Developing Holistic Solutions for Sustainability and Growth with Rob Fisher of KPMG

March 20, 2024

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Rob Fisher is KPMG’s US ESG leader and global Advisory ESG lead. He is responsible for building holistic solutions that pave a clear path to purpose-led, sustainable business to build resilience and drive profitable and measurable growth. These services and capabilities focus on key ESG themes, such as ESG strategy, climate change and decarbonization, ESG measurement and reporting, and sustainable supply chains, supported by a wide range of data-driven solutions, technology tools and deep industry experience to navigate and simplify the complexities of every stage of our clients’ ESG journey. Rob also serves as KPMG’s global leader for ESG transformation and reporting services.

This episode was recorded in December of 2023.

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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. I’m John Shegerian, and I’m so excited to have with us today Rob Fisher. He’s the ESG leader at KPMG US. Welcome, Rob to the Impact Podcast.

Rob Fisher: Hey, thanks, John. It’s great to be here. I really appreciate you having me.

John: Of course. Before we get chatting about all the important impactful work that you and your colleagues are doing at KPMG and ESG work, we’re going to talk a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, Rob? How did you even get on this fascinating and important journey that you’re on?

Rob: Well, I’ll take you on the way back machine, and then there’s a gigantic gap, and then I’ll roll it forward. As you can tell from my accent, I was born in England seriously, and my father was in the British Navy.

John: Wow.

Rob: If you know things about the British Navy, he got stationed for two years in Washington, DC, and what they do is they leave their kids in British school systems. I went to boarding school in England from age eight to age 10 while they lived in the US. I’d see them on long holidays, but otherwise, I was kind of on my own, right? Two things, one, you become super independent, self-reliant. That’s one side of it. But I used to spend all my shorter breaks with my grandparents, and they lived in the southwest of England, beautiful farm, and we ate everything, vegetables, fruit, you name it, and anything we didn’t eat, they took down into town and we traded it for butter, for eggs, and things like that, and it just, that was amazing.

My grandfather used to take me on walks all over the place. We’d go pick blackberries, raspberries, and stuff, and it just gave me an appreciation. One, for the tangible value of what our planet gives us, in terms of feeding us, taking care of us, but also the incredible beauty, the ability to be introspective, to find peace, and so that kind of set in me a lifelong love of just being in the outdoors and appreciating nature and everything our planet has to offer. Then there’s a gigantic gap.

Roll forward. I go to the University of Virginia. I become an accounting major and an auditor. I have done IT risk and control work at KPMG for 25 years, and then my daughter, who I think was 17 at the time, is just all in on Living Green sustainability. She’s the president of the Green Club at high school. She’s teaching us how to compost properly at home, teaching us how to recycle properly, thinking about how we eat differently, and then the firm came to me and said, “Hey, would you like to get involved with ESG?” I was like, “Well, yes, I’ve learned a ton.” It’s brought me and my daughter so close together, and she now is a junior at CU Boulder doing an environmental sciences major and pursuing sustainable agriculture, ultimately, but having one of your kids deeply care and love what you do is just really awesome. I just love that aspect of it. I’m kind of like I was brought back to this by my daughter, and it’s been incredible.

John: What an interesting bookend from your grandparents. It’s a wonderful bookend to your story and to the arc of your life from appreciating the environment as a child with your grandparents and the beauty of everything the Earth has to offer. Then now, as a form of really creating an everlasting bond with your daughter, I don’t think you could have better bookends than that in any man’s life. I got to tell you the truth. That’s sounds [inaudible].

Rob: Yeah, I loved it.

John: When you were a little boy going to boarding school for someone who has no idea what that’s like. Was it like a Harry Potter situation or was it something of that nature?

Rob: Yeah, I mean, it kind of is a little crazy. I mean, you live in these dormitories with a bunch of other young hooligans, we’ll call it, running roughshod with no parents to sort of look after their cases all stayed in place. We weren’t too magical. But I mean, I actually look back on it, and I feel like it was two of my sort of favorite years of my life just having a ton of freedom to make mistakes. Unfortunately, maybe not being taught lessons at the time. But yeah, I mean, a great time. It seems terrible. My wife, when we talk about it, she’s like, “I can’t believe your parents would ever do that to you.” She’s like, “We would never do that to our kids.” I don’t think we would. But in retrospect, it was it was fine. It was great.

