The Sustainable Organization:

The Chief Financial Officer's Perspective

Chief financial officers are concerned about the performance of their company—and anything that could either bolster or impact that. Over recent years, this has made sustainability a growing consideration for them. For one, there are various serious risks from a reputational or operational standpoint that cannot be overlooked, but more importantly, leading finance chiefs are finding that sustainability can be a means for making better investment decisions, creating improved performance metrics, and capturing more valuable data about the business. In short, for the world’s leading companies, it has become core to running a company well.

Chief Financial Officer's Perspectives

This fifth point of view in our Lessons From Leaders Series, explores several distinct aspects of how sustainability is affecting the role of the chief financial officer and some of the specific questions it seeks to answer include:

  • How are sustainability considerations impacting the major investment decisions that chief financial officers regularly make?
  • What role is sustainability playing in achieving a more nuanced understanding of certain risks and investment opportunities?
  • How involved is the finance function in identifying the metrics and indicators that are truly material in assessing risk and performance, and collecting this data?
  • What is the evolving best practice in sustainability reporting and where is this heading?
  • What impact is sustainability having on relationships with mainstream investors?
  • Ultimately, how is sustainability impacting the value creation approach of a company?

Addressing sustainability well requires input from across the company and companies are turning to the finance function to add much-needed rigor to sustainability-related data. This goes beyond simply tweaking existing systems and processes, but involves a change in culture and behaviors too, within both finance and elsewhere across the business. Leading that shift will be the chief human resources officer, the subject of the next report in our series.

Chief Financial Officer Podcast

The third podcast in the series features Erika Karp, head of global sector research, UBS Investment Bank. She discusses how chief financial officers can help bring the rigor of finance to the issue of sustainability.

Download Video Podcast [MP4, 14.1MB]
Download Audio Podcast [MP3, 5.15MB]
Read the full transcript [PDF, 328KB]

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Sustainability Chief Financial Officer CFO Research - Accenture 
Chief Financial Officers must maximize the value of sustainability to create better investment decision.  Read the research on the CFO in the Sustainable Organization.
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