Professional services firm PwC Australia announced today the appointment of Janette O’Neill to the newly created position of Chief Sustainability Officer. In her new role, O’Neill will advise the firm’s clients as they navigate and address ESG risks and strategies, and will also help lead PwC’s own sustainability agenda. O’Neill will also serve as Financial Services ESG lead, supporting PwC’s clients in the sector.

The new appointment follows the launch last year of PwC’s global strategy, The New Equation, with plans to invest $12 billion over the next five years, creating over 100,000 net new jobs, with ESG one of the key focus areas for investment. In 2020, PwC announced a series of commitments, including pledges to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions globally by 2030, decarbonize its supply chain, embed ESG factors in the work it does with clients, and support efforts to develop ESG reporting frameworks and standards.  PwC Australia recently announced the formation of an ESG Advisory Group, a group of external ESG experts assembled to help the firm in advising clients on achieving ESG goals, while guiding the firm on its own ESG activities.

PwC Australia’s Chief Operating Officer and ESG Executive Liza Maimone said:

“We are delighted to welcome Janette to PwC Australia. Her appointment as our Chief Sustainability Officer is a critical part of our effort to build meaningful growth and value, for our clients and our firm, as we strive to deliver on our sustainability goals including global science-based climate targets of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“Through our client work and our firm-wide commitments, we are determined to contribute to the creation of a more sustainable and equitable Australia. Janette’s experience and expertise will make a significant impact on our ability to do that, helping us resolve some of our client’s most significant strategic, commercial and operational challenges.”

O’Neill joins PwC from QBE Insurance, where she has served since 2017 as Group Head of Sustainability. She has held a series of sustainability-related roles at several firms, including serving as Head of Sustainability for Australia National Bank, GM Culture, Leadership & Transformation for energy distributor Vector Limited, and Group Manager Sustainability at Amcor. The appointment marks a return for O’Neill to PwC, after serving as Associate Director in the Sustainability & Climate Change team at PwC UK, where she established the firm’s first Corporate Responsibility strategy and report.

O’Neill said:

“Organisations and governments are facing a wide range of complex, interconnected and disorderly ESG issues. Our ability to help clients bring clarity to that disorder, uniting a broad range of expertise, experience and technologies to solve seen and unseen problems, allows them to manage and mitigate risk whilst being a catalyst for environmental, social and economic prosperity.

“PwC Australia has made a choice to push the world forward, driving positive and meaningful change in all areas of its client work and firm-wide commitments. This role will contribute to that progress, helping our clients create shared value as they transition their organisations to meet commercial and societal expectations; and the firm, as we help them navigate that transition.”