John: Yeah. Look, you’re here now. Look at the important great work you’re doing. There’s something to and you made the most of it. Like, just say that. You made the most of it. That is wonderful. Let’s talk a little bit about what ESG leader means. Rob, I’m in a unique and wonderful position where I get to meet so many cool people like you who are doing really important work with so many neat brands across the planet in so many different sectors. As you and I know, ESG could be read very narrowly, very widely. What at KPMG US, what does ESG leader mean at your firm? How and how is it defined? What does your role really look like on a day-to-day basis?

Rob: Yeah. Great question. John, we’re organized around our audit business, our tax business, and our advisory and consulting practice. The ESG role is really to build out the multidisciplinary model across all of those disciplines, how we help clients. In the advisory space, it’s helping them prepare for the compliance reporting, things like that. But more importantly, it’s the climate and decarbonization work navigating the energy transition. It’s working on how do we make our supply chains more sustainable?

How do we improve health equity or human rights and value chain? It’s the governance around all of this. It’s a wide range of solutions. But then, it’s the taxes and incentives, like helping clients unlock what’s in IJA, the IRA, all those amazing ways to be able to move the needle and make capital allocation decisions more favorable towards moving faster right on helping us green up our operations, our big businesses to bring more renewable energy to the table.

Then as increasingly we get more mandated reporting rules, our audit practice is helping provide that assurance over the information being reported. In fact, many companies have been actually getting their emissions information, for example, assured for many years. Really, it’s being able to do all those things for our clients. We say kind of from strategy through to execution to the reporting and ultimately to that assurance on the back end as well.

John: It’s so interesting. Really, the way I can restate what you just said as a layman, you’re already a trusted advisor in so many areas, especially when it comes to your audit practices and advisory practices to your clients. You’ve now added this ESG element in because they’re looking for guidance and you’re already a trusted advisor. Who better to look to than to you?

Rob: Yeah, I think that’s a great way to say it. Maybe one really important decision that I think we made is that there’s kind of two ways we could do it. We could stand up a standalone sustainability practice and we could be delivering all of our services through that pillar. That is what some firms do and that’s fine. For us, we really wanted to, as our global chairman has said, make ESG a watermark under everything we do. It’s really about embedding a sustainability lens into all that we provide to our clients.

We’ve always provided infrastructure services to our clients, helping look at capital projects, how to get those executed, how to ensure they’re running on time. But now those capital projects are all about how can buildings be more sustainable or how can I deliver a big new renewable energy source to a client behind the meter? We’ve always delivered audits. Now, we need sustainability to be part information there, to be part of that, right? In every part of our business, and this is what you and I were talking about before the show, was our young people, they all want to be involved. If we wall this off in one small part of our business, it doesn’t give all the opportunity to everybody that would like to be taking what they do and having a sustainability lens on it to help make a difference.

John: Right. That’s so interesting. You get to sit in a fascinating position and have a lot more visibility than normal folks like me in terms of what trends are really happening because you touch so many industries and so many different types of clients. What are some of the more interesting and important trends in the ESG landscape that you’ve seen evolving over the last 12 to 18 months that you want to share with our listeners and our viewers, Rob?

Rob: Yeah. John, we’ve been doing a bunch of surveys recently, and I’ll cherry pick a couple data points. I think the big thing that we’ve seen is that clearly it’s moved from, “Hey, this is the right thing to do” to, “Hey, this is delivering tangible financial results for us.” In fact, we saw that most of the folks we surveyed in our ESG and financial value survey said that it was delivering financial results today, but about 80% said they expected even greater returns in the next one to five years.

