Society’s expectations of business are changing at a time when the impact of business megatrends – from climate change to rapid technological innovation – are being felt across the world. While the failure of businesses to meet those expectations can erode public trust over time and increase skepticism in the marketplace, businesses can play a part in helping drive greater transparency and solve important problems to strengthen that trust. So how can companies balance bottom-line goals with the need for responsible business practices?
55% of CEOs worldwide were concerned about a lack of trust in business in a 2016 survey, up from 53% the previous year.
76% of CEOs worldwide agree that business success in the 21st century will be redefined by more than financial profit.
57% of people said that they trust businesses to do what is right in 2015, down from 59% the previous year.
Source: 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer
21% of Americans have a strong degree of trust in big businesses – a modest improvement from 19% in 2010.
Source: 2015 Gallup Poll
Trust and transparency are critical elements in building and sustaining relationships – whether with a client, a colleague, or an organization. At PwC, they are central to our purpose and the impact we have in fostering confidence in the capital markets and communities where we live and work.
Being a responsible business starts from within by having a purpose that articulates the deep-seated need we are fulfilling in the marketplace and providing a guide for our behaviors and actions. Equally important is an infrastructure for sound governance, independence, ethics and compliance, knowing that our organization as a whole is only as strong as our individual partners and staff.
This responsibility extends to the quality of our work with clients across sectors, our engagement with regulators, and our collaborations within our local and global communities – where we can create scalable, positive change across a variety of issues. We also engage in candid dialogue with our stakeholders, including public policymakers, suppliers, and community organizations, so that we can exchange a diverse array of experiences.
No matter the challenge at hand, our work begins – and ends – with building greater trust.
We implement robust governance, ethics, and accountability measures to help maintain integrity throughout our internal operations and our client service work. This not only protects our clients, our people, and our firm, but also contributes to enhanced quality. At its core, maintaining the highest standards in ethics, compliance, and governance is foundational to driving responsible business practices.
The world is changing rapidly, and we believe we have an opportunity to share our insights about those changes and their implications for business and society with a wide audience of interested stakeholders. Through our daily delivery of thought leadership, we provide insights born out of our engagement work and research – insights that open up new avenues of understanding and action, helping clients and readers pursue new opportunities.
Insights on demand
Download PwC’s free 365 app on iTunes or Google Play, which delivers a real-time feed of PwC’s insights and research on a variety of issues straight to your mobile device. And if you find these insights valuable, just tap from the articles to share them directly from the app to your networks.
In order to drive lasting, meaningful value, we first need a deep understanding of what our stakeholders perceive to be the most significant problems facing the world today and how they expect our business to address them.
In an effort to anticipate potential risks to our ability to deliver services and meet our responsibilities as a firm, we engage key decision-makers at all levels of government. We share our perspectives – based on direct experience and observations of the marketplace – to help enhance understanding and increase public/private sector collaboration needed to address societal challenges. We also engage directly with a broad range of stakeholders beyond policymakers who influence the direction of policy and public opinion. Our public policy efforts are aligned with the firm’s business strategy and with our purpose-driven culture in a manner that creates distinctiveness for our brand while adding value to society.
Working to increase diversity in Congress
Recognizing the critical importance that diversity of gender, race, and perspective can play in improving the performance of teams and corporate boards, we put our experience to work to help increase the number of women serving in the US Congress. With direct input from current policymakers and candidates – women and men from both sides of the political aisle – we developed a political engagement strategy that attempts to address several challenges that have a greater impact on women who seek elective office. We made adjustments to our political giving strategy, began talking more publicly about our concern and our commitment to closing this gap, and collaborated with several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on distinct aspects of this problem in an effort to improve the pipeline and begin to move the needle. By using our experience around diversity and talent differently, we are addressing an important challenge in government.
Expanding our commitment to reducing carbon emissions
We became the first professional services firm to join the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge. PwC made its first carbon emissions reduction commitment in 2007, and as a part of our pledge extended our carbon reduction goal to 45% by FY20.
Joining forces to support veterans
As part of the White House’s Joining Forces initiative, PwC has committed to hiring more veterans, has dedicated 10,000 hours through PwC’s Veterans Network to drive initiatives supporting veterans and their families, and has hired a veterans’ advocacy and recruiting leader to help attract, hire and retain veterans, and veteran spouses. In addition, the firm is committed to providing business and financial literacy training for veterans to enhance their professional skills and overall marketability, while sharing leading practices with other companies to make recruitment of veterans a more active and reliable source of business talent.