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KPMG, Four Net-Zero Partners Tackle Asia Decarbonization Opportunities

March 27, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

KPMG has partnered with four organizations, through the KPMG ASEAN Decarbonization Hub, to “equip businesses in the region to meet their sustainability goals in the face of strong economic headwinds and uncertainties.” The four partners are:

  1. Bureau Veritas (BV)
  2. Energy Institute (EI)
  3. Maybank Singapore (Maybank); and
  4. two research institutes at the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Energy Studies Institute (ESI) and Sustainable and Green Finance Institute (SGFIN).

Those partners will seek to address key net-zero challenges facing CXOs in Asia. Among the issues to note, according to a KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook survey, the main barriers to ESG strategies include:

  • Difficulties in identifying and measuring metrics (28%);
  • lack of skills for implementation (28%); and
  • lack of budget for investing in ESG transformation (20%).

KPMG Asia: Key Decarbonization Partnership Goals

Here's where each partner will focus their decarbonization efforts, according to the KPMG news announcement:

1. KPMG will work with BV, Maybank and NUS to originate decarbonization opportunities. The efforts will include workshops that offer knowledge sharing and industry best practices. Key areas of focus will include energy diversification, operational decarbonization, supply chain management and sustainable finance -- as well as its digital tools backed by artificial intelligence and blockchain to capture, measure and verify emissions data.

2. Bureau Veritas (BV)-- which provides testing, inspection and certification service -- will provide partners with end-to-end solutions for their decarbonization projects and associated roadmaps. As an independent third party, BV is accredited with numerous international sustainability certifications -- such as ISO14001, ISO45001, ISO14025, ISO14064 and GHG Protocol, as well as carbon offset standards such as Verra, Gold Standard, CDM and GCC.

3. Energy Institute (EI) will assist with the provision of quality continuous professional development including, where appropriate, links to its technical and operational guidance activities related to decarbonization and the energy transition. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, EI is an international professional membership body for people who work across the world of energy. The organization's net zero strategy is designed to:

  1. Attract, develop and equip the diverse future energy workforce;
  2. inform energy decision-making through convening expertise and advice; and
  3. Enable industry and consumers to make energy lower carbon, safer and more efficient.

4. Maybank Singapore will work with KPMG to mobilize funding for low carbon and green projects originated by the ASEAN Decarbonisation Hub. The Maybank Group is committed to mobilizing RM80 billion (US$18.1 billion) in sustainable finance by 2025 to support the transition to a less carbon intensive economy.

5. National University of Singapore (NUS) will collaborate in joint research and consultancy projects of mutual interest in the areas of energy technology assessment, decarbonization pathways, carbon pricing & climate finance, development and enhancement of digital tools, and life-cycle accounting methodologies. The Energy Studies Institute (ESI) will bring its industry research and modeling capabilities to develop innovative frameworks that will help transform the sectors. The Sustainable and Green Finance Institute (SGFIN) will bring its rigorous research approach to provide insights regarding the commercial value of decarbonization, the firms said.

KPMG ESG Strategy in Singapore: Executive Perspectives

Sharad Somani, KPMG Singapore

In a prepared statement, Sharad Somani, partner and head of KPMG ESG for KPMG in Singapore, said: “As businesses strive to achieve net-zero commitments, they must develop implementable plans and document their carbon footprint through climate accounting infrastructure to demonstrate progress. Unfortunately, not all companies are equipped to do so. To successfully tackle climate change, collaboration is essential. That's why KPMG created the ASEAN Decarbonisation Hub – to bring together organizations with complementary skills, with the shared goal of net-zero emissions – which we are seeing in this collaborative alliance with Bureau Veritas, Energy Institute, Maybank and the National University of Singapore. KPMG is also expanding the tools, financing and access to expertise for both public and private sectors to help build resilience and reach sustainability objectives during uncertain economic conditions – all in pursuit of achieving net-zero emissions.”

Decarbonizing of industries is expected to create 5.5 million jobs globally by 2050, and 50,000 in Singapore by 2030, KPMG said. These jobs may include those in areas such as energy efficiency, supply chain decarbonization, green procurement, new energy technologies, carbon trading and green finance, the professional services firm added.

KPMG Professional Services: Global Sustainability Consulting Initiatives

KPMG is introducing professional services and technologies to address sustainability worldwide. Example milestones and developments so far in 2023 include:

  • March 2023: Microsoft touted KPMG as a key consulting partner focused on sustainability projects.
  • February 2023: KPMG partnered with ESI Monitor in the Crown Dependencies to provide sustainability consulting and ESG reporting services. The effort involves ESI Monitor’s FutureTracker, a software platform that allows customers to target, achieve and maintain sustainability goals.
  • February 2023: KPMG and Workiva inked an “enhanced alliance to deliver environmental, social, and governance (ESG) focused solutions and services."
  • February 2023: KPMG hired Deloitte veteran Thitachai Apipongcharoen as climate risk manager for Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, the company has also faced some criticism for some operations. For instance, KPMG faced criticism in early March 2023 for serving companies accused of forest destruction even as the auditing giant increasingly focused on sustainability.

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