When you detect synchronicity, it can be a powerful sign—and a spur for action. In this case, the synchronicity is patterns related to sustainability, and the action is the addition of Katie Parry as the director of our newly established Sustainability Group.
Over the past few years, sustainability has become a higher priority for companies across all industries. It’s been reassuring and energizing to see how the conversation about these issues has changed. Even many companies that previously considered sustainability as a mere box to check have begun to recognize its importance to business strategy—even if they are still on the journey to fully integrate it.
Companies are committing to these efforts not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because it leads to better outcomes. McKinsey research found that companies that focus on sustainability can reduce the cost of resources, resulting in a 60 percent rise in operating profit. Increasingly, organizations see sustainability as a powerful factor in improving performance, managing risk, and attracting the best talent.
Many organizations have begun to produce annual reports showcasing their progress on sustainability. A 2022 KPMG survey found that 96 percent of the 250 largest global companies and 79 percent of N100 companies (top 100 companies in 59 countries surveyed) reported on their sustainability efforts that year. The bar has been raised further: EU regulations will compel about 50,000 large companies to report on the environmental and social impact of their operations starting in 2025.
These trends mirror our experiences with clients. Sustainability content and messaging has accounted for a growing share of our work over the past several years, and we have partnered with leading global companies at the forefront of sustainability to help them shape and communicate their research, analysis, commitments, and offerings related to ESG and sustainability.
We’ve supported clients on projects ranging from comprehensive decarbonization analysis, global conservation strategies, road maps for countries to achieve net-zero emissions, and annual reports, to name just a few. Our work has covered nearly all sectors and geographies—particularly those that will be critical to sustained impact. The energy transition looms large across all industries and across regions such as the Middle East.
We’ve also worked on projects that explore the convergence of topics—such as the role of climate change in risk management and business continuity or how quantum computing could help to address climate change.
These projects have been immensely gratifying, both for the opportunity to help advance the conversation on sustainability and because it has enabled us to build deep subject matter expertise in these areas.
But despite recent global progress, we know that much more needs to be done—and fast. To build momentum for their sustainability efforts, our clients need to be able to communicate their vision and aspirations effectively. And they need to do so in a way that speaks to their stakeholders and inspires trust, through the channels that give them access to their target audiences. Our experience has also shown us that when we help companies to develop best-in-class content strategies, we also enable them to get more from their existing investments.
But to do so, we need to bring together our subject matter expertise and capabilities in a more coordinated way. That’s why I’m happy to announce the addition of Katie to lead our Sustainability Group. Most recently, she served as a political adviser to the UK’s delegation to NATO, but her experience includes stints as a senior economist for the Central Bank of Sierra Leone, consultant for McKinsey and the World Bank, adjunct professor at Harvard Kennedy School, and senior editorial assistant for Horizons magazine. Katie will be based in Brussels and help to expand our ability to serve clients in the EU.
One of the reasons I’m so excited for Katie’s arrival is she brings a cross section of skills that will be immensely valuable to our sustainability offerings. Further, her experience in engaging with the world’s top executives, elected officials, policy makers, and thinkers gives her the ability to consider these issues from multiple viewpoints. That she’s a gifted editor underpins her approach to assisting clients in communicating about sustainability.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing much more information on our services. For now, please join me in welcoming Katie to our team.