Relatively, here and now kind of timeframe, a full 96% of folks said they were aligning ESG goals to broader business strategy, and 91% of them said they expect to increase these investments over the next three to five years. I look at that and why did they do it? Well, they see reasons like access to new capital, increasing customer loyalty, improving business resilience against climate risks, and the potential for things like premium pricing of sustainable products. We saw kind of those resilience and premium pricing being things that were more three to five year, whereas some of the things like access to capital are sort of right here and now. But if I step back from it, my kind of big two takeaways were, one, activities have to clearly drive financial value in addition to broader societal and stakeholder impact.

Two, leaders are generally really confident that they can do that. The key is not to have sustainability and ESG initiatives like sitting out on an island like they are some standalone effort that lives for the purpose of a corporate sustainability report about how great we are, but rather, they’re integral new levers for value creation. That pricing premium, that customer loyalty, and for value preservation staying aligned with expectations of big B2B customers or making the business less susceptible to costly climate related events and so on. I think it’s that integrating with core business as a new lever for value that I get super excited about because it’s then got a real impetus behind it to drive the impact that we desperately need.

John: True. But that’s so fascinating what you just said, because when I started the show in 2008, and when I would ask sustainability leaders back then, why aren’t other companies doing this? This is now 15, 14, 13 years ago. They would say, “They’re very afraid, John because they all associated back then sustainability meaning more expense.” Here, you’re disavowing us of that. Basically, you’re saying more ESG work means really value creation. You’re saying sustainability can actually mean you save money and make the company better and more resilient. It’s totally turned the beginnings of the sustainability movement on its head in terms of folks leaders back then thinking that sustainability means it just costs more money. It’s actually the opposite.

Rob: Yeah, I think we’ve clearly crossed over in that regard and that there, and I want to highlight too, yes, value creation, but value preservation too, I think is really important. I think a lot of people underestimate the impact of doing nothing. I’ll just give you one quick example. We were working with a logistics company who asked to talk to us. They said, “We just lost one of our biggest contracts.” Why did they lose it? Because one of their competitors came in, they had studied who the big customer was.

That customer had some pretty bold goals including scope three emissions reductions. They were doing some pilot stuff with the electrification of the truck fleet. In their pitch was a big thing about, “Okay, we’ve already done this, but if we’re now your key logistics provider, we will go much further with electrification.” It was both a creation lever for the competitor and a value destroyer for them because they hadn’t moved fast enough. I think that what organizations increasingly are going to see is that there’s also an incredibly high cost to not taking action.

John: Right. I see that in our industry with the OEMs, the OEMs are in a race to make their electronics now out of more recycled materials, more circular materials, because they realize the next generation, like your children and like my children are voting with their pocketbooks. They care about the environment, they want to buy greener, more sustainable, more circular products. It’s just simple.

Rob: One hundred percent, right? Over time, they don’t expect to pay more for it either. That there’s a lot of engineering work to be done.

John: That’s right. That’s very true. Well, during your surveys, did you also find from the results that it was also a great attraction and retention, recruiting and retention tool as well in terms of getting companies to really embed ESG and sustainability as part of their DNA and their culture?

Rob: We did. Certainly, employees increasingly want to work with organizations where they feel that the organization’s values align with their own. When we saw like what moves the needle for folks, I think employees were perhaps the second biggest driver. I think it was 82% of organizations said that they felt that one of the reasons, one of the big drivers or influences were employees. The number one though was, and I think this is kind of inverted from maybe what’s been true in the past, where I think at one point it was really investors putting a ton of pressure, particularly activist investors really stirring the pot as well as the concerns of regulators, but really B2B partners, supply chain partners and that expectation that large players can now dictate across their ecosystem to say, “Hey, we’re looking for business partners who are going to align with our science-based targets, are going to take actions consistent with our values.”

We’ve seen small businesses in particular that maybe they’re not as moved by employee sentiment perhaps but they are really moved by like my example of potentially losing a client or having an organization say, “Hey, we expect you to do this.” I can tell you that we are a supplier, consulting services provider for a lot of big companies and we are getting inundated with questionnaires but also like, “Hey, your CDP score has to be at least X if you want to stay in our preferred provider pool.” or “Hey, you need to have your admissions assured by ex-date if you want to continue to do business with us or you must have a science-based target.” Luckily, we found ourselves on the good side of all that cause we’ve been very active ourselves but we get a lot of panicked calls from smaller companies saying, “Hey, I just got a call from a customer and they want this. How do I get started?”

