Two thirds of CFOs say they are involved in driving sustainability strategies in their organizations, and more than half say their involvement has increased over the last year, according to a global survey launched by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) today, Sustainability: CFOs come to the table. The survey—representing 250 CFOs in 14 countries across five continents—provides global insight into how increasingly more CFOs are engaging with sustainability to support their business goals, and operationalizing sustainability to gain a competitive advantage.
“Companies are sitting up and taking notice that sustainability is not just a brand or a corporate responsibility element—it is becoming a key driver of financial performance and the future of business,” says Dave Pearson, Deloitte Sustainability Leader, DTTL. “As such, CFOs have begun to take an active role in driving the execution of sustainability strategies and making key organizational changes within their organizations, such as introducing more sustainable technology and deploying environment-friendly policies.”
Indeed, sustainability seems to be becoming increasingly operationalized, with the percentage of CFOs and COOs accountable to their company’s boards for sustainability issues nearly doubling from 20 percent to 36 percent in the past year. As such, CFOs have become focused on a number of sustainable operating practices:
Increased focus on sustainability in tax and financial reporting: As integrated reporting gains momentum, along with a growing number of green credits and incentive measures, CFOs placed greater importance on sustainability aspects of reporting. The majority of CFOs reported a meaningful impact from sustainability concerns on both financial reporting—74 percent—and tax matters—54 percent.
Increased investment in technology: To further reduce the footprint of company travel and energy use from data centers, CFOs plan to invest in three specific areas: video conferencing (56 percent), data center efficiency equipment (52 percent) and electric vehicles (35 percent).
This global survey reveals the growing importance of sustainability in operations and its concrete impact on business performance. Deepening CFO involvement in – and responsibility for – sustainability issues could well signal deeper shifts within a number of organizations.
About the survey
The independent, global survey of 250 CFOs was undertaken by Verdantix on behalf of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms. All the companies represented by the interviewees report annual revenue of more than USD 1 billion and their average annual revenue is USD 12 billion. Interviewees were based in 14 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Middle East, Russia, South Africa, UK, and US), representing companies in 15 different industries, with a minimum of 9 interviews per industry.
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