B4SI News

In Conversation with Róisín Murphy, KPMG

Please describe your role and responsibilities. How many years have you been in the company?

I’m Róisín Murphy and I’m the Director, Co-Head of Corporate Responsibility at KPMG LLP.  I have the pleasure of doing a job share with Roisin Sharkey so we are known as ‘the Roisins’ – yes we both have the same name(!), however more than that, together we bring combined expertise, which is more important than ever as ESG matures. I joined KPMG firstly in Australia and then moved to the UK and I’ve been in the Corporate Responsibility team for more than 10 years.  I’ve worked in both international and UK roles.

Where did your interest in social impact begin?

I’ve lived in several countries and seen first-hand the stark inequality that individuals face. Whilst I was at university I studied ethics and I’m really passionate about the opportunity business has to collaborate with others to tackle social and environmental challenges locally and globally.

How has your social impact programme evolved at your company?

I’m really proud of how much the social impact of our programmes has evolved at KPMG.  There has been a significant shift towards an outcome led approach – we are now in the fourth year of our Corporate Responsibility strategy and our core focus is social mobility.  Last year we supported a record 45,000+ beneficiaries, 20 percent of which were in coldspot and Opportunity areas.

What are the challenges you encounter in driving your social impact agenda and how do you stay inspired?

The biggest challenge is to ensure we remain focused and support the issues where we think we can make a significant impact and drive change. It is important to regularly challenge ourselves to see how we can improve – for example, we are proud to be the founding business supporter of National Numeracy Day, together with the charity National Numeracy.  We know numeracy is a fundamental building block for social mobility, however it hadn’t received the same level of attention that, for example, literacy has had. It’s now in its fourth year and more than 186,000 people have taken the steps to improve numeracy.

Please give an example of how the B4SI Framework (or its tools and additional services) has helped you in your role, and your company.

We use the B4SI framework to help calculate KPMG’s annual community investment and it also helped us to develop our impact measurement framework when we first established our current Corporate Responsibility strategy. This framework means there is a clear methodology for our data to be externally assured – which we have been doing for the past seven years.

Please tell us about a recent innovative initiative adopted by your company.

Probably a lesser known programme externally is our Corporate Responsibility ‘Governance For Better’ programme we have at KPMG – many of our people volunteer as School Governors, Charity Trustees (I’m a Charity trustee myself for The Passage Charity) and Career & Enterprise Advisors – during the pandemic our people volunteered more than 10,000 hours in these roles.   We provide everyone at KPMG with six days per year to volunteer and for governance roles, we provide an additional two days.  However, what I am most proud of is that we not only provide time, the programme is supported by a series of upskilling workshops and networking events (now virtual!), together with an active online chat forum for our people who volunteer in these roles so we can provide the best support possible.

Please tell us how you have supported the community during Covid-19.

The educational disruption caused by Covid-19 risks widening the attainment gap between poorer students and their more advantaged peers.  We supported in a variety of ways during the pandemic – one example is we helped create the online classroom, Oak National Academy. With the support of the Department for Education we helped produce 8,000 lessons in a four-week period to complement the provision of lessons both in school and virtually. Through our pro bono programme, ‘For Better’, our people worked as project managers, supporting teams of teachers and overseeing the quality assurance of lesson production. In Oak’s first term, 20 million lessons were delivered to 4.7 million Oak visitors.

Please tell us about an example of Business Innovation or Procurement for Social Impact at your company.

We launched our Sustainable Procurement programme at KPMG 10 years ago – it’s a hot topic now, but when we launched it there was less awareness.  It started by ensuring there was a direct link to the UN Global Compact principles within our contracts and it is now a collaborative and vibrant programme – working with our suppliers on the on the Living Wage and measuring and reducing carbon in our supply chain through CDP, as well as now moving towards our suppliers setting Science Based Targets.

What is your biggest accomplishment or learning so far?

Juggling life as a working mummy and my two adorable children Aidan (who starts reception next week!) and Hannah. They inspire me every day and confirms to me the work Roisin, myself and our wonderful team do matters more than ever.

What is your motto in life?

Always do the best job you can and go above and beyond – be proactive and put your hand up for opportunities, don’t wait for them to come to you.


Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

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