates, experiments, and invests. Companies’ new focus unlocks value that could never be realized before, bringing more game-changing solutions to the market.
Navigating the ESG moment means broadening a businesses’ lens to not only understand risks but think differently about new possibilities for today and tomorrow
It’s also important to keep a few areas top of mind.
First, all businesses are unique. Their customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders vary, holding different, evolving, and even conflicting expectations around ESG. There is no cookie cutter approach and one firm’s solution may be another’s pitfall.
Second, ESG engagement is a journey. Businesses are at different points in that journey and we are excited to meet them where they are to understand their unique position to craft a long-term strategy, and operationalize their strategy using cutting edge technology.
Third, it’s not just developing and executing a strategy, it’s proving that strategy is delivering impact by telling the organization’s unique ESG story, and disclosing progress according to growing reporting requirements around the globe.
The complexity, challenges, and opportunities of the future of ESG are why I’m excited to build on the great work of my colleagues and lead our KPMG U.S. ESG initiatives united under our KPMG IMPACT solution.
There’s so much to be done as companies navigate ESG initiatives, but in the near-term, I’ll borrow the words of my colleague Maura Hodge, our ESG leader for our Audit practice: companies are working to “Prove It”. I’m excited to focus on determining what is “proof” and what is “it” across strategy, operations, reporting and transactions, as we plan for the long-term.
ESG is a journey and I’m looking forward to the ride.