Date posted: 24/03/2020

Matthew Longo

Hear from Matthew, a London based CA delegate, and his experiences at the 2019 summit.

About

Matthew is an Australian chartered accountant at the time of the OYW Conference he was working in London, but has since moved back to Australia. Having grown up in Australia and finishing high schooling in Hong Kong, he has had a long standing interest in global affairs and commerce. After graduating from the Australian National University with a dual degree in Commerce and Asian Studies, he started his career with KPMG Sydney before moving to London where he currently works with the Crown Estate, a business with a diverse portfolio of real estate and renewable energy.

Matthew has been fortunate in his career to work with organizations that take corporate responsibility and sustainability seriously. This has allowed him to take part in exciting programs such as the Jawun aboriginal partnerships program with KPMG Sydney and compiling elements of the Crown Estate’s sustainability reports.

In his spare time he enjoys running, drone photography, scuba diving, motorbike riding and is always planning the next travel adventure!

Matthew Longo

Application

In my experience the key areas where the profession can demonstrate trust and leadership locally is through more integrated reporting, helping address the challenges of an aging population and personal financial empowerment.

Integrated reporting, social responsibility and hedging off technology

Credible sustainability reporting is critical to building public trust by demonstrating businesses are thinking beyond pure profits to the communities and environments in which they operate. One key challenge for integrated reporting is getting consistency between reporting methods to achieve more insightful analysis and accountability. In addition to more standardised reporting methods, the embrace of block chain technology will play a key role in advancing this.

Aging demographics and personal empowerment

The UK's aging population coupled with low birth rates, similar to many developed nations, is putting a huge strain on the country's resources. Tax and social policies have not been reactive enough to these demographic shifts and household debt is at record levels. The profession can help transform this on many levels, from empowering individuals with their personal finances by lobbying government to have more personal money management in school curriculums, to assisting debt helplines and working with businesses to better educate their employees on the importance of retirement planning.

My experience

Thus far I've been very lucky in my career to be given opportunities to get involved in corporate responsibility and sustainability projects with organisations that take these issues seriously.

With KPMG Sydney, I took part in an aboriginal partnerships program, Jawun, which places professionals from across corporate Australia in aboriginal communities on a pro-bono basis. My project helped a community centre build a sustainable business plan and mission statement.

My current employer, The Crown Estate (TCE), incorporates integrated reporting with its statutory accounts and publishes a bespoke Total Contribution report that places financial metrics on items like environmental impact, staff retention and wellbeing. I compiled several sections of this report during my role as HQ Management Accountant. TCE is also at the forefront of helping the UK government achieve ambitious renewable energy targets, being heavily involved in the offshore wind sector.

Thinking global

Thinking globally, one of the biggest challenges in our world today is sustainably using the world's limited resources in the face of ever growing population demands. It has the ability to re-ignite wars and mitigation will likely require overhauling to how many people live. Furthermore, as more countries develop economically, the same living standards enjoyed by wealthier nations are desired. This development (as in many nations during the Industrial Revolution), can have a damaging impact on the environment and society if not handled carefully. There is no easy solution, but one avenue is working with global bodies like the World Bank to fund sustainable energy infrastructure (such as solar and wind farms) in developing economies, reducing their reliance on fossil fuels while development continues.

I would relish the opportunity to discuss these increasingly important issues at One Young World on behalf of CAANZ.

Post event

For me it was very special to meet like-minded individuals and fellow CAs from around the world to swap ideas and be inspired by the many projects and ideas. Also several presentations gave me new perspectives on the sustainable reporting work I had done with the Crown Estate. It is difficult to sum up a week of incredible speakers and ideas but highlights for me included:

  • Learning about Refinitiv's 'Sustainable Leadership Monitor' tool which harnessed a huge amount of integrated data on public companies. Data which could be used to assess company progress against SDGs and climate strategy.
  • Talk by Feike Sijbesma (CEO of DSM or 'Dutch State Mines') on the company's transition away from coal to more renewable products and practices.
  • Innovations on reef safe sun cream in Palau. As an Australian who grew up on the beach I was appalled to know of the damage sun cream can do to coral reefs and heartened by innovations in reef safe cream.
  • Brainstorming with FinBiz 2030, I hope to continue being involved with these initiatives from Australia.
  • Green bonds and sustainability transition finance initiatives being carried out by various organisations such as Enel, BP, Siemans and BNP Paribas.
  • Listening to Bill Browder on the power social media and finance professionals exposing money laundering and malpractice by government officials.
  • Hearing about the many projects of the Lead 2030 prize winners.
  • Listing to the inspiring stories of the many young keynote speakers, many had moving stories of survival and success against the odds. I have to say apart from being an inspirational week, it was also a sobering one to remind me how lucky I am to be living the life I am. As demonstrated by many of the keynote speakers, life is often a lottery in terms of where you are born and the opportunities presented to you.

Want to learn more about the 2019 One Young World Summit?

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