John: Understood. Well, Larry Fink was one of the first people that sort of kicked off this new trend of everybody going all in or should go all in on ESG and sustainability saying that his portfolio companies weren’t going to be able to talk about it anymore at BlackRock, they would have to actually be doing the work and proving up the work they do. More recently, Rob, obviously because we live in this great country and this great democracy, which is ongoing and evolving all the time, things seem to get politicized or polarized.

How do we pull ESG out of that vortex of politicization, polarization and all that unnecessary pushing and pulling because we all truly do share one environment and we all share one beautiful earth that you got to enjoy as a young person with your grandparents, I got to enjoy the same thing partially growing up on a farm in New Jersey as well. How do we pull it out of that and make it clear to businesses that this is an imperative for all of us, for all of our families, for all of our children and our grandchildren and just for the betterment of the environment and to keep it out of politics and this whole polarization nonsense. How do you gently do that with your clients and guide them across that high wire?

Rob: Yeah. Well, it’s a phenomenal question and you’re right. It’s funny, I heard someone say the other day that one time ESG got rose in popularity as a term because there was still like climate change was like a problematic word. But I think at this point, climate change is no longer a problematic word. I think everybody agrees with some small exceptions, the climate change is real, it’s happening.

John: Right. Of course.

Rob: The science is kind of undeniable, right? But now, ESG has become one of those words like [inaudible] or cancel culture that [inaudible].

John: Yeah. Ridiculous.

Rob: In our surveys, despite all that view on financial value and all the actions that folks are taking, 43% of CEOs said, “We have changed the language with which we used to refer to ESG internally and externally.” I think it is much more about anchoring on what are the specific initiatives that you’re taking that move the needle for that particular organization in terms of both driving that financial value that we talked about and creating impact. I’m thinking back, actually, you had an amazing session with Robin at Wells Fargo. She was really honed in on the programs, right? They’re important for Wells Fargo.

She was talking about like the things they’re doing in sustainable finance. It was like really cool to hear how it spoke about the direct value to Wells’ business, but how she was super excited about all the impact it could make as well. I don’t think anybody could really have problems with like, “Hey, Wells Fargo has figured out a way in this example that they are providing financing, it’s providing a return to their business, but at the same time, it is having a lasting and meaningful impact on the ecosystem as well.” Right? That’s where I think we have to get to is, I’m part of a global firm, we’re committed to the term ESG. I think in the US, I might even take a different term, honestly, but we’re here, but we always with clients focus on what’s the right language for the things that are driving value and impact for them.

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John: Yeah. Right. Fascinating. I love that. I think that’s just a practical and great approach. Being that you’re part of a global firm, talk a little bit about the globalization of the rules and the laws that are starting to come down and govern this whole sustainability ESG sector. The SEC and Gary Gensler is putting out his own rules, the EU just put out their own set of rules, Asia I’m sure is going to do the same. What’s the future of the rule setting and how difficult does that make it for global firms that you consult to, to be able to adhere when the rules and the laws become a patchwork quilt? Is there going to be any harmonization of these rules in the future that you foresee coming to your global clients that you get to service?

Rob: Yeah, it’s certainly the big challenge. A lot of the companies and clients that we work with, when they first come to us, they’re in, I would say a compliance mindset of, “Help me figure this out.” You use the term patchwork quilt. I think that’s probably a very fair term over the current state of affairs.

John: Right.

Rob: I do think there are some encouraging signs out there because if you look at the International Sustainability Standards Board and the work that they’ve done, now TCFD, which was really the largest framework out there in terms of climate that people were reporting on along with GRI. They’ve taken over the forward-looking standard setting, they’ve integrated now, and CDP is going to be getting a lot of that information disclosed as well. A number of countries, let’s set the US and the EU aside for a second, but the UK, Brazil, we expect to see Canada, Australia, a number of other countries, they’re going to follow ISSB.

