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Public interest

What people expect of business is fundamentally changing, as is the definition of what it means to act in the public interest. In a world of uncertainty, business must help address society’s most intractable problems. 

Serving the public interest requires going beyond the economic context to include the interplay among business behavior, financial markets, and the long-term health and sustainability of society and the planet.

Today’s business organizations should see themselves as serving ends that go beyond financial success. Deloitte advocates for every company to define its overarching purpose and offer a clear explanation of how it makes a positive impact in society, not only for shareholders, but also for customers, employees, suppliers, communities and the planet.

This reflects Deloitte’s own Purpose-led approach, one that’s shared increasingly throughout the business community and articulated by organizations such as the US trade association of CEOs, the US Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation and The World Economic Forum’s Davos Manifesto 2020: The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

For organizations that provide audit and assurance services, the concept of public interest traditionally focused on providing reliable information for capital markets, specifically around a company’s management, its operating model and internal controls. Deloitte understands that while this remains a critical component, its public interest responsibilities have expanded to include issues such as sustainability and societal impact. Consistent with its commitment to purpose and to act in the public interest, Deloitte aims to be transparent about nonfinancial measures of business performance and provides disclosure of wider environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. Deloitte shares these public interest metrics through the lens of its services, people and operations, as well as its impact on society.


Deloitte’s commitment to responsible business underlies everything we do. It’s more than just doing the right thing; it’s about demonstrating how we live our Purpose and Shared Values through the company we keep. This is articulated in Deloitte’s Commitment to Responsible Business Practices Statement, which outlines our beliefs and the commitments we have made, to inform our decision-making.

Deloitte provides audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, and tax and related services around the world—always striving to act in the public interest, exercise the highest ethical standards and deliver the highest-quality services.

Following are some examples of how these services benefit the public interest:

Deloitte provides audit and assurance services that serve the public interest by enabling trust and transparency across and between stakeholders in the financial reporting ecosystem. Deloitte’s independent auditors help the capital markets system function with greater confidence, attesting to or expressing opinions as to whether financial statements, internal controls and regulatory reports are prepared in accordance with identified financial reporting frameworks.

Seldom has Deloitte’s role in the capital markets been more critical than during the period of unprecedented uncertainty and business disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Deloitte responded swiftly to the challenges presented by COVID-19, arming its professionals with the guidance and tools necessary to perform high-quality audit and assurance services in a virtual environment and communicating relentlessly, both internally and externally, to reinforce our commitment to ethics, integrity and professional skepticism. Across Deloitte audit and assurance businesses, leadership messaging reiterated the importance of Deloitte’s public interest role and stressed reports are not issued until all audit work had been completed.

Deloitte is committed to constant enhancement of relevant and reliable audit processes that are increasingly essential to investor confidence and to the ongoing vitality of capital markets. Audit quality remains a top priority and key focus for Deloitte. Ongoing investments in audit quality, transformation, innovation and technology demonstrates Deloitte’s commitment to fulfilling its public interest role and enhancing trust.

Learn about Deloitte’s commitment to audit quality

Deloitte helps organizations take decisive action and achieve sustainable results. Our practitioners work alongside both public and private organizations across industries to help address their most intractable challenges, even societal challenges like decarbonizing the economy, improving health equity and fighting human trafficking.

Decarbonization across industries

As the transition toward a clean energy future is underway, we understand it may change companies’ assets and operations. Deloitte is helping companies in sectors like transportation, agriculture and chemicals create and execute roadmaps to a lower-carbon future and a net-zero aspiration. As an example, Deloitte is working with the major US and European chemical councils to accelerate the industry's path to a lower-carbon future by understanding future scenarios and emission-reduction solutions, and using that knowledge to determine actions that chemical companies can take toward achieving a cleaner future.

Improving health equity

Deloitte is committed to working alongside organizations to improve health equity. Unified by a common mission, the Deloitte Health Equity Institutes were established to share our most insightful learnings, extend the efforts of others, and meaningfully contribute to broader health equity issues, like improving vaccine equity. Deloitte US is supporting the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Adult Immunization program that addresses long-standing issues existing in vaccination rates, knowledge and attitudes through relationships that drive community-level action to support racial and ethnic minority groups in getting vaccinated.

Fighting human trafficking

The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread economic impacts, with unprecedented unemployment disproportionately impacting women, racial and ethnic minority communities, and other vulnerable populations. It is critical that recovery efforts extend to include those who are left behind even in the best of times, including victims and survivors of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Deloitte is proud to help clients craft strategies to bring sustainable employment to survivors of human trafficking while simultaneously combatting these reprehensible activities. As an example, Deloitte US is working alongside a US government agency to support its efforts to stop the importation of goods made by forced labor.

Deloitte supports more than 90% of the companies committed to RE100, a global initiative backed by the world’s most influential businesses to transition to 100% renewable electricity. The Deloitte Center for ESG Solutions has applied decarbonization, hydrogen, electricity and other quantitative energy models to support major sustainable energy transformation projects in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Deloitte has been engaged as a trusted adviser on more than 1,200 distressed and COVID-related mandates. Deloitte’s Turnaround and Restructuring teams have assisted governments around the world to administer pandemic-related funding for businesses and individuals, and Deloitte has participated in government-sponsored COVID-19 task forces that advise governments on distressed sectors. Deloitte’s infrastructure practices have supported projects related to pandemic response and economic stimulus, including supporting testing and tracing programs, and promoting prosperity with purpose on projects around nation building, smart cities and urban renewal.

