LONDON: The CFOs of some of Europe's leading corporations have launched a network to embed environmental and social issues into a company's strategy and finances.
The Chief Financial Officer Leadership Network, established by the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Project - founded by HRH The Prince of Wales - is the first of its kind to focus on the role CFOs play in integrating environmental and social issues into financial decision-making.
The move follows a speech at A4S last year by World Business Council for Sustainable Development CEO Peter Bakker who suggested "accountants would save the world. In simple terms we need to ensure that reporting makes clear: how a company is planning to make its money, not just how much money it has made."
According to A4S, there is a growing commercial imperative for businesses to take these factors into account if they are to future-proof their organisations. The organization adds: "There is now clear evidence that companies which address environmental and social issues deliver improved commercial returns."
In welcoming the new network the Prince said: "CFOs have a vital role to play in making sure their businesses thrive, not just today, but tomorrow and into the future. The bottom line is that sustainable business equals good business. I am therefore delighted that the A4S Chief Financial Officer Leadership Network will play a key role not only in communicating why sustainability makes business sense, but how to start accounting for it. Our children and grandchildren are depending on it."
Network members include Anglian Water, BUPA, Burberry Group, British Land, The Crown Estate, Danone, Royal DSM, Marks & Spencer, National Grid, Sainsbury's, SSE, South West Water, Unilever, United Utilities, Walmart (EMEA) and Yorkshire Water.
The new network says it will focus on developing and sharing successful strategies to improve modelling of future risk and uncertainty, as well as engagement with investors and other stakeholders to increase their understanding of the commercial benefits of sustainable business models.
John Rogers, co-chair of the A4S CFO Leadership Network and CFO of Sainsbury's noted: "HRH The Prince of Wales has rightly recognised the vital importance of bringing sustainability issues into the very heart of corporate governance and accounting.
"What used to be seen as greenwash needs to become as natural to company finance teams as it is to CR departments or even NGOs. I'm pleased to be co-chairing this significant new initiative and urge my counterparts in business and public organisations to contribute their skills and experience to the A4S CFO Leadership Network."