Sustainability Report 2016

Sustainability at ERM

Our stakeholders

As part of our commitment to good business, we engage regularly with key stakeholders. This process helps us to understand, prioritize and manage our sustainability impacts as an organization as well as to evolve our services to clients.

We have a range of internal and external stakeholders. We engage with stakeholders through a variety of mechanisms, including direct dialogue, surveys, engagement at professional and industry forums, and sharing information. The frequency and nature of this dialogue are designed to enable regular communication with stakeholders on key issues. We conduct additional engagement with stakeholders as part of the development of our sustainability reports, and this feedback is an important feature of our report preparation.

Stakeholders and engagement mechanisms


As a professional services firm, our employees are critical to our success. During FY16, we gathered feedback from employees through several mechanisms: 

  • Annual employee engagement survey, involving 78 percent response rate by ERM’s workforce;
  • Survey of partners, technical fellows, technical directors and Partners-in-training as part of the development of our new strategy, with responses from over 600 of our company leaders; and
  • Employee engagement sessions for ERM’s new strategy, which were open to all employees and engaged more than 2,500 employees across the majority of our offices.

In early FY16, we received feedback from 168 ERM employees on materiality within our company and the role of sustainability at ERM. At the same time, an ERM team, drawn from all our regions, identified and interviewed 29 thought leaders representing: 

  • Academia; 
  • Business associations; 
  • Independent opinion leaders; 
  • Nongovernmental or nonprofit organizations; and 
  • Think tanks and consulting.

The interviews covered the key sustainability challenges facing businesses in general and the professional services firms in particular, the material issues for ERM, our performance as the world’s leading sustainability consultancy, and the quality and content of our sustainability reports. This material was used in our FY15 materiality assessment and is seen as remaining current for FY16 as it was conducted in the prior financial year.

This year, ERM engaged directly with clients primarily, as well as other third parties on the key issues they are facing. We also held extended interviews with a number of key clients, with their insights filmed and shared with the company’s leaders as part of the company strategy development and launch process. These activities supplemented a range of other ongoing engagement mechanisms used to determine our sustainability issues.

We reviewed hundreds of published articles and reports on issues affecting our clients and identified several megatrends with particular implications for our clients and therefore our business. We have decided to focus on the impacts of four megatrends in particular as part of our new company strategy: 

  • Climate change;
  • Population growth;
  • Emerging middle classes; and
  • Technology.

Understanding these megatrends, and their impact on ERM, has provided invaluable insights that helped shape ERM’s new business strategy.

The key issues raised by ERM’s stakeholders, and our response to these issues, are summarized in the stakeholder feedback section of this report. Highlights featured throughout the report provide further practical examples of how we address issues important to our stakeholders.