Deloitte Forensic advisers help companies and governments combat the trillions of dollars of damage wrought by fraud, economic and financial crime. In the last five years, Deloitte has handled more than 15,000 fraud, waste and abuse (FWA) investigations and financial crime engagements to help clients proactively identify and respond to malfeasance; implement systems to monitor and detect issues; and quickly and efficiently address incidents. By stopping bad actors from accessing illegal funds, Deloitte helps stem the tide of terrorist financing, drug and human trafficking, wildlife exploitation, counterfeit goods manufacturing and abuse of the health care system. In addition, Deloitte has been at the forefront of data analytics, developing proprietary assets that help governments and corporations accurately respond to legally mandated information requests, protect personally identifiable information (PII), and confirm the accuracy of data relied upon to make critical public policy and business decisions while preserving transparency.

Deloitte helps businesses manage risks in an evolving and interconnected risk landscape, and build the trust, resilience and security organizations require for enduring success and responsible business. With solutions in Accounting and Internal Controls, Cyber and Strategic Risk, and Regulatory and Legal Support, Deloitte Risk Advisory businesses connect with clients’ complex and unique challenges, enabling them to achieve positive outcomes, sustainable growth and positive societal impact.

As part of Deloitte’s wide range of Climate and Sustainability solutions, we are committed to guiding organizations to more sustainable futures. For more than 20 years, the rapidly growing team of more than 1,000 dedicated practitioners has addressed climate and sustainability challenges and delivered on Deloitte’s Purpose of making an impact that matters for clients, our people and our communities.

Deloitte Cyber advises, implements and operates a comprehensive portfolio of cyber solutions to anticipate and prepare for the cyber risks of the future. Cyberattacks are on the rise with increasing persistence and sophistication. More than 22,000 Deloitte Cyber professionals globally help organizations identify their risks, prepare for and detect the threats, strengthen and secure their environments, and most importantly, respond and recover.

Deloitte helps businesses and individuals meet compliance requirements by guiding them through rapidly changing and complex domestic and international tax laws. Other changes on the global tax landscape—like digitization of tax, sustainability reporting, workforce mobility and supply chain reconfigurations—are fundamentally shifting how the tax function operates.

Deloitte Tax professionals act as advisers to clients on these complex matters while continuing to help them understand and fulfill their tax obligations under the law, including increasing reporting requirements. Deloitte uses its local and global tax knowledge to assist businesses and individuals in interpreting complex, and sometimes unclear, tax laws to navigate uncertainty and minimize the occurrence of tax disputes.

Advice from Deloitte practitioners is subject to high ethical standards, rigorous quality control and technical reviews, and local professional standards. To continually advance the quality, consistency and integrity of our advice, Deloitte has developed global tax principles that are adhered to by Deloitte Tax practitioners around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges and accelerated business model changes in dramatic ways, most with financial, tax and people implications. Deloitte guided clients through various government relief measures, along with rapidly changing regulations and filing deadlines. We also responded to requests for input from tax authorities who were seeking to provide support to businesses and individuals as efficiently as possible.

Deloitte contributes time and resources to help policymakers at local and regional levels ensure that tax laws achieve tax policy objectives, are clear and unambiguous, and do not create undue burdens on businesses and individuals.

These efforts promote a greater level of tax compliance; encourage good tax governance, transparency, and cooperation; and reduce the number of tax disputes and enables their resolution—facilitating revenue collection by tax authorities around the world. All these are vital components of an effective tax system that supports the foundations of society.

Deloitte hired nearly 84,000 professionals globally in FY2021, about one person every six minutes, and remains committed to developing leaders at every level of the organization. We estimate Deloitte’s total, direct, global investment in learning for FY2021 to average US$2,200 per person. We strive to provide an inclusive workplace culture underpinned by respect because we believe that working and learning with people of different backgrounds, cultures and thinking styles helps our people grow into better professionals and leaders in their careers at Deloitte and beyond.

View people metrics

Deloitte is committed to making an impact that matters on society. Through Deloitte’s WorldClass ambition, we are focusing on developing job skills, improving educational outcomes and expanding opportunities for 100 million people worldwide by 2030. Through our Impact Every Day initiatives, we have provided and promoted much needed health, economic and livelihood support to communities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

View societal investment metrics

Deloitte’s commitment to sustainability drives us to manage our operations responsibly and champion environmentally sustainable initiatives across the organization and supply chain globally. We believe we must lead the way to build a better, stronger and more sustainable world. WorldClimate, Deloitte’s climate change strategy, was formulated in FY2020 to focus the organization on making responsible climate choices. Four pillars support the strategic direction:

  • Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030;
  • Addressing Deloitte’s internal policies and procedures to align with its climate ambitions;
  • Educating and inspiring Deloitte people to act on climate change; and
  • Working with ecosystems for collective impact.

View environmental sustainability goals

Through the challenges and uncertainties of the past year, Deloitte has strengthened credibility and trust with stakeholders by consistently living our purpose.