Deloitte Earmarks $1 Billion for Sustainable Practice: ‘It’s an Imperative’

deloitte $1 billion investment
Courtesy Harry Cunningham via Unsplash

Leading financial firm Deloitte has announced a $1 billion investment to support its sustainability initiatives.

Deloitte has announced the $1 billion climate initiative as part of the Deloitte Sustainability & Climate initiative that works to support its clients on their paths toward increasing their sustainable strategies and understanding of the risks and benefits.

According to Deloitte Global CEO Punit Renjen, the decision was not optional.

“Taking action on climate change and sustainability more broadly is not a choice. It’s an imperative. And we all have a role to play. But it’s the business community that’s best positioned to lead the way on this,” Renjen said in a statement.

“We have the resources, skills, and influence to help build stronger and more sustainable communities. And it’s our collective environmental and societal footprint that has the potential to make or break this decade of action,” he added. Renjen is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Alliance of CEO Climate leaders.

Deloitte Center for Sustainable Progress

“This is why we developed Deloitte Sustainability & Climate. It is our way of not only holding ourselves accountable for accelerating progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and commitments of the Paris Agreement, but effectively facilitating action across the business community.”

The $1 billion investment is one of the largest efforts of its kind, and will see Deloitte assemble one of the largest global networks focused on sustainability. Through its World Impact initiative, Deloitte has already invested $223 million through FY2021 with a combined total of $1.15 billion in societal investments through FY2017 and FY2021.

The Deloitte Sustainability & Climate practice builds upon the firm’s decades of experience and client services. It says its new Center for Sustainable Progress (DCSP) will develop and deploy the latest thought leadership, research, and climate solutions. It says a network of services from advisory to consulting to assist its 345,000 professionals to better understand and implement its sustainability initiatives for its global clients.

Courtesy Thomas Hawk | Flickr

According to the firm, DCSP’s network will collaborate with leading experts across academia, policy, business, and government organizations, with a focus on what it calls “holistic, results-oriented thought leadership, data-driven analysis, and accountability reporting” to help guide organizations through their sustainability journeys.

The effort will be helmed by Jennifer Steinmann, the first-ever Deloitte Global Sustainability & Climate Leader.

“We believe a better future is possible and getting there will depend on a profound and lasting change in attitude and behavior,” says Steinmann. “Deloitte is committed to helping clients move from sustainability and climate commitments to action. We will do so by working with organizations to create a transformation plan as well as helping drive collaboration across a broader ecosystem―of suppliers, clients and customers, policymakers, and alliance partners across industries.”

The firm says it’s also working on empowering individuals through its World Climate strategy training courses for its team of professionals. That curriculum will be available through the Deloitte Universities network.

The $1 billion pledge builds on Deloitte’s sustainability efforts, which include its carbon reduction goals and its commitment to advance renewable electricity, incorporate more electric vehicles, and increase its energy efficiency.

Billions for a sustainable future

The announcement comes on the heels of the SEC’s plans to implement mandatory climate disclosures. It would require disclosures about a company’s governance, risk management, and strategy with respect to climate-related risks.

It would also require disclosure of any targets or commitments and plans made by a company to address the targets. It would also require forward-looking statements on future risks or plans. And in some cases, it would require disclosure of Scope 3 emissions based on both upstream and downstream activities across the value chain.

sustainable blue chips
Courtesy LoLo on Unsplash

In a blog post accompanying the announcement, SEC Chair Gary Gensler wrote that investors “representing literally tens of trillions of dollars support climate-related disclosures because they recognize that climate risks can pose significant financial risks to companies,” he said, adding that investors “need reliable information about climate risks to make informed investment decisions.”

Last September, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pledged $1 billion to help protect 30 percent of the planet, both on land and sea as part of his Earth Fund.

“By coming together with the right focus and ingenuity, we can have both the benefits of our modern lives and a thriving natural world,” Bezos said in a statement. “I hope this commitment inspires others to make their own pledges to protect and conserve nature and help in the fight against climate change. A job this big needs many allies.”

Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates has also invested in climate action. Last year he raised more than $1 billion through his non-profit Breakthrough Energy’s Catalyst program, specifically to support clean technologies across green hydrogen, direct air capture, sustainable aviation fuel, and long duration energy storage.

“We need to be exploring many different paths — and that means we also need to invent new approaches,” Gates said in 2016 at the launch of the fund. “Private companies will ultimately develop these energy breakthroughs, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund. Both have a role to play.”

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