Global professional services firm KPMG announced the appointment of Mike Shannon to the newly created role of Global Head of ESG Assurance. According to the firm, Shannon will be responsible for “embedding and executing on ESG Assurance as an integral element of KPMG’s overall Global Audit strategy and further embedding ESG as the watermark across the global KPMG organization.”

The announcement comes as companies worldwide are facing increasing pressure from investors, regulators and other stakeholders to provide disclosures relating to ESG initiatives and sustainability plans and progress. Several countries have announced moves towards instituting mandatory climate disclosures, and sustainability reporting standards are rapidly emerging, most notably through the recent establishment under the IFRS of the International Sustainability Standards Board.

The creation of the new ESG Assurance role follows the recent initiation by KPMG of a multi-year program aimed at accelerating global solutions for ESG issues, and to support clients in their own sustainability efforts, including plans to invest over $1.5 billion in its initiatives to further embed ESG in the organization and client solutions, and provide ESG training for all of the firm’s 227,000 employees. As part of the KPMG Global ESG plan, the firm said that it aimed to expand its workforce to provide assurance on ESG disclosures, and to develop its proprietary audit workflow technology to enable delivery of ESG assurance with the same quality and rigor applied to financial audit work.

Shannon has been with KPMG for nearly 35 years, most recently serving as the Global Head of the Chemicals and Performance Technologies practice, and National Audit Industry leader for Chemicals for KPMG in the US. He will report to Larry Bradley, Global Head of Audit, KPMG International.

Bradley said:

“ESG Assurance is a key area of investment and focus for organizations across the globe. KPMG professionals can only collectively continue to enhance the trust of investors, stakeholders and the wider society if the information that businesses publicly report is robust and independently assessed. I am confident that Mike will continue to drive KPMG’s ambition and commitment to deliver ESG Assurance that can serve the public interest – that is the mission, and one that KPMG professionals are aiming to achieve.”

Shannon added:

“People are the heart of our organization. Across the globe, KPMG firms have skilled professionals who are passionate about ESG and collectively committed to bringing better quality ESG insights to clients and investors. The guidance from the ISSB, and proposed rulemaking from the US SEC, can only help to enhance the quality and consistency of ESG data being gathered and reported and should help investors, stakeholders and the wider public digest that information more easily. ESG Assurance will be a game-changer, and I am very excited to be continuing to serve clients, enhancing public trust and driving a renewed excitement for the profession that has served me so well over the years.”