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PwC and World Press Photo, a partnership based on values

As of 2019, PwC is a proud partner of World Press Photo. Marc Diepstraten, member of the Board of Management of PwC speaks to Joumana El Zein khoury, new executive director of the World Press Photo Foundation, about our partnership. ‘One of the reasons our partnership works so well is because we share the same values’, she says.

Joumana remembers that from the first time they met, ‘we spoke about partnership and not about sponsorship. That was really important as it immediately set the tone for the relationship between PwC and World Press Photo. Of being open and honest, but also of helping each other in good times and in bad times. Of listening to what is happening in the world, of reacting in a context sensitive manner and of bringing about solutions.’

Marc shares that ‘for PwC, forming a partnership with World Press Photo met our desire to contribute to society not just financially, but as a knowledge and expertise partner with value in kind’.

Trust is a big factor in photography

An important theme where WPP gets the help of PwC is checking the authenticity of photos. ‘In the world of today, where there is a lot of fake news, it is very important to make sure that the photos that are being awarded are real photos and have not been manipulated’, tells Joumana. ‘Specialists of PwC helped us to check this’. Marc explains: ‘In addition to our check we had a strategic cybersecurity session with the entire management team of World Press Photo leveraging our interactive Game of Threats simulation. Game of Threats is about critical decision-making and it enabled World Press Photo to get insight into the complexity of cybersecurity and the steps that need to be taken to better secure their organisation against attacks.’

Diversity in many ways

PwC advised World Press Photo also on their diversity and inclusivity policy and on their rebranding. Joumana: ‘We wanted to create an international advisory board as part of the renewed diversity and inclusivity policy. PwC organised a brainstorm session on how to do it in the best way possible, without overwhelming but rather helping us in the decision making process.’ 

But she is most excited about the rebranding and strategizing of World Press Photo. ‘In order to be and stay relevant, in today's changing world, in the world of photo journalism and in a global environment, we really need to rethink the questions: what is our role, what is our impact and how can we be most impactful? PwC has helped in the development of a new strategy that has kicked off this year.’ 

For PwC, partnership is about how we work together, sharing knowledge and looking at expertise and learning from each other. Part of that is also bringing back the lessons learned into our own firm. According to Marc, the discussion on diversity was mutually beneficial. ‘I thought we were quite far in our journey on diversity, but it has so many different angles and that is something we learned from you, on how to look at it.’

Marc agrees with Joumana’s description as she says, ‘Photos have the power of making a person understand a very big problem by bringing it back to their level. Because it is such an intimate way of looking at a problem, you immediately understand it. And that is the power of photos and their stories’. 

Bringing that back to PwC, Marc says, ‘The power of World Press Photo really resonates with [our people] in being able to express what they are thinking and having that broader conversation about really difficult subjects.’

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David Verweij

Consultant Corporate Sponsorships, PwC Netherlands

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