Stories of impact
Deloitte’s $3 million bushfire response
The Australian bushfires of 2019-20 marked the beginning of an immensely difficult year for our nation and the wider world. In early January, Deloitte’s leadership resolved that in addition to monetary support, the firm would contribute our unique skills and knowledge in whatever ways were needed. A bushfire steering committee was established, consisting of Ellen Derrick, Rob Hillard, Rob Collie, Pete Williams, Matt O’Donnell, Ian Trevorah and Ursula Brennan.
We worked with the NSW Rural Fire Service to support them with procurement, onboarding additional volunteers and handling incoming donations. We reached out to recovery task forces, agencies and government in Victoria, NSW and other affected states to offer our assistance. Understanding what relief local communities needed was vital – from access to power, water, food and shelter to accommodation, clothing, transport and fuel. Assistance with paperwork, grant applications and other administrative tasks was also necessary to relieve pressure. Deloitte’s Bushfire Support Finder was developed to help affected individuals and businesses to identify grants and other assistance opportunities relevant to each case. We prioritised our efforts based on community advice. By May, our total bushfire response amounted to more than $3 million of in-kind, commercial and volunteering support, including more than $600k in pro bono services. Our contributions are ongoing.
COVID-19: A once in a generation opportunity to reshape the economy
In the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, Deloitte Access Economics considered a series of scenarios – of plausible and possible futures – to understand the signposts and transmission mechanisms which can guide decision-making. Dr Pradeep Philip, Lead Partner, Deloitte Access Economics said: “Our conclusion? We should design our recovery with reform at its centre, to build a better and fairer economy and country, because productivity is no accident. Australia can do, and must do, better than just return to normal”.
New research – Economic scenarios for the COVID-19 recovery – focused on three forward-looking scenarios and timeframes: from the future we hope for, to the future we want to avoid, to our view of the future we should prepare for. The scenarios forecast economic impacts and identify opportunities for economic and social reform.
BHP Steps towards net zero emissions by 2050
In 2018, BHP led the global resources industry with a goal to reduce its operational greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the latter half of the century, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement goals. In 2019, BHP committed to setting a medium-term, science-based target for operational emissions. Energy Transition & Decarbonisation Partner, John O’Brien said BHP’s commitment creates a highly attractive and differentiated approach that will positively impact the whole resources industry. BHP’s Innovation Sustainable Operations and Sustainability and Climate Change teams swung into action on the Pathways to Net Zero project, to drive operational emissions reductions. As part of a global effort, we helped to identify, quantify and articulate potential pathways to achieve and maintain net zero operations by 2050, informing the development of the medium-term target. Deloitte helped BHP develop a decarbonisation tool, with global experts from multiple jurisdictions providing ongoing input on emerging issues. We’re proud to have helped some of Australia’s largest and most complex organisations across the resources, infrastructure and banking sectors understand the impacts of climate change under different emissions scenarios.
Making healthy rivers
The Resilient Rivers Blueprint is an innovative framework for managing river systems in a world that is undergoing a dramatic acceleration of change. It differs from most other management approaches in that the focus is on protecting rivers, not just for the current generation, but for future generations. The initiative involves a rigorous holistic assessment process to evaluate a river and its community’s resilience through a series of simple qualitative self-assessments, followed by a quantitative objective assessment. Deloitte is working with the International River Foundation and founding partners to develop the framework and supporting engagement/assessment tools. We also bring to the table our experience in governance, systems-thinking and sustainable finance. The framework, which covers governance and institutional arrangements, financial security and access, systems thinking and management approaches, will be promoted to river custodians and authorities around the world. The Resilient Rivers Blueprint’s long-term time horizon leads to some subtle, but crucial differences in management priorities. These include establishing stable institutional arrangements, developing a systems approach, securing financial security and embracing an adaptive management framework. The Blueprint is targeted for river managers, practitioners in river-related organizations, scientists who work with river communities and managers, community organisers, river basin organisations, and interested parties. The definition of river resilience, is derived from the following Stockholm Resilience Centre’s definition: River Resilience is the capacity of a river system and its associated communities to quickly recover from disturbances, adapt to changes without collapsing, and to transform through innovation and implementation of resilience strategies.
