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CFOs playing bigger role in driving sustainability efforts - 16/10/2012


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According to the results of a global survey ‘Sustainability: CFOs come to the table’ launched by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), two thirds of CFOs say they are involved in driving sustainability strategies in their organisations, and more than half say their involvement has increased over the last year. 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 operationalising sustainability to gain a competitive advantage.

Sustainability seems to be becoming increasingly operationalised, with the percentage of CFOs and COOs accountable to their company’s boards for sustainability issues nearly doubling from 20% to 36% 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%—and tax matters—54%.

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%), data center efficiency equipment (52%) and electric vehicles (35%).

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 organisations.

In September 2011, Deloitte Luxembourg launched a first survey on the various roles of a CFO in the today’s organisations. The results of the survey (available at http://www.deloitte.com/lu/publications/cfo-survey-2011) showed that a CFO’s role has clearly evolved from being purely financial to comprising four major roles: catalyst, strategist, steward and operator.

According to Georges Kioes, partner at Deloitte Luxembourg: “Through the conducted survey, we have gained a very well defined and interesting view on the roles of CFOs in their organisation. We will further be looking closer at the CFOs current challenges in our CFO Survey 2012, which will be launched end of this year. With this update we hope to gain an even clearer insight into the every-day life of a CFO.”

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