• The Hungarian BDO strengthens with ESG division
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The Hungarian BDO strengthens with ESG division

06 September 2022

We can safely say that sustainability has now become a vital issue not only for the planet, but also for the future of companies. That is why it is not surprising that a new ESG division joined the Hungarian representation of the world's largest international consulting network, BDO, as of September 1.

The current step is also important for the global BDO network, since, as noted by Trond-Morten Lindberg, the company's CEO responsible for the EMEA region, BDO's mission is to be at the forefront of making the business world sustainable in as many markets as possible, and in this the launch of a new ESG team is a significant milestone. “BDO's ESG services professionals have seen exponential growth in demand in recent years. It must be said that ESG is no longer a "nice to have" phenomenon, but a business necessity. We believe that the moment is not far off when sustainability becomes part of a kind of "license" that enables doing business. Smart companies already know that it is not possible to choose between greening and long-term profit growth: sustainability is the path to prosperity," the international leader explained to Portfolio.hu. 

Zoltán Gerendy, managing director of BDO Hungary, said in connection with the recent portfolio expansion: "since the adoption of the EU Green Deal package, it is clear that sustainability expectations will eventually be integrated into the legal environment, the financial system, and then the operations of large companies and finally all companies. In addition to the new regulatory environment, conceptual systems and risks, new, green financial opportunities have appeared. Taking all of this into account, we saw that the time had come to launch our sustainability business. Ákos Veisz and his team have significant experience in ESG consulting both at large companies and SMEs. I think we needed our new service in order for BDO's already wide range to be truly complex, since the topic of ESG has now become just as important as the issues of law, accounting or finance."

With the move, the company, which employs more than 200 people and had a turnover of around HUF 6 billion last year, has become the market leader in terms of the complexity of the services provided to clients: ESG enters as the 8th business branch beside auditing, accounting and payroll, tax consulting, financial consulting, information technology consulting, legal consulting, as well as ERP and business IT consulting. In addition to its efforts related to sustainability, BDO also considers digitalization to be a prior strategic effort. It is typical of the company group's digitization efforts that it not only operates an independent ERP and business IT consulting business, but from next January, the accounting business, which can be said to be the most traditional, will also operate fully digital.

With almost 100,000 employees in more than 1,700 offices in 164 countries, the dedicated ESG team is far from unprecedented within the ranks of BDO, so the new domestic branch, armed with experts already experienced in this field, can also use the knowledge of foreign colleagues to Hungarian clients.

"We are happy that we could join BDO's global network with our ESG competence, as this name means quality and client-oriented consulting, which I can personally identify with to the fullest. Together with my business partner, Ádám Balog, I believe that a resilient, inclusive company that embraces the sustainability approach can be truly successful at the domestic and international level in the coming decades. Our goal is to contribute as much as possible to the successful, sustainable business growth of our clients with the knowledge of our team," said Ákos Veisz, head of the new ESG business. He added: when hearing ESG, the majority first associate it with the environmental impact, however, as is clear from the English acronym (Environmental, Social, Governance), this approach also covers social impacts and corporate governance issues.

The topic is therefore particularly relevant not only because the rationalization of energy use has now become the key survival for many companies, but also because a well-thought-out ESG strategy can have a positive effect on, among other things, turnover indicators and the ability to attract labour, which in many places has been the limitation of expanding for a long time. At the end of the day, this is the same business issue as the maximum exploitation of the ever-increasing green financial resources, which is extremely valuable in the current resource-scarce environment, and which can also be more effective with expert advisors behind us.

Even this far from complete list shows that the field of ESG shows a complexity that requires comprehensive, systematic thinking from the company. Ákos Veisz, added: "ESG affects HR, supplier relations, business opportunities, input and output materials, the company's internal operations and legal compliance at the organizational level. This is also why all such projects should be approached with a comprehensive strategic approach. And a written strategic plan not only shows the commitment of the owners and managers to the topic, but also clearly sends a message to the partners and the market, where decisions are increasingly made based on sustainability aspects."

With the new ESG business, a number of new, specific services were added to the "offer" of the Hungarian BDO. The experts support their clients, for example, in meeting the ever-higher legal and partner expectations related to sustainability, which now fundamentally define the procurement strategies of many companies. The Hungarian representative of the world's largest international consulting network is now ready to provide the necessary advice for obtaining green financial resources (green loans, green bonds, etc.).

In today's market situation, among the known energy supply and pricing anomalies, sustainability is not only a matter of social responsibility, but also an elementary business interest, even profitable operation may depend on it. For this reason, those who have not yet incorporated this practice into their operations should do so as soon as possible, for which in the current, dynamically changing regulatory environment it is worth involving an expert - this is certainly one of the "secrets" of the global and domestic popularity of ESG consulting, but in addition to the environment, the economic actors can only win in this process - concluded the leader.