Survey: 8 out of 10 CFOs are actively involved in the responsibility and sustainability management of their company
Prague, 18 August 2014 – CFOs are becoming increasingly involved in the responsibility and sustainability strategies of their companies. While in 2012, only 65% of CFOs were constantly or at least frequently involved, last year, this number grew to reach 83%. This is one of the main findings of the recent Deloitte survey that was carried out among 250 CFOs from 15 countries around the world.
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“The current survey shows that more and more CFOs around the world are actively dealing with responsibility and sustainability management, and that they expect their involvement to grow in the upcoming years. At the same time, however, the final responsibility for this field is being transferred directly to the CEOs, as people are becoming more convinced that the manner of exploiting natural resources and the possibility of managing negative externalities have a significant impact on the overall prosperity of the given company. In 2012, only 44% of CEOs were primarily responsible for this agenda in their companies, while in 2013 it was already 62%,” said Tomáš Babáček, senior attorney at Ambruz & Dark Deloitte Legal, who specialises in the extended responsibilities of producers and corporate governance.
According to CFOs, business responsibility and sustainability have had an increasing impact on the acquisition agenda (48% as compared to 33% in 2012), on the allocation of the company’s capital (60% as compared to 48%), and on gaining capital (55% as compared to 44%). CFOs continue to be persuaded of the impact of business responsibility and sustainability on relationships with investors (64 %), risk management, compliance with legal regulations and financial reporting (66%), and on taxes (54%). Companies plan to invest most in energy efficiency, especially of buildings; and in clean technologies, in particular with the aim of reducing greenhouse emissions.
“The CFOs of foreign companies realise how difficult it usually is to push through investments in improving corporate sustainability and responsibility. This is primarily due to a rather long financial recoverability and insufficient due quantification of total investment benefits. This requires a strategic, long-term approach to this agenda, and that’s an approach companies, even in the Czech Republic, tend to adopt very gradually. Usually, it is only adopted by companies that can afford to plan their position further into the future,” added Tomáš Babáček.
The survey has also confirmed that more and more companies are interested in having an annual report on corporate sustainability assurance prepared by an independent third party. 55% of the companies that participated in the survey have their annual corporate sustainability assurance report audited by a third party, which is a significant increase in comparison with 2012 when only 28% of the respondents said they were using this option. Another 31% of the companies questioned intend to have their sustainability report audited in the upcoming two years; this number being only 29% in 2012.
“In this context, we must emphasise that companies will be facing higher reporting requirements. From 2016, companies will also have new obligations arising from the EU directive on the disclosure of
non-financial information, issued by the European Parliament in the spring of this year; its implementation in the Czech Republic is anticipated as soon as possible,“ informed Žaneta Krupičková, a manager in the Audit function of Deloitte Czech Republic.