In celebration of the One Young World (OYW) Summit’s 10-year anniversary, the 2019 summit was held in London - the city where OYW was founded in 2009 by David Jones and Kate Robertson.
Each year Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand send two aspiring business leaders from their region to the summit to hear from global leaders on the big issues, collaborate with other young leaders and act as a representative for the organisation.
In 2019, London-based CA delegate, and former Senior Finance Analyst at The Crown Estate in the UK, Matthew Longo attended the summit, alongside Bernadette Scanlon.
Matthew grew up in Australia, finished high school in Hong Kong, and graduated from the Australian National University with a dual degree in Commerce and Asian Studies.
He started his accounting career at KPMG Sydney before making the move to London where he worked with The Crown Estate, a business with a diverse portfolio of real estate and renewable energy.
“I have been fortunate in my career to work with organisations that take corporate responsibility and sustainability seriously. This has allowed me to take part in exciting programs such as the Jawun aboriginal partnerships program with KPMG Sydney and compiling elements of The Crown Estate’s sustainability reports,” Matthew says.
While working both in Sydney and in the UK, Matthew developed a passion for leading sustainable change, and embraced every opportunity to be involved in projects that addressed the challenges of society and the ageing population.
“With KPMG Sydney, I took part in an aboriginal partnerships program, Jawun, which places professionals from across corporate Australia in aboriginal communities on a pro-bono basis. My project helped a community centre build a sustainable business plan and mission statement,” Matthew says.
“My former employer, The Crown Estate (TCE), incorporated integrated reporting with its statutory accounts and published a bespoke Total Contribution report that places financial metrics on items like environmental impact, staff retention and wellbeing. I compiled several sections of this report during my role as HQ Management Accountant. TCE is also at the forefront of helping the UK government achieve ambitious renewable energy targets, being heavily involved in the offshore wind sector.”
The mission of the OYW summit is to connect a generation of leaders, and Matthew was excited to attend the October 2019 event to understand how his CA background could enable him to drive change on a local and global scale.
“For me it was very special to meet like-minded individuals and fellow CAs from around the world to swap ideas and be inspired by the many projects and ideas that they were working on. Several presentations at the summit gave me new perspectives on the sustainable reporting work I had done with The Crown Estate, so I am excited to be able to apply those learnings to my work,” Matthew says.
Reflecting on the inspiring stories of the young keynote speakers who found success after defying all odds, Matthew says the experience provided him with valuable insight into how his role as a Senior Finance Analyst at TCE and skills as a CA could help him drive social change in the UK.
“In my experience, the key areas where the profession can demonstrate trust and leadership locally is through more integrated reporting, helping address the challenges of an aging population and personal financial empowerment,” Matthew says.
“In addition to addressing these challenges with integrated reporting, I believe that the profession can help empower individuals with their personal finances by lobbying the government to have more personal money management in school curriculums, assist debt helplines and work with businesses to better educate their employees on the importance of retirement planning.”
Attending the One Young World Summit not only provided Matthew with an opportunity to challenge his perspective and approach to change, but an opportunity to learn from others.
“It is difficult to sum up a week of incredible speakers and ideas, but hearing from the projects of the Lead 2030 prize winners, brainstorming with FinBiz 2030 and listening to Bill Browder on the power of social media and finance professionals exposing money laundering and malpractice by government officials were definitely some of the key highlights,” Matthew says.
“One of the biggest challenges in our world today is sustainably using the world’s limited resources in the face of ever growing population demands, so the presentation by Feike Sijbesma, the CEO of Dutch State Mines, on the company's transition away from coal to more renewable products and practices, inspired me to reflect on how lucky I am to be living the life that I am, and how important it is to embrace every opportunity that I am given.”