United Nations General Assembly
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) By Dave Pearson
World leaders are coming together at the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will guide and catalyze worldwide development efforts over the next 15 years. This is a key opportunity for the United Nations Member States, civil society, and the private sector to come together and align efforts to address the biggest global challenges. I am excited to participate in the events that will convene leaders from different sectors to celebrate the adoption of the United Nations’ Global Goals, and to collaborate on innovative new solutions to drive positive change in achieving the Post-2015 agenda.
Deloitte has long been committed to addressing global issues. It is part of Deloitte’s culture, and an illustration of our Purpose–to make an impact that matters. With the Post-2015 agenda, this commitment is unwavering. I believe that only through innovative approaches, identifying solutions that can be scaled, and collaborating across sectors and borders that countries and organizations can truly achieve sustainable development. Today’s innovative solutions cut across the traditional boundaries separating non-profits, government, and for-profit businesses. The private sector has an opportunity, and a responsibility, to make a powerful contribution.
Deloitte invests in numerous programs and initiatives to improve our own sustainability and contribute to driving societal impact, and many of these align to the SDGs, for example:
Goal #4 Quality education
Since 2009, Deloitte has been committed to identifying and investing in innovative solutions that enhance access to education and skills building for young people. In the past three years alone, programs supported by Deloitte member firms have reached more than one million young people, and annually these firms have invested an aggregate of approximately US$50 million towards educational initiatives.
Goal #5 Gender equality
A priority for Deloitte is attracting, retaining, developing, and advancing women to leadership positions. Deloitte supports the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). This year, in recognition of proactive commitment to gender equality, Deloitte Canada CEO Frank Vettese received a WEP Leadership Award. Many Deloitte member firms, from the Middle East, to the US and beyond, have programs focused on gender equality. Deloitte US CEO Cathy Engelbert’s appointment as the first female CEO of a major accounting and consulting firm in the US illustrates the inclusiveness of Deloitte’s own culture.
Goal #13 Protect the planet
In response to climate change risks, many member firms have focused on reducing impacts through environmental programs and employee engagement. A number of Deloitte member firms have established absolute or intensity carbon reduction targets for operations to sharpen their focus on achieving lower greenhouse gas emissions. Deloitte’s largest opportunities for protecting the planet, however, result from the work of more than 800 sustainability specialists across the Deloitte network helping member firm clients transition to sustainable business models and practices.
I am also focused on supporting Deloitte to play its part within this initiative through the work our member firms do for their clients. Deloitte helps clients solve challenging problems, and the United Nation’s Global Goals are no exception. We bring to bear the skills of some of the world’s brightest minds from across the global network to work on all areas of the sustainable development goals, and to make an impact that matters. One example of how we make a positive impact in society is through the Deloitte Humanitarian Innovation Program. Professionals of Deloitte member firms collaborate with the humanitarian organizations, combining their diverse skills and expertise to co-create and implement innovative solutions to enhance the sector’s ability to prepare for, and respond to humanitarian crises.
How we collaborate across sectors on innovative solutions, and how our member firms help clients will determine where the Deloitte network can have the most impact. Living our Purpose, and encouraging clients to be purpose driven by delivering on the SDGs in all areas of their business, and collaborating across sectors so they can grow, is how Deloitte plans to respond in substantive ways to the Post-2015 Agenda.
David Pearson is the Chief Sustainability Officer for DTTL. Dave leads innovative programs which demonstrate Deloitte’s commitment to driving societal change and promoting environmental sustainability. Collaborating with government, non-profit organizations, and civil society, the Deloitte network is designing and delivering solutions that contribute to a sustainable and prosperous future for all. Dave has more than 20 years’ experience in both public accounting and private industry. From 2007–2011 he served as CEO of Deloitte CIS, which covers 11 countries in the former Soviet Union.