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Foreword from our CEO, Harry Goddard
Illustrating our impact
Welcome to our 2020 Impact Report.
This year, Deloitte celebrates its 175th anniversary. In our 175-year history, our firm has seen and endured incredible social, economic and political disruption and upheaval – including two world wars, many economic downturns and now two global pandemics. Today, standing as the largest professional services firm in the world with the legacy and experience of 175 years of talent, innovation and leadership, our responsibilities as a business and the role we play in society continues to evolve, and the common purpose by which we are led is more important than ever - to make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our communities and our planet.
This year has seen seismic events in our world including a global pandemic and a global movement for inclusion.
These events have forced us to think more deeply as to what we value as a society. They have highlighted vulnerable and marginalised sections of our society and the growing gap in access to information and resources. They have elevated the need for business to articulate and undertake its role as a responsible stakeholder – responsible to its people, its community, its planet and not just its shareholders.
Few businesses had anticipated these changes in their planning horizon but all have had to respond swiftly. These automatic responses have tested whether businesses had embedded a culture of purpose within their organisation.
This report brings to life the work our people have undertaken that reflects our dedication to acting as a responsible stakeholder. I am proud of the commitment illustrated in these pages; which not only sets out the impact made in FY20, but also lays the foundation for further positive change.
Trust and transparency
We have seen, in sharp focus, the need for transparency and trust in business, whether it is information about an organisation’s financial performance, commitment to climate change or social inclusion. Expectations as to what and how businesses collect and share this information is changing.
In addition we have recently seen a number of company failures which have demanded more transparency into those businesses and their performance. As an audit firm we take our responsibility in providing assurance to the capital markets extremely seriously. Our Transparency Report is an important source of information to inform our stakeholders about how we deliver our audit services to the highest levels of quality, and it also points to what we value across our business: a commitment to independence, ethics and integrity in all that we do – enabled through our culture, and ongoing investments in our technology and governance.
We are actively engaged in the debate on audit reform across a number of markets. In Ireland our annual stakeholder forum, designed to advance the debate on trust, transparency and being a responsible business, provides a valuable opportunity to engage with our stakeholders on these important issues.
Our ambition is to contribute to the climate debate; to create solutions that will deliver benefits to the planet and its people and to ensure all of our practices recognise our responsibility to our planet.
This past year we were commissioned to research the future skills and talent requirements for Ireland’s sustainable finance sector. The results of our report helped ensure that investment will be made to boost Ireland’s efforts in advancing the Environmental Social and Governance agenda across the Financial Services sector, which in turn will help make a lasting impact on the planet. We are currently carrying out a similar analysis on the Financial Services Sector across Europe.
Our Consulting team developed a system to detect and record overfishing of species which helps support the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in achieving sustainability through conservation of fish species. The Department is the second largest Government Department in Ireland, accounting for 7.1% national employment and over 11.2% of all exports in 2019.
As a global organisation, we understand that we have an important role to play in environmental stewardship. Deloitte Ireland established our Green Agenda in 2008 which addresses several important environmental challenges, including climate change. To demonstrate our continued commitment this year we were re-certified to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems that we have held since 2011. In our aspiration to become a single-use, plastic-free workplace we continued our collaboration with environmental charity, Leave No Trace Ireland, on several initiatives throughout FY20 to make a positive impact on the planet, including the Deloitte KeepCup initiative to encourage the replacement of daily single-use coffee cups with reusable ones.
We have seen significant reductions in our business travel, energy and waste emissions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability of our people and clients to adapt and find new ways of working has been proven and we will continue to embrace this transformation to minimise our environmental impact. The steps we are taking on our sustainability journey are outlined within this report, and I am proud to share that this week Deloitte launches WorldClimate, our Global Climate Sustainability Strategy and commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2030. WorldClimate will enrich our local sustainability programme in the fight against climate change by empowering our people to think green and act in ways that will positively impact our planet.
Our strategic partnerships with charities and our WorldClass commitment encourage us to continue to put our best foot forward to positively impact the futures of people in our communities, through education, upskilling and access to opportunity. Impact Day, our flagship volunteer day, continues to focus on providing our expertise to the charity sector, ensuring that our impact maximises our capability to make a positive impact on the futures of our charity stakeholders.
The Employment Skills programme is an award-winning social inclusion initiative developed collaboratively across Deloitte with Solas Project to help young offenders break the cycle of recidivism by teaching them employment, entrepreneurial, presentation, social and communication skills.
As well as supporting a number of charity partners in their fight against homelessness through fundraising and volunteering, our people worked with Age Action to continue to support their Computer Literacy Programme, which assists the elderly in becoming more tech-savvy to bridge the digital divide. This support became even more valuable in recent months to ensure that digital isolation would not become another challenging factor to overcome. Our volunteers have been able to carry out their sessions with their Age Action learners over the phone or via Zoom, which not only builds their skills, but also ensures that there is a weekly call with a friendly volunteer.
Persevering with purpose: Covid-19
Like all businesses we were impacted by COVID-19 when we moved to working from home in March.
Our priorities were to protect our people; serve our clients and ensure we had a sustainable business. We immediately moved our people to working from home and followed the government guidelines on social distancing and restricted travel. We consequently saw an immediate benefit in our consumption of natural resources, production of waste and generation of emissions.
During this time we moved rapidly to support our clients who were operating on the front line, or were impacted by COVID-19.
One example of this is a tool we developed to support organisations who have staff affected by travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19. Our Global Employer Services team have helped companies to stay informed on travel implications, quarantine restrictions and immigration considerations around the world through the Go-Work – COVIDd-19 Digital Map. This is an interactive tool, created on a pro-bono basis by our people, to allow companies to manage their employees’ global mobility and business travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s online and free of charge to use for all. In developing this unique tool, we are helping both our communities and clients to stay connected and informed on the rapidly changing global picture.
Through lockdown, we had to find new ways to provide support to our communities.
Our collaboration with Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) introduced a new volunteer programme ‘Time to Talk’. This programme aims to help participants from migrant communities, whose first language is not English, to gain more confidence in their conversational skills. By virtually meeting with participants and helping them to practice their language skills, it provides the participants with an opportunity to improve their ability to access work.
Please take the time to read the stories through this report. They illustrate what we think is important as an organisation, but also who we are as a people. They reflect our past experiences and inform our future focus. We have achieved a huge amount in this past year, which has only strengthened our resolve towards further contributing to positive changes in our society.
I hope you enjoy this report and the stories of what it means to be Deloitte.
CEO Deloitte Ireland