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The Bruce Column — Boosting the bottom line with integrated thinking, sustainability and value

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Jun 01, 2018

In a forthright interview with our regular columnist Robert Bruce, the CFO and sustainability chief of chemicals giant Solvay, Karim Hajjar, explains how connecting and integrating financial and what he calls extra-financial information creates value and feeds directly to benefits for the bottom line.

For Karim Hajjar, the link between sustainability and value is clear, though he might quibble with the strict use of the word sustainability. "If people ask me if I am a strong believer in sustainability I will say no", he says. "I am actually a big believer in sustainable value". And he made the difference clear in a statement he made in Solvay’s latest integrated report. "With over a 150 years of history we are deeply aware of the importance of value that stands the test of time", he wrote. "Sustainability without strong profits is unsustainable, while strong profits to the detriment of sustainability undermine the longevity of a business’" He is also increasingly clear on the strong links between ESG, environmental, social and corporate governance factors, and share price and returns.

In a video interview, he explains how integrated thinking should be the driver for integrated management, how investors are catching up, slowly, with an understanding of how all these ESG factors feed into the bottom line, and the value that non-financial, (what he calls extra-financial), measures create when strongly linked to the traditional financial measures. And he talks of how all these benefits provide much greater clarity in the quality and effectiveness of management.

Read the entire column on our Global IAS Plus site.

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