What is sustainability?

By Vincent Neate, Head of KPMG’s UK Climate Change & Sustainability practice

As we launch our new-look website I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit more about what we think Sustainability is and why we have a Sustainability Team.

Sustainability is notorious for being difficult to define – so we won’t add to the hundreds of definitions available on Google. We use it because it is common enough to capture the issues that matter to us: ethics and responsibility, human rights and the role of business in society, the environment and its relationship to civil society and its wider purpose.

We aim to avoid doom and gloom. Energy security and future price volatility are huge global challenges. Natural disasters, including ecosystem decline, threaten global food production on a planet that is heading to a population of nine billion increasingly living in poorly serviced, overcrowded and underemployed conurbations. The availability of clean life-sustaining water is shrinking when it should be growing and none of us know what effect expected global temperature increases will have over the next thirty years.

We are, however, optimistic. Business and finance are both the most efficient and effective means of tackling many of our challenges and also can find incredible opportunities through new business models, markets, products and investment opportunities.

Our job is to work with all our colleagues to uncover these abundant opportunities so that we can really make a difference to the world we share with one another.

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