KPMG buys Australian practice of Action Sustainability

11 March 2020 3 min. read
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KPMG has acquired the Australian arm of Action Sustainability, a consulting firm specialised in sustainable procurement services.

Action Sustainability was founded in 2006 in the United Kingdom, initially as a social enterprise funded by UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. On the back of growing awareness for sustainable supply chains and procurement, Action Sustainability has grown into a mid-sized UK consultancy with around 30 consultants and staff .

The Australian division of Action Sustainability launched in 2016, when shareholders and partners Ian Heptonstall and Shaun McCarthy (also the co-founders of the Supply Chain Sustainability schools in the UK and in Australia) teamed up with a quartet of experienced individuals on the ground in Australia: Mark Lyster, Jean-Louis Haie, David Pugh and Danielle Mulder.

Lyster was previously a Director in EY’s climate change and sustainability practice, and before that he worked nearly a decade at Ecos Foundation. Haie worked for two consulting groups in France, including a spin-off of Kearney, before relocating to Australia to head Planet Procurement.

KPMG buys Australian practice of Action SustainabilityMulder previously served among others KPMG and Accenture in the UK, with a focus on supply chain, and environmental consultancy Edge in Australia. Pugh meanwhile also serves as a partner at Sydney-based boutique supply chain consultancy PMMS Consulting Group.

Under their leadership, Action Sustainability Australia has grown to a team of 10 consultants, working for clients across the Asia Pacific. The firm specialises in social and environmental sustainability advisory services, including sustainable supply chains, investments, property and infrastructure. The firm also offers a range of sustainability training courses and has a proprietary software solution. 

More impact and purpose

Commenting on the joining of forces with KPMG, Lyster said that the move broadens the firm’s service offerings and allows its team to have greater impact at scale. Also, “it is very aligned with our purpose of inspiring sustainable business.” 

The integration will see the full team of Action Sustainability Australia transfer to KPMG’s Sustainability Services practice, with the exception of Mulder, who has returned to the UK to pursue other career interests. Later this month the team will relocate to KPMG’s Barangaroo office.

For KPMG, the acquisition adds “social and environmental expertise that complements and expands its existing human rights, social impact and sustainability capabilities,” said KPMG Australia chief executive officer Gary Wingrove.

The team of Action Sustainability

The acquisition builds on KPMG’s bolt-on of human rights consultancy Banarra four years ago, and comes under one year after the purchase of digital player Love Agency. In 2019, the firm also bought insolvency and forensics specialist Ferrier Hodgson, and in 2018 innovation consultancy UDKU was absorbed into its footprint.

KPMG Banarra’s Global Head of Human Rights Services, Richard Boele said: “Action Sustainability brings great depth in the built environment and infrastructure sustainability performance areas, as well as complement our responsible sourcing capability. It’s a great match for us to grow the impact we can have with our clients on societal and global challenges.”

In the UK, donates 2.5% of its revenue (regardless of profit) to ASCIC, whose mission is to build the body of knowledge around sustainable procurement.