I think there’s a good baseline there. Then if you look at the SEC’s draft rule, if you even look at the California climate law, for example, they’re very aligned, I would say, to those principles as well. It is daunting. I think the big wild card is the EU, the CSRD, while it is, while there are some elements of alignment, certainly, the expansiveness of the corporate sustainability reporting directive in the EU is actually what has most of our clients, including a lot of our US clients, 3000 of them are projected to be impacted by having to comply with that. That is probably the one that has the most requirements and complexity to it. I would say, I’m cautiously optimistic broadly that the patchwork quilt will not have so many patches in it over time, or the patches will look more like each other with the one caveat being that I think there’s still a fair bit of work to do relative to international standards in the EU.

John: Right. Yeah. Interesting. For all our listeners and viewers who’ve just joined us, we’ve got Rob Fisher with us today. He’s the ESG leader at KPMG US, to find Rob and his colleagues and all the important work they’re doing in ESG, please go to Rob, talk a little bit about specific requests. You get to deal with thousands of great brands and leaders from those brands, C-suite folks, and other leaders from those brands. What are the top two or three things once you assess them, what are they asking you about most? How to de-carb the fastest? What are the things that they want to do the fastest that can make an impact so they can get some wins under their belt, so they can prove to both their constituents and their employees, that this is here to stay, and that this is a winning program to be on. How does that work typically?

Rob: Yeah, so maybe I think there’s kind of two big buckets. Maybe I’ll start with maybe it’s a little more, and we were just talking about report. I think many come to us and say, “Okay, what do I have to report? What should be my strategy? What should be in my approach? Then how do I get ready to capture the data, to instantiate that in technology and to be able to meet all my requirements, and have good control over all of it because eventually it’s going to get audited?” That’s a multi-year journey where it starts with the assessment, but to your point then, a lot of times it’s very much like, help us with the data strategy.

Like, what’s the best way to get this data, including stuff that lives beyond our four walls because it’s in supply chains or with other third parties? How do we bring that into a platform and then be able to do reporting? That’s going to be a multi-year journey. I would say that that is one body of work that is happening everywhere right now. I think the other side, which is candidly the piece that gets me super excited is more on the, “Help me understand my climate risk profile, help me understand the physical and transition risks in my business. Then I can understand, what my decarbonization pathway looks like as well as make my business more resilient in the here and now.”

Then helping them on a decarbonization pathway that looks initially for low-hanging fruit, whether that’s BPPAs, contracting for onsite renewable energy, but then looking to supply chains, looking to production processes, looking at carbon footprint of individual products and seeing how you can make them more circular or drive out the emissions. I mean, once you start on a decarbonization pathway, it’s kind of got many different threads that you can pull on. There are many different ways to get there and it’s helping kind of identify what is the best pathway for that client considering both emissions reduction and the realities of cost, like what’s it actually going to take.

A huge part of that is what we bring to the table, which I think is a big difference maker, is this hugely deep tax experience that we have to help clients understand the rafts and incentives, credits, as well as taxes and things that can really change the economics of that decarbonization pathway. When we can kind of bring the strategic insight with the tax understanding to create the right pathway and then help them on the pathway, that’s the stuff that is like super exciting.

John: Right. That sounds like magic to me. That sounds like the magical word, the convergence of where everything really comes together. Speaking of that, which I wasn’t even thinking about till you brought that up, how about the Investment Recovery Act? Do you also counsel your clients on the ability to access potential funds available to them in the Investment Recovery Act to again, help de-carb this country as a whole, which was the original purpose of the IRA?

Rob: Yeah, 100%. In fact, we’ve actually been directly involved in different things with not just the IRA, but IIJA opportunities, things like that. One thing we were involved with, as you may have seen recently the hydrogen hubs and the nuclear energy approved various applications. We are actually directly involved in actually putting together one of those applications and getting the successful awarding or funding to now be able to start building out the opportunities with the corporates that are involved around putting that hydrogen hub together. That is one thing that I particularly am passionate about is that we can’t just be like a consultant, an advisor, kind of like a ride-along. I do want to be directly in the action of actually being part of real decarbonization solutions. That’s always a big focus of ours is like, how can we be very much a tangible part of the process?

