Creating value through a broad range of programmes across the world.
We have many capabilities that are relevant to CR – the same ones we use in our businesses every day – and we put these to use working with others to make a difference. We help organisations strengthen their own CR agendas through the many services that we provide every day.
However, we want to go further. Through our own CR agenda, we can be part of the solution to global challenges in two ways. We set out our strategic intent as:
Being a catalyst for change, which is about using our skills, voice, and relationships to work with others and influence activities that make a difference, create change and have a lasting impact on the world around us.
Doing the right thing, which means playing our part on responsible business issues that are central to our business – from the quality of our services and the diversity of our people, to our engagement with communities and our environmental footprint.
These aims form the core of our CR Strategy which is tailored to our specific strengths and opportunities, as a professional services firm. To align and structure our CR activities, we focus on four areas in which PwC people can play their part: responsible business, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and environmental stewardship.
A growing number of our clients are taking significant steps to incorporate the consideration of risks and opportunities related to CR into their business strategies and some are starting to make CR policy and performance a condition of doing business. This is a trend we expect to continue and grow in the future. At PwC we use relationship management processes and programmes of client activity including participation in industry and client forums, satisfaction surveys, and dedicated interviews to understand our clients’ needs and views on the CR agenda.
Every year PwC conducts its Global People Survey to gauge our employees' views on a range of issues including CR. In FY14, 83% of our people believed that PwC was taking appropriate steps to be socially responsible. However there is still progress to make here. We have committed to reporting on our GHG emissions and have also made a commitment to managing our environmental impact more effectively.
Suppliers are important stakeholders within the global value chain. At a local level, PwC has regular dialogue with suppliers as well as formal supplier assessments. These mechanisms are used to understand supplier challenges and enhance the quality of service and CR standards in the supply chain.
At PwC we also acknowledge our opportunity to leverage our purchasing power to influence social and environmental performance in our supply chain. The responsibility to understand and manage the social and environmental impacts of these procurement activities is an important area of focus for us.
When it comes to responsible business, we want to make as big a difference as possible.
PwC’s stakeholder groups are varied and we operate our business in accordance with the requirements and guidelines of local and international regulators and maintain regular dialogue with them.
We have an exceptional client base extending across the private, public and third sectors. Our people, potential recruits and alumni, suppliers, communities we operate in, non-governmental organisations and the media are all essential to our businesses.
While the four broad focus areas of our global CR strategy have been agreed across the Network – responsible business, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and environmental stewardship – each country is responsible for setting local priorities within each area depending on local market conditions.
Here are further examples of engagement activities carried out locally in order to gain in-depth insights into the needs and wants of all our stakeholders.
PwC's Code of Conduct nurtures a culture that supports and encourages all PwC people to behave appropriately and ethically.
The foundational elements of our culture are independence practices and compliance. Our Code of Conduct demonstrates our values in action and includes a strict anti-bribery standard that it is unacceptable for our people to solicit, accept, offer, promise or pay bribes. This is further supported by our Global Anti-bribery policy and a confidential facility to allow our people to raise any concerns about ethics and business conduct.
We operate in a highly regulated environment and are ever diligent to make sure we remain compliant with the rules and regulations of our industry and our clients’ industries.
Our policies, practices and culture support transparency within our business. Each PwC firm’s Territory Senior Partner signs an annual confirmation of compliance with certain Network standards. These cover a range of areas, including:
These are reviewed by others independent of the PwC firm in question, and firms are required to develop a remediation plan if they are not in full compliance.
In particular, objectivity is the hallmark of our profession, at the heart of our culture and fundamental to everything we do. Independence underpins objectivity and has two elements: independence of mind and independence in appearance.
PwC reinforces both of these elements through a combination of setting the right tone from the top; independent consultation on judgemental issues; detailed policy requirements including prescribed processes to safeguard independence; regular training; and careful observance of independence requirements.
PwC's Global Independence Policy – based on the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants – contains minimum standards with which all PwC firms have agreed to comply. These relate to assurance clients, including the adoption of processes and safeguards designed to maintain independence from such clients.
PwC firms impose supplementary independence restrictions and processes by reference to local regulatory and ethical requirements, when necessary. Each PwC firm is required to have a partner responsible for independence matters, supported by adequate and trained resources, to support the relevant PwC firm and its people in complying with policy requirements. This includes providing a resource to consult on policy interpretations and practice matters.
Training programmes on the PwC Global Independence Policy and related independence processes are available to all PwC firms. Each PwC firm is responsible for developing and implementing an appropriate annual independence training for its partners and practice staff, making appropriate use of global materials, supplemented with additional content tailored to reflect local requirements. New joiners, irrespective of which PwC firm and part of the practice they join, receive training on the PwC Global Independence Policy.
PwC firms are required to have disciplinary policies and mechanisms that promote compliance with independence policies and processes, and to report and address any breaches of independence requirements which, even with the control processes outlined above, may occasionally occur.
PwC takes responsibility for monitoring the effectiveness of our quality control systems. This includes performing a self-assessment of our systems and procedures and carrying out, or arranging to have carried out on its behalf, an independent review.
In addition, the Network monitors PwC firms' compliance. This includes monitoring not only whether each PwC firm conducts objective quality control reviews of all of its services, but also includes consideration of PwC firms' processes to identify and respond to significant risks. In accordance with applicable regulatory requirements, each firm may also be reviewed periodically, in some cases annually, by national and international regulators and/or professional bodies.
Senior Associate, PwC South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 287 0482