2012 Sustainability and the CFO Study

Published on: 26 Sep 2012

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, according to a global survey by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), 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 operationalising sustainability to gain a competitive advantage.

CFOs have begun to take an active role in driving the execution of sustainability strategies and making key organisational changes within their organisations, such as introducing more sustainable technology and deploying environment-friendly policies.  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 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 centres, CFOs plan to invest in three specific areas: video conferencing (56 percent), data centre 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 organisations.


The infographic downloadable below highlights these and other insights from the 2012 Sustainability and the CFO survey.


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