Robert Bruce interviews — How to ensure that finance takes you into the future

Published on: 23 May, 2017

In a wide-ranging video interview about the Awards with our regular columnist, Robert Bruce, the Executive Chairman of the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), Jessica Fries, and Alan Stewart, one of the lead judges of the awards, and CFO at Tesco, look at the achievements and growing value of the programme.

They talk about the value of the awards and how they recognise and celebrate the role that finance and finance teams can play in creating sustainable businesses. They look at the achievements across the history of the awards and how they have created a formidable series of case studies of examples to inspire organisations all around the world. They emphasise the role of the finance function. ‘The key word is finance’, says Fries. Alan Stewart talks of the changing role of the finance department and of the CFO. And they both emphasise the importance of the communication of integrated thinking. Both talk about the benefits which keeping a focus on finance for the future and sustainability brought to organisations. ‘Companies that are managing these issues well and in a strategic way are a much sounder investment’, said Fries.

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Part One: The Value and Benefits of the Finance for the Future Awards: Jessica Fries and Alan Stewart talk about need to recognise and celebrate the key role which finance plays in creating sustainable businesses. 

Part Two: The Importance of Finance and the CFO: Alan Stewart talks about how the world of finance is changing and how the Awards highlight the increasing importance of the forward-looking nature of finance functions. 

Part Three: The Changing Role of the CFO: Alan Stewart talks about the importance of the CFO as a business partner. 

Part Four: Embedding Sustainability: Fries and Stewart talk about the long-term consequences and the importance of embedding ideas so that they are at the heart of day-to-day decision-making. 

Part Five: Examples of Business Success: They talk about examples where companies have developed an embedded sustainability programme, or where they have developed projects which deal with capital expenditure programmes, and how finance has been the central to the success achieved. 

Part Six: Success in the Not-For-Profit and the Public Sector: They talk about how sustainability often fits these sectors more easily. When the core purpose is the social good these programmes are even more critical. They talk of how finance and other outcomes can work hand-in-hand. 

Part Seven: The Longer-Term View: They talk about longer-term horizons and the importance of recognising the long-term impact. 

Part Eight: Investing and Financing: Fries and Stewart talk about how companies are introducing sustainability into whatever they are investing in. They talk about how large asset managers are creating innovative projects and how start-ups are setting up wholly new business models. 

Part Nine: Integrating Financing: Jessica Fries talks about the importance of managing risk and opportunity across all of investment funds. 

Part Ten: Costs and Benefits: Fries and Stewart explain how it costs less overall if you can demonstrate a sustainable approach to your investors. This provides better quality management and pushes the thinking in finance. 

Part Eleven: Communicating Integrated Thinking: Fries and Stewart talk about how this category of the Awards has become one of the most competitive and international. They talk about using an integrated approach across all communications and the thought-provoking way that companies use different approaches. 

Part Twelve: The Global Effect: They talk about the way that the Awards highlight how many innovative examples there are around the world and how, despite different challenges, finance functions are driving change. 

Part Thirteen: The Benefits of Value Creation: Fries and Stewart talk about how the benefits of the approach clearly demonstrate the value created. 

Part Fourteen: Youth and Innovation: Fries and Stewart talk enthusiastically about how impressed they have been by the energy, creativity and the level of excitement that younger people, the graduate generation, have brought to the Awards. And they look forward with keen anticipation to this year’s Award for Innovative Ideas.

Part Fifteen: How To Get The Most From The Awards: They emphasise how projects should be finance-led and demonstrate clear business benefits. 

Part Sixteen: The Value of the Case Studies: Both Fries and Stewart emphasise the importance that the Awards have in showcasing examples of great work being done. People really want to see the story-telling, case studies and example of great achievements. It is all about building a body of knowledge for the future. 

Part Seventeen: Advice For Entrants: Jessica Fries and Alan Stewart describe what they are looking for and how important it is to ensure that finance is at the front and centre of the work and the way entrants have gained the benefit of wider thinking. 

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