Our WHY stories
Our WHY stories are examples of how BDO does business – whether for clients, supporting communities, or helping our own people succeed. Our firms all over the world demonstrate living our commitment to People helping people achieve their dreams almost daily.
BDO in Georgia launches ‘solution not pollution’ initiative
We celebrate BDO in Georgia which, in April 2022, launched an initiative called 'Solution not pollution,' with a focus on single use plastic waste. Since then, the firm has collected more than 300 kg of plastic waste of all kinds (equivalent to around 12,600 standard plastic water bottles) for recycling. 300 kg of recycled plastic makes up to 200 kg of synthetic fibre (PS Fibre), which in turn can be used to make textiles, with eight standard water bottles making one T-shirt, and 25 bottles making one fleece jacket. Recycling a single plastic bottle saves enough energy for a 60-watt light bulb to work for 3 hours.
Statistically, single use plastic objects are used for 15 minutes on average, yet a plastic water bottle takes around 450 years to degrade. Furthermore, plastic is not biodegradable - which means that it never fully disappears from nature. Instead, it turns into microplastic, which transfers into soil, water, air and living organisms. Whilst convenient, plastic clearly has a negative impact - both now and for future generations.
Zuarb Lalazashvili, Managing Partner at BDO in Georgia, said: "We are happy to have inspired our team members to be actively involved in the project. Real change happens when we work together and share the responsibility."
Along with recycling, the firm is also looking at ways to reduce and eliminate plastic use through changes in their value chain, as part of their ongoing commitment to sustainable development.
BDO in Australia hosts mental health charity gala
Recognising that mental wellness is essential to people achieving their dreams, BDO in Australia recently hosted its second annual Mental Health Charity Gala in Sydney. With more than 200 guests attending, including partners, staff, and clients, the firm was delighted to raise more than AUS$64,000 for two mental health charities, Lifeline Australia and the Groundswell Foundation. Grant Saxon, Managing Partner at the firm's Sydney office, said: "We are so proud to support the great work delivered by these charities and we are very grateful to the BDO community who continue to advocate for this important cause."
BDO in Ukraine has become an official partner of fundraising platform UNITED24
UNITED24 is an initiative launched by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to raise funds to rebuild Ukraine.
In seven months of operation, the platform has collected over $237 million from citizens of 110 countries and attracted a host of global celebrities as ambassadors. Funds collected via the platform are transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing needs.
The initiator of the partnership was Vitaliy Strukov, Managing Partner of corporate finance at BDO in Ukraine. Vitaliy said: "The reconstruction plan presented by our government requires $750 billion. Approximately $130 billion of this is required to create energy independence and security, including the generation of wind and solar electricity and hydrogen production. We will focus on attracting investment to Ukraine and are planning to arrange an investment conference to promote the UNITED24 platform and attract large international investors.
BDO in the Dutch Caribbean supports curaçao childhood cancer fund
In 2022, Gerd Glaudemans, Managing Partner of BDO in the Dutch Caribbean, took part in the DreamRides fundraising tour, an 822km charity bike ride that included around 20,000m of incline over various mountains in both the Swiss and French Alps.
More recently, the firm joined forces with the Curaçao Lions Club to support the 3rd edition of their 'Art X et plus' initiative, again to raise funds for charities including the RMHC Childhood Cancer Fund.
Gerd sourced 13 sport-related items for auction, including signed shirts from Tour de France winner 2022 Jonas Vinegaard, and donated the bike that he rode on the DreamRides tour.
The auction was a great success, with one of the highest bids placed on Gerd’s DreamRides bike, which eventually sold for USD 7,418. In total, the fantastic sum of USD 56,253 was raised for the charity.
BDO in Rwanda supports healthy communities
As part of their corporate social responsibility programme, BDO in Rwanda has paid the health insurance premiums of 500 residents of the Rulindo District, as they were unable to afford the payment.
The donation was part of the firm's quarterly outreach programme, in which the company's staff respond to a particular community issue. On this occasion, the BDO team also joined hundreds of locals to undertake community work, better known locally as Umuganda, to renovate soil erosion control mechanisms.
Beatrice Mujawayezu, BSO Director at BDO in Rwanda, said: "Alongside providing auditing, tax and advisory services, we believe that it is important to support the wellbeing of our communities."
Omar Djuma, Business Development Supervisor at BDO in Rwanda, also commented this community had one of the lowest subscription rates for health insurance. BDO chose to support them because “we believe that if people join hands they can reach further."
BDO in the Netherlands swim to fight cancer
In September 2022, over 300 people participated in Swim to Fight Cancer Tilburg, raising more than €160,000 for cancer research.
Mark Lenaerts, Partner at BDO in Tilburg in the Netherlands), has served as treasurer of the Tilburg branch of 'Swim to Fight Cancer' since 2018, with colleagues Luuk van Doormaal, Roy Timmers, Mathijs Wagemakers and Sjoerd Hutten also joining in and swimming 2 kilometres each on the day. This was the third year of the firm's participation, and in total the team has raised almost €600,000 for the charity. Mark said they were delighted to support the event again this year, to generate funds for a very important cause and raise awareness within the local community.
BDO in New Zealand supports refugees via ImpactLab initiative
BDO in New Zealand teamed up with ImpactLab to launch a ‘What’s your impact?’ competition. Not-For-Profit (NFP) and For-Purpose (FP) organisations were invited to participate to win $25k’s worth of ImpactLab’s GoodMeasure impact measurement services.
