2021 Global Impact Report

Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO

The year since our last report was like no other during our lifetimes.

When it began in June 2020, we were in the early months of a global shutdown caused by a pandemic scientists were struggling to understand and overcome. The world was protesting the death of George Floyd. Wildfires that destroyed almost 19 million hectares of land in Australia had just been extinguished when another 4 million hectares began burning in the US. Meanwhile, the first rains of China’s monsoon season gave way to a deluge, resulting in the world’s most expensive—and maybe most overlooked—disaster of 2020.

Our world changed profoundly during those 12 months. Vaccines were developed in record time, yet supply and access remained problematic and hesitancy remains high. Conversations about race opened long-overdue examinations of social structures, institutions and cultural practices. Severe climate events confirmed our worst fears about a warming planet, even as the shutdown showed how altered behaviors could benefit the environment. And the shock to the global economy was three times more severe than the global financial crisis of 2007–09.

“We believed all along that our fate in FY2021 was not preordained. We exceeded expectations in nearly every measure of performance. But what I’m most proud of is how we worked together to take care of each other.”

The past year was difficult and fraught with uncertainty. But it also showed what can be achieved at speed and scale when businesses, government and society work together to tackle some of the toughest challenges.

Forging a path forward requires focused leadership and broad collaboration, something we have seen in abundance from business during the past year. Beyond the rapid research, development and production of vaccines, we’ve witnessed tireless work to rebuild disrupted global supply chains, and seen ways of working transformed to support the health of our communities and public services when they were struggling most. Thanks to these and other extraordinary efforts, the world’s economy defied expectations with its resilience and resurgence.

Business has risen to the challenge. But we have a long way to go.

A values-based reset

Deloitte understands and embraces its responsibility to lead by example, to drive change through cooperative efforts, and to innovate to overcome challenges. Deloitte’s focus during the past year has been on deploying our global capabilities to help clients respond, recover and thrive; on enabling our professionals to stay healthy and perform at the highest levels possible; and on helping communities bounce back so that people everywhere have access to opportunities.

It has not been easy. Ours is a business that relies on connectionson working closely with Deloitte clients, with public and private sector leaders, with other organizations and with each other. When that was disrupted, we had to change in fundamental ways.

Guided by Deloitte’s Shared Values—to lead the way, take care of each other, foster inclusion, collaborate for measurable impact and serve with integrity—we reinvented the way we interact with clients and learned how to be effective virtually. Our people amazed us every day with their ability to find innovative ways of serving Deloitte clients and meeting them wherever they were—figuratively speaking. They adapted quickly to working remotely and maintaining their professionalism, even when family responsibilities beckoned just a short distance off screen.

“The past year was difficult and fraught with uncertainty. But it also showed what can be achieved at speed and scale when businesses, government and society work together to tackle some of the toughest challenges.”

We believed all along that our fate in FY2021 was not preordained; that if we played solid defense —marshalling our resources—and remained alert to the opportunities and on track with our global strategy, we not only would survive, but we also would thrive.

And we did.

Deloitte grew 5.5% to US$50.2 billion in aggregate revenue. We expanded our global alliance and ecosystem business by 24%. Ongoing investments in audit quality, transformation and innovation delivered positive results. For the third consecutive year, Brand Finance recognized Deloitte as the strongest and most valuable commercial services brand in the world. And analysts continued to acknowledge Deloitte leadership across the board in services including cloud, cyber, strategy, analytics and more.

We exceeded expectations in nearly every measure of performance. But what I’m most proud of is how we worked together to take care of each other.

We realized early on that well-being is much more than just the physical. And while we took extraordinary measures to help protect our people’s physical health as the waves of the pandemic impacted our global workforce disparately over time, it was only part of the equation.

Mental health awareness and well-being initiatives sprang up throughout the organization, allowing our people to check in on one another and cope with the blurred lines between home and work and the countless individual challenges the pandemic caused us all. We promoted equality through both deliberate actions and organic initiatives. We maintained our emphasis on training and leadership development, even though physical classrooms were off-limits. We prioritized protecting the environment and made progress toward our net-zero target. We advanced our WorldClass ambition, doubling the number of lives we intend to impact by 2030. We tapped into our professional skills and empathic instincts to help communities hit hardest by the pandemic. And along the way, we learned more about what makes our own people productive, happy and healthy.

The business imperative

The ability to do well makes it possible for business to do good.

As the global vaccine rollout accelerates and the pandemic eventually wanes, our attention can turn to the biggest questions of our age—how to tackle climate change and make the most of rapid technological change—so we can create more opportunity and spur economic growth that is truly inclusive and fair and helps all people fulfill their dreams.

The climate change emergency is unfolding in front of our eyes, touching all corners of the globe. Creating a net-zero world is nonnegotiable. But it is only possible if business and government work together within and across national borders, and individuals in rich nations change their consumption behaviors. There is no time to waste.

Leaders must tap into the immense potential of the digital age, as well, leveraging rapid change and discovery into new jobs, new skills and new ways of solving persistent challenges. With digitization has come an explosion of data and an obligation to ensure it is protected—and used only as intended and in full compliance with the laws. Globally, economies are changing at an unprecedented pace—digital innovation is boosting productivity and helping more businesses reach more customers around the world. The pandemic has accelerated this process and helped many businesses through the crisis.

At the same time, the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated the already unacceptable levels of educational, health, racial and wealth disparities. Our futures depend on helping people gain access to education and resources that can improve their lives, which is why we must harness the potential of the digital age to build up skills of the future and create career opportunities for a broader cross-section of people.

Measuring progress

To understand progress in these and other key areas, organizations need to be able to measure the right things, transparently and consistently. During the past year, Deloitte leaders worked diligently to develop more consistent and comprehensive ways to gauge impact. Working with the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council and other professional services organizations, we helped compile a set of common environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics that companies can report against to demonstrate their progress in addressing society’s priorities, as defined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Stakeholders around the world are calling for greater transparency and accountability. The ESG framework provides that, which is why this year’s Global Impact Report looks different than our previous reports. In addition to a review of traditional business metrics, it includes more in-depth reporting of our impact on the environment and on society, as well as a more detailed look at the structures and processes we’ve designed for Deloitte.

Deloitte’s story is a great one, but it’s still being written.

We are the global leader delivering the broadest set of capabilities of any professional services organization in the market today. We’re making progress on environmental impact, on representation in the workplace, and on providing professional development and career opportunities to people around the world. And we’re constantly improving our governance mechanisms to build upon the trust we’ve created with stakeholders for more than 175 years. But we know we cannot rest on past accomplishments. We are committed to building on them.

Measuring and reporting on the right things helps us do that, to be the change we want to see in the world and lead by example. We are excited by the opportunity every day to make an even greater impact in a post-pandemic society, and proud to share our progress as our journey continues.

Punit Renjen
Deloitte Global CEO