Helping athletes to navigate climate change
As a former international-level Australian netballer, Deloitte senior manager Amy Steel was struck down by severe heat stroke while playing a practice match in South Australia in 39-degree Celsius heat. It spelled the end of her netball career and has left lasting health impacts. But it also helped inspire her work in Deloitte’s sustainability practice and her study of a Masters of Climate Policy, along with her commitment to help other athletes to find their voice on climate change. Amy started out with Audit & Assurance at Deloitte gaining strong experience with clients in the energy sector. She has been formally trained by the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, deepening her quest for knowledge about the science and modelling involved, and global best practice. There’s a fine balance for athletes speaking up about climate change and the importance of government funding and support for stadiums and sporting events, according to Amy. She believes athletes must stand up for their values and acknowledge the signs of climate change are irrefutable. This belief led her to help VicSport implement guidelines dealing with extreme heat conditions. “It’s definitely one of those things, the more you learn, the less you know. The more you get into it you realise how complicated the science is. Sometimes there are unintended consequences from solutions.” Last year Amy spent three days with the former US Vice President and environmentalist Al Gore at a workshop in Brisbane after being nominated by the Sports Environment Alliance. COVID-19 prevented her from attending the UN Sport conference, which was rescheduled to an online event in October 2020, but as a result she became the first athlete supporter of EcoAthletes (now joined by 20 athletes globally), whose purpose is to give athletes a platform and a voice to become more vocal about climate change.
Reshaping disability services
For almost three years, Deloitte has played a pivotal role in assisting the Victorian Government to reshape the disability services market in Victoria. We’ve now successfully helped complete the transfer of disability accommodation and respite services, currently operated by the Government, to five not-for-profit organisations, as part of the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). A complex and challenging program, the NDIS aims to successfully deliver high quality outcomes for thousands of clients, the department, and the state by consolidating and replacing existing specialist disability support systems under a single scheme. The successful transfer of these services will help the Government deliver on its promise to the NDIS, providing more choice and control to people with disabilities over the services and support they receive.
Tracking progress of domestic and family violence in Queensland
Deloitte Access Economics was engaged by the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet to support the implementation of the evaluation framework for the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy (2016-2026). The evaluation included a review of the strategy’s second action plan. The purpose of the structured review was to summarise progress to date and develop a single narrative describing the extent to which the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention action plan has progressed the reform towards its key outcome. The evaluation included engagement with six government departments, surveys with Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) service providers, conversations with people affected by DFV, interviews with the DFV Implementation Council, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and Interdepartmental Committee and Executive teams. Given the scale and complexity of the reforms undertaken, the delivery and implementation to date was commendable, a sentiment echoed during consultations with stakeholders both internal and external to government. It is too early to observe the long-term outcomes sought from the strategy, though there are examples of programs, including pilots, which are showing promising results, suggesting that Queensland is on track to achieve its objectives.
Valuing Kakadu National Park
Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s most iconic natural and cultural assets and is known around the world. Since Crocodile Dundee was filmed there in the 1980s, while the Park’s natural and cultural values have remained, the tourism infrastructure has become dated. The task for the Deloitte Access Economics team and the Darwin office was to value Kakadu National Park, the iconic site that is dual listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List for its outstanding natural and cultural values. The Deloitte report, which is now complete, considered the economic contribution of tourists as well as a national survey of Australians’ attitudes to the area. Local government and community consultation also provided key inputs to the report, which will be launched as part of the re-opening of tourism in the NT at a future date dependent on the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
Game-changing digital hub for PNG’s schoolchildren
In the popular tourist diving destination and south-east Papua New Guinea (PNG) province of Milne Bay, computers and books can be hard to come by. There’s also a chronic shortage of people with digital skills. So, since the Milne Bay Education Resource Centre and Public Library opened in August 2019, hundreds of local children have benefited from its educational resources. In March 2020, Deloitte PNG, Deloitte Australia and technology consulting firm Future Crunch realised a shared vision for the Milne Bay centre with our charity partner Buk bilong Pikinini. That vision was to take the centre to a whole new level by merging traditional and digital literacy there and to foster a culture of innovation for the province’s children. The combined result was a boost to the centre of 8,000 books and 12 new computers. The computers were carefully chosen to create a digital hub 92,660 WorldClass lives impacted for children and other young people to access digital learning, do research online and to provide them with the best foundation and skills to navigate the future digital economy. Deloitte’s Pete Williams who ran the project said, “This donation is game-changing. Just a few months ago at the Milne Bay centre, there wasn’t a computer anywhere. This equipment provides the young people of Milne Bay province a window to the world. These kids will now have a chance at literacy and education – access to the Internet will empower them like nothing else can.”
