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Emily Martins, manager in strategy within deal advisory at KPMG, on a trip exploring the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.Provided

Emily Martins says she had only been with KPMG in Canada for a few days in 2019 when some of her new colleagues asked her if she’d like to join the Quebec environment committee. They’d heard she shared their passion for bettering the environment and hoped to welcome her aboard.

Martins not only joined the volunteer group, she also became its leader just over a year later – when the pandemic was at its height and limiting environmental activities at the full-service audit, tax and advisory firm.

“The challenges posed by the pandemic required us to reimagine and reinvigorate our initiatives in order to engage even more of our peers on the journey to green,” says Martins, a Montreal-based manager in strategy within deal advisory.

Since then, the committee has organized lunch-and-learn sessions focusing on sustainability, launched recycling initiatives and created a rooftop garden at the Montreal South Shore office with the support of both KPMG and the building’s landlord. In 2022, they donated 114 kilograms of produce grown in the garden to a local non-profit organization.

For Earth Day 2022, the committee organized a group cleanup along the Lachine Canal. More than 100 KPMG employees came together to pick up 256 kilograms of waste in just two hours.

“It’s empowering that KPMG encourages and supports volunteer opportunities and promotes sustainable practices,” says Martins. “It helps open everyone’s eyes that we all need to do our part to lessen our negative impacts on the planet and help build a more sustainable and resilient future.”

Alongside Quebec’s environmental committee, employees across KPMG in Canada’s 40-plus locations participate in a variety of volunteer activities. Participants have planted trees, cleaned up parks and removed invasive plants in local green spaces.

KPMG also ensures its people can learn about sustainability challenges and how they can respond. Town hall meetings, virtual and in-person events, multimedia communications and other initiatives have explored topics including the impact of fast fashion and protecting pollinators.

Heather Baker, KPMG’s managing partner for quality and risk management and social impact leader, says she was inspired by a session on eco-responsible transportation at the firmwide Earth Day town hall. “I’ve started riding my bicycle to the grocery store more often instead of driving!” she says.

Baker is a member of KPMG’s Our Impact Steering Committee, a multi-disciplinary group of leaders responsible for advancing the firm’s priority environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.

In December 2022, KPMG launched a comprehensive ESG report, “Our Impact Plan: Canada,” to outline goals and actions across four key pillars – planet, people, prosperity and governance. Planet addresses how KPMG is reducing environmental impact, including progress made toward the firm’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon business by 2030.

As one step on that path, KPMG has implemented an internal carbon price of $40 per metric tonne on the emissions generated from its business operations, including travel. Baker says the funds will be used to purchase renewable electricity certificates and to invest in new technologies and solutions.

“As a national organization, we have a clear role to play in a just transition to net zero,” Baker says. “We are setting science-based targets and promoting positive and sustainable change throughout our operations and communities.”

Employees are central to KPMG’s environmental commitments, Baker adds. Martins, for example, is more than an enthusiastic volunteer. She, and her new co-lead Marion Harvey, share their best practices with other green champions so they can be replicated in other regions – and by KPMG clients.

“It’s another way that KPMG lets employees know their input is valued,” Martins says.

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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