To further this goal, KPMG International partnered with the World Economic Forum (WEF) on a seminal project, The Future Role of Civil Society, launching a milestone report at the WEF 2013 Annual Meeting in Davos. The report looks out to 2030 and predicts what the world will look like as a result of new frameworks and collaboration among business, governments, and traditional non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to find solutions to large societal challenges. It synthesizes more than 200 major pieces of academic research, and brings together insights from 80 leading experts worldwide and a series of strategic workshops.
Lord Michael Hastings, Global Head of Citizenship for KPMG International, and vice chairman of the WEF Global Agenda Council, discusses the impact of The Future Role of Civil Society, and KPMG’s role in the project.
What is meant by “the role of civil society?”
Although the 'role of civil society' has referred broadly to those activities that take place outside the market, government and family structure that address the common good or aim to solve societal challenges, our work shows a dynamic new paradigm shift. The power and influence of civil society are growing and should be harnessed to create trust and enable action across sectors – business, governmental, public institutions and NGOs. The changes that Civil Society is undergoing strongly suggest that it should no longer be viewed as a ‘ third sector ‘; rather, civil society should be the glue that binds public and private activity together in such a way as to strengthen the common good.
What is the purpose of the Future Role of Civil Society project and what difference can it make?
The motivation for the Project came from recognizing that the big, intractable problems facing nations and communities won’t be solved by the traditional model where business, government and non-profits largely act independently. It puts forward a new way of thinking, oriented around collaboration and partnership and offers tools for leaders to assess their strategies for the future and to spur ideas for innovative ways of creating a more prosperous and resilient civil society.
Why did KPMG undertake this project with the WEF?
Corporate citizenship and commitment to communities along with professional ethics are fundamental to us. KPMG works extensively with business as well as governments in every corner of the world, and increasingly with the not-for-profit sector. The knowledge base and experience working across all three sectors creates a position of trust where walls that may have previously existed can be broken through, leading to integrated approaches to finding solutions.
Why is this project important to business?
Forward-thinking business leaders are embracing ways of doing business that are based on increased societal responsibility, real accountability and public purpose. The wave of thinking that companies should give more to solve problems has evolved into companies being active participants in social systems, tackling issues such as youth unemployment, water and food security and environmental responsibility. Business recognizes that in order to have prosperous, secure markets, it needs to be invested in civil society. The Future Role of Civil Society project is an important demonstration of the new way of thinking around collaboration, partnership and solution finding.