Addressing forced labour and modern slavery
The Minderoo Foundation commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to quantify the economic benefits of eliminating forced labour across a range of developing countries. Forced labour is the biggest category of modern slavery. Around 40 million people are estimated to live in modern slavery globally, among whom over 24.9 million work as forced labourers, according to Deloitte Australia’s report The economic benefits of eliminating forced labour. Forced labour is defined by the Global Slavery Index as: where a person is unable to refuse or leave work due to threats, violence, coercion, deception or abuse of power. Half of those in forced labour in the private economy are in debt bondage, where a lender forces labour as repayment. Forced labour is most prevalent in construction, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, and domestic work. Our research and modelling show that the presence of forced labour weighs on labour productivity. This report is an initial step towards empirically estimating the impact of forced labour, though further research over time is needed. Deloitte Access Economics estimates that a 1% decrease in the prevalence of forced labour is associated with a 0.07% increase in output, all else equal. That is, in a scenario where the prevalence of forced labour is reduced by 50%, GDP is likely to be boosted by 3.6%. These findings are based on current data availability, which is limited and subject to measurement error.
Lifting our commitment towards reconciliation with Australia’s First Peoples
During 2020 National Reconciliation week (27 May-3 June) we launched our formally endorsed Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). A Stretch RAP is the third in Reconciliation Australia’s framework of four RAPs, the first two being Reflect and Innovate – and the final one being Elevate. A Stretch RAP is about embedding reconciliation into everything we do. Deloitte’s RAP Working Group Chair, Professor Deen Sanders, said Reconciliation Australia’s endorsement of our Stretch RAP was a “unique and important” milestone for the firm. Deen said, “I am immensely proud of the firm and deeply appreciative of the leadership and of Deloitte Chair, Tom Imbesi’s personal invitation for Deloitte’s RAP to be led by its Indigenous people.” Senior RAP Officer with Reconciliation Australia Christine Dernee said, “On behalf of Reconciliation Australia, I would like to congratulate Deloitte on a great plan which we are pleased to endorse as a Stretch RAP.” The new RAP was the culmination of three years of intense work where we have substantially increased our focus and commitment to listen and work together towards better and fairer outcomes for Indigenous Australians – and to bring all Australians together.
Introducing the ‘phygital’ workplace
In 2019, Deloitte Australia laid the foundations for our Virtual Office. In 2020, just weeks before COVID-19 forced workers around the world into the largest ever work from home experiment, our Virtual Office was officially launched through our Virtual Office Hub. The COVID-19 pandemic has led us all to reconsider the interplay between work, worker, workplace, and organisation. Essential business activities must continue while keeping the health and wellbeing of employees and customers front of mind. It’s the beginning of a seismic shift as we support our clients through their biggest challenges and continue to evolve our offerings as new ways of operating emerge. These emerging ways of working have human need at their core, which is why our Virtual Office suite uses humancentred design to understand the unique challenges people face when working across various environments. ‘Phygital’ or hybrid (the combination of physical and digital) working models give people greater say in where and how they work. This can improve wellbeing, increase meaningful productivity, open talent pools, and progress equality across various aspects. For example, virtual modes are already dismantling the bias around who has access to flexible working, as well as connecting organisations to a diversity of talented people previously beyond reach. Phygital working is also a central channel to building trust.
Creating an environment that supports people requires more than the right technology. When remote working breaks down, the issues are just as often human or culture-based as they are technology related. It’s about using the right mix within the ecosystem. We still need physical places to instil confidence and safety, develop culture, spur ideas, and create communities in face-to-face locations. At the same time, we need digital or hybrid spaces that allow for greater focus and delivery in quiet or nurturing locations at home or outside the traditional office. Our solutions range across virtual employee experiences, virtual customer experiences, and increasing organisational adaptability. They cover everything from people engagement to business resilience to cost sustainability.