How we deliver on our purpose

Our times are marked by a troublesome loss of confidence - social and economic inequalities have never been so significant, and our planet has reached its boundaries. It is clear, a new system has to emerge. A system that will realign business, economy and society. At PwC Luxembourg, we are convinced that by delivering on our purpose (‘Building trust in society and solving important problems’) we can contribute to this. As a basis of our corporate agenda, we identified together with our stakeholders a set of challenges, which are in our eyes very important problems that we can contribute to solve. But they are also key for us, as a service firm, to remain relevant to our clients, people and society.

In 2016, together with our stakeholders, we identified 15 sustainability topics that are crucial for our firm to address: seven priority challenges and eight additional challenges. Since then, our CR & Sustainability leader, Valérie Arnold, embarked on a journey together with our CEO and the leadership team, to align those sustainability topics with our business model.

Learn about our sustainability vision and strategy from our CR & Sustainability leader directly, in this video. 

To achieve our ambition of embedding sustainability systematically across our firm, a centralised management approach is not sufficient.

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Our sustainability vision and strategy

As our sustainability topics are diverse and touch upon a whole range of strategic dimensions, it is key to get leaders from throughout the company to implement them in various departments: market and clients, risk management and independence, human resources, learning and development, communications, and procurement, to name a few. We also aim at onboarding all our partners by increasing their awareness and participation in the firm’s sustainability journey. This way, they are able to set the tone from the top for our people, engage our clients and inspire other stakeholders.

This material references Disclosures 102-19, 102-20, 102-44, 102-46b and 102-47.

Our top sustainability challenges

As the basis of our corporate agenda, we identified together with our stakeholders a set of 15 challenges, 7 of which are the most material to us:

1. Societal Impact
2. Client Satisfaction
3. Independence & Conflict of Interest
4. Legitimacy & Ethics
5. Employee Journey
6. Health
7. Continuous Learning

These challenges are in our eyes very "important problems" that we can contribute to solve. Moreover, they are key for us as a service firm to remain relevant to our clients, our people and society at large.

To learn more about our other challenges, see 'How we contribute to the global agenda.

We have the responsibility and potential to provide services that contribute to solving societal challenges.

Our clients’ satisfaction is key for success, but there are no satisfied clients without engaged employees.

The independence and impartiality of our auditors and advisors is a prerequisite for our license to operate.

The public questions our societal utility and distrusts our services and practices. We need to win back trust.

To attract and retain the right talents, we need to build a more meaningful journey for all our people.

Our people are our greatest asset, so we need to protect them from adverse health impacts of their work.

In a changing (business) environment, we need to enhance the set of skills and capabilities of our people.

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Discover what our newly promoted partners have to say about our seven priority challenges.



"The only thing bigger than where our firm will be in 5 where the world will be"

The Global Goals & Business

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The Global Goals & Business

Being part of a bigger sustainability action plan: The UN SDGs

We are all part of a world that is faced with a variety of sustainability challenges. To address them effectively, 196 member states of the United Nations committed to a common agenda that works towards sustainable development: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are the world’s sustainability blueprint, providing a set of 17 ambitious goals and 169 measurable targets to tackle people, planet and prosperity related issues. The Goals and targets are all to be achieved by 2030.

However, the burden of the agenda cannot solely be placed on the shoulders of the government. Businesses like ours are also key players in this world and we have both the duty and the power to play an active role in making a change for the better. 

At a global level, our firm already contributes to the global sustainability agenda, including respect for human rights, by having a long-standing partnership and being actively involved in the World Economic Forum, and by strategically supporting the GRI-UNGC working group to encourage corporates to report on the SDGs.

At PwC Luxembourg level, we decided to progressively move towards SDGs by using them as a lens to assess opportunities and threats to our business, and to subsequently understand our risks and opportunities in the context of global change. In return, this will help us define our business goals and sustainability priorities based on external societal and global needs, and allow us to do our part in bridging the gap between current and required business performance.

Moving to UN SDGs as a lens for opportunities and threats to our business

We will take a two-step approach to progressively moving towards SDGs. First, we will align our existing sustainability challenges with UN SDGs. Then, we will look at all SDGs in order to expand over time our priorities list by SDG targets that we might not have considered to be relevant for our firm yet.

STEP 1: Aligning our existing sustainability challenges with UN SDGs

It is not our objective to replace our priority challenges by SDGs, but to address them more effectively by using SDGs as a framework for developing and measuring our sustainable impact. In fact, all our sustainability priorities held within our materiality matrix can be found back in the 169 SDG targets. 

STEP 2: Expanding our scope of sustainability priorities based on SDGs

In order to better understand how to support the achievement of SDGs we are convinced that it is necessary to go through an SDG self-assessment exercise.

The SDG self-assessment will follow a three-step approach. In a first step, we conduct a materiality analysis at SDG level, identifying those goals that are the most relevant to our business. In a second step, we set meaningful KPIs to monitor progress towards the SDGs, orienting ourselves as closely as possible towards the original SDG indicators. In a final step, we evaluate our SDG performance against the defined KPIs.

Discover in the below table which SDG targets are linked to our sustainability priority challenges.

PwC top sustainability challenges vs. UN SDG targets

Societal Impact

Client Satisfaction

Conflict of Interest & Independence

Legitimacy & Ethics

Employee Journey


Continuous Learning

Our multi-stakeholder approach

Our sustainability topics were co-defined by our stakeholders in 2016, and reconfirmed by them in 2017 (for more detail on how we identify and select our stakeholder, see our Annual Review 2018, page 42). As such, they continue to apply to this year’s Annual Review. Stakeholder groups we consulted include our employees, clients, suppliers, academics, representatives from media and public regulators, as well as NGOs.

Today, we are in the middle of a materiality transformation process, moving from our existing sustainability priorities to UN SDGs. The SDGs being the world’s list of material sustainability topics, we believe that we should measure our sustainability impact through their lens, and use them as the ultimate sustainability-impact indicators of our firm. This does not mean that we will replace our materiality matrix by SDGs, quite the contrary. We will be able to map all our material sustainability topics through the SDG framework.

We want to test the appropriateness of this new materiality approach with our stakeholders and will ask them for their expectations and interests regarding our role in achieving the SDGs. However, at this stage, it is still too early for us and we are not concrete enough yet in how we see PwC Luxembourg playing a role in achieving SDGs  to enter into dialogue with our stakeholders about this. We will be doing so in the months to come.

This material references Disclosures 102-21, 102-40, 102-42, 102-43 and 102-46.

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