John: Is one of the compelling reasons to use KPMG versus like just say a smaller consulting firm or smaller consultant, even a singular consultant is the access that you have to solutions that you’re able to plug into your clients looking for this kind of help and advice and guidance because of your wide breadth of experience at this and your firm’s wide breadth of experience at this, not only in the US, but I’m sure there’s a Rob Fisher, the analogous person in the EU, I would assume and potentially Asia as well.

Rob: Yeah, there are much cooler Rob Fishers all over the KPMG network. Yeah, it’s a pretty amazing network of folks. Like I was actually just talking to our folks in India recently about some of the decarbonization work that they’re doing in a country that has some really hard-to-decarbonize issues and like our capabilities there around some of the renewable technologies, how do you help transition from coal to more sustainable sources? How do you change farming practices?

I mean, they have deep sustainable agriculture capabilities and once again, unlocking incentives, credits, and things like that, bringing technologies to bear. I mean, that’s absolutely one of the values that we bring. We also work with so many of the big Alliance partners. Certainly, Microsoft, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Workiva, people like that who have some of the great solutions to be able to help clients understand like, “Hey, you may already have these things in your environment.” Now, you can extend the sustainability capabilities of these platforms to start accomplishing some of these other objectives, which I think would be a bit of a struggle for kind of your smaller boutiques, and things like that.

But still, I love to play in the innovator, and the startup ecosystem as well. We are a minority investor, but also a kind of Alliance partner with a really cool company called Context Labs and they have a really neat capability that essentially is a blockchain platform that can use data from satellites, sensors, high-major cameras, things like that. Be able to create a record of what actually has happened to be able to do something with that. In the case of Williams, one of the ones who moves about 30% of the natural gas in this country, basically helping them demonstrate that their pipelines are creating a lower intensity methane natural gas, which they are then able to sell at a premium to organizations that they’ve made commitments to lower their carbon footprint.

Again, to that point about financial value, it’s actually working with startups, being able to help them craft the product, the offering, then working with really cool four-minded businesses like Williams in this case, to be able to create something fundamentally new that creates value but is helping move the needle on emissions as well. Methane, as you know, is extremely problematic, so particularly impactful when you can reduce methane intensity.

John: Sure. When I was reading up for this interview, I read that your global CEO has talked about CESG being a watermark under everything you do at KPMG. Explain what that means to both me and to our listeners in New York, so we get a better understanding of that. Yeah, I love that.

Rob: Yeah, I love it too. Bill, our chairman, I mean, there’s a deep personal passion for him, and that is very inspiring, I think, for all of us that work in this field to know that that Bill himself is deeply committed, and I ran into him in New York recently, and it was like, saw me, and like, I’m like, “Wow, well, one, he knows me.” Which is kind of awesome.

John: That’s good.

Rob: But he was so inquisitive about it. “How’s it going in the US market? What kind of projects are you doing?” I mean, that’s great, and it just inspires us, so kind of that example I gave earlier of like, we’re not building a sustainability business in its own stovepipe, right? We are building sustainability as a lens into everything that we do for clients across our audit, tax, advisory, and managed services, multidisciplinary business, and like supply chain. Like, we’re not building a sustainable supply chain practice. We’re taking sustainability and making it a new lens in our existing supply chain practice.

Yes, clients still want logistical efficiency for lower-cost resilience, and they need sustainability in their supply chain as well. We need to bring it in as part of the projects we’re already doing. What that’s meant practically is all, I lose track, but it’s at least 225,000 employees. I think it’s more than that, but literally every single one of them getting up-skilled in the topics of ESG. We’ve partnered with Cambridge’s Joseph Business School, and NYU’s Stern Executive Education Program to help us create training to up-skill everybody. Some need the base level, but some to be able to go much deeper, because the other part of this, John, we talked about is we are a ton of young people, and they all want this. I think that the watermark strategy that Bill has allows us to provide, no matter where you start your career at KPMG, you will have an opportunity to play in the sustainability space.