ImpactLab works with NFPs and FP organisations to quantify the impact of their activities by calculating a social 'return on investment' figure.
The competition followed a dragons' den style format, during which the top five entrants gave presentations to explain how the impact measurement service would help them achieve their goals. BDO's representatives Henry McClintock, NFP Sector Leader, and Justin Martin, Partner, joined ImpactLab founder Sir Bill English and Eat My Lunch founder Lisa King to form the judging panel. NISA, a social enterprise fashion label that provides jobs for female migrants and refugees, was the lucky winner.
ImpactLab has completed its report and found that for every dollar that Nisa invests in a member of its team, there's a $3 return. In total, it found that the company had generated close to half a million dollars in social value. ImpactLab's Chief Executive, Maria English, says this includes better overall income for the workers and their families, improved education, and better mental health - all of which increases the financial independence of those employed.
Henry McClintock, NFP Sector Leader at BDO in New Zealand, said: "At BDO we are increasingly seeing not-for-profit investors asking for quantifiable impact measurements. Having these insights also helps NFP organisations make better decisions about where to best channel their resources. We're delighted to hear how useful the report has been to NISA and we’re excited to see how NISA will implement the recommendations."
BDO in Pakistan pledges support to flood victims
Since mid-June, unusually heavy monsoon rainfall, plus melting glaciers caused by a severe heat wave, has resulted in the worst floods in the history of Pakistan.
A humanitarian crisis has unfolded, affecting 33 million people and causing more than 1,000 deaths, including 380 children. Nearly 218,000 houses have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands more have been damaged. More than 700,000 livestock have been killed.
These deadly floods threaten to engulf up to a third of the nation by the end of the monsoon season, taking a high toll on lives and on infrastructure, and wreaking havoc on crops in a country already facing food security challenges.
Many of the hardest-hit areas are amongst the most vulnerable in Pakistan, where children already suffer from high rates of malnutrition and poor access to water and sanitation. Most of the affected districts have seen public health facilities damaged, medicine supplies destroyed, and health workers displaced from their homes. The risk of waterborne disease is high, including cholera.
On 25 August, Pakistan declared a state of emergency. This week, UN Secretary General António Guterres launched an urgent financial appeal and, in line with our WHY, People helping people, BDO in Pakistan has pledged their support. The firm’s leadership team have already set a plan in motion to help the flood victims, to include:
A review of all staff salaries, effective 1 July 2022, to ensure that their employees can meet the additional challenges;
The deduction of a small amount from everyone’s August salaries, for donation to the flood victims,
An additional charitable donation from the firm.
Zulfikar Causer, International Liaison Partner, said “Whilst we are grateful that all our employees are currently safe, we are committed to playing our part in the relief efforts, to offer support to those who are less fortunate.”
If you’d like to help
There are many NGOs actively involved in providing funding for tents, food and medicine. Should you wish to make a donation, our colleagues in Pakistan have provided a list of the NGOs that will provide the best outreach to the most impacted areas.
BDO in Jersey joins the UN Global Compact
BDO Group in Jersey have joined the United Nations Global Compact Initiative - a voluntary leadership platform for the development, implementation, and disclosure of responsible business practises.
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 15,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and more than 69 Local Networks. It calls for companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption, and to act in support of UN goals and issues embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Jon Kandiah, Group Chief Operating Officer at BDO Group in Jersey, said: "BDO is proud to have joined the United Nations Global Compact Initiative. Joining this initiative is part of our wider commitment to running our business with environmental, social and governance themes at the heart. As well as minimising our negative impact, we will also continue to strive to increase our positive impact, within both the community and the environment."
BDO in Mauritius marks World Environment Day 2022
To mark World Environment Day 2022, BDO in Mauritius distributed reusable stainless steel drinking bottles to all its 900+ staff, with the aim to reduce plastic consumption in the workplace, reduce waste and environmental pollution.
This project follows a series of complementary initiatives that have been implemented over the past 2 years, including replacing all water dispensers with water filters in every office, and switching from plastic cups to paper cups in the coffee machines. More waste reduction projects are in the pipeline for the next financial year.
Shelby Emilien, Brand and Communication Executive at BDO in Mauritius, said: "As an organisation we're committed to playing our part in the fight against climate change, and to protecting our beautiful island from plastic pollution."
BDO in Guernsey adopts ECOSIA to plant free trees
As the result of a staff suggestion and inspired by BDO in the UK (who pioneered this initiative last year), BDO in Guernsey has made ECOSIA the default search engine of their firm, which means that free trees are planted with every search!
Ecosia is a search engine based on Microsoft Bing, but with one BIG difference. For every 45 searches made, Ecosia plants a tree somewhere in the world. Ecosia is a certified B Corporation, and is a private, non-profit and carbon neutral organisation with a 'privacy first' approach. No search information is stored, and data is not collected or sold to third parties. Users are also able to opt out of tracking. The service is 100% free of charge, so there are no costs to users or organisations who adopt it.
Dawn Sealey, Advisory Director at BDO in Guernsey, said: "It was a very simple swap and staff haven't noticed any change in functionality, compared to our previous search engine. It's an easy way to make a difference and support our sustainability objectives without even stepping away from our desks. We're all delighted to see our individual tree counts continue to grow!"