John: Right. That’s awesome. Rob, you’re doing so much important and great work right now. Without it, I know you can’t give away any trade secrets or anything, but what are you and your team really excited about coming up or coming into an exciting year? 24, it looks like the economy is improving, or at least we’re not going to have some sort of hard landing. We have an election year coming up, a presidential election year, very big decisions to make there. What are you particularly excited about, it seems as though the ESG movement is gaining momentum, and there are more and more people coming online, especially the young generation that is pushing and pulling us to a better world ahead. What are you excited about that you and your colleagues are going to get to work on at KPMG next year?

Rob: Well, I think for me, it has to be I feel like we’re in the same kind of spot maybe that’s what it must’ve been like to be in Silicon Valley 20, whatever, years ago at the start of a dot-com boom, the innovation that is happening, and America is just we have this amazing innovative culture and history that there’s just, in my opinion, no better place to be, but you do see incredible innovation all around the world as well. The opportunity to work with innovative organizations that are fundamentally bringing new technologies, whether clean manufacturing or renewable energy technologies, extending battery life, putting new kinds of batteries or new materials in batteries so that they’re made more sustainably, right? All these things are so exciting to me.

I’ll just give one example. There’s a friend and colleague of mine, his name is Bjørnulf Østvik, and he’s the CEO of a company called Ecogensus. Bjørnulf has invented just an incredible technology around, he’s basically a sustainable materials platform company that essentially takes waste and turns it into a lot of different things, including materials, raw materials that are needed for many different activities both commercial and potentially military, things like that. But I’ve seen him turn, or like regular household waste into a beautiful coffee table that embodies carbon or squashes carbon for as long as it’s around. It’s incredible. The methane avoidance you get from, I mean, landfills is a huge problem from a methane perspective.

When you think about landfills, around the world, many of them in some countries, they are right there next to the market, and there’s cross-contamination. His vision involves helping with health issues all around the world and things like that. You meet people like that and you are like, “It gets you out of bed every day in the morning.” It’s pretty awesome.

John: When is his methodology going to be commercialized and scalable and been come to America and other parts of the world?

Rob: Well, those rhinos are functional now.

John: Wow.

Rob: He’s just now starting some of the rollout plans. But I mean, it’s been super exciting to watch the process. I remember the first time we had one of our colleagues go down and actually watch the process. You’re like, it literally is like magic.

John: That’s awesome. Rob, I have to ask you before I let you go, you’ve been so kind with your time today. Is your grandparents’ farm still in the family or did that pass out of the family?

Rob: It has passed out of the family, but I’ve been back to the area recently and it looks like it is very well cared [inaudible] came along after. But I have actually invested in a small piece of farm property, which I am naming with the exact same name that their farm had. I’m trying to sort of recreate some of the magical elements because I aspire to have some grandkids at some point and I want them to have that same experience that I did.

John: Exactly. Did you invest in that farmland in the United States?

Rob: Yeah, that’s on the Eastern shore of Virginia.

John: Perfect. That is wonderful. What’s your daughter’s name the one who’s going to environmental scientist?

Rob: Kira.

John: Kira, so what does she want to do after she graduates? What’s her dream?

Rob: Well, she’s going to graduate in three years. She’s already been accepted to the master’s program at Reading University in England for sustainable agriculture. She wants to go there for a year and then she wants to go all around the world, see different sustainable farming techniques all around the world, and eventually try to bring that back, everything she knows to the US and figure out what she does with that. She’s like one of the most driven humans I’ve ever met and she’s only like 20 years old.

John: Shout out to Kira and that’s just great and shout out to her for inspiring her father to go and become the ESG leader at KPMG. Rob, thanks for your time today and I thank you and your colleagues for doing all the great work for our listeners and viewers who want to find Rob Fisher and all his colleagues at KPMG who are working on the important work of sustainability and ESG, please go to Rob Fisher, the world needs more of you and I’m very grateful for your time today but more importantly, I’m thankful for you making the world a better place.

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