The role of Finance in Sustainability is shaping up

Finance functions are stepping up on sustainability. Six Finance leaders shared their thoughts and experiences on how the Finance function can help integrating Sustainability in their business strategies and enforce change within the organization.


Over the last few years, the role of the CFO on sustainability has moved from the largely symbolic to the increasingly concrete.

Reasons are manifold. Most urgently, organisations are needing to respond to new initiatives around mandatory sustainability disclosures. These initiatives are triggered by increasing urgency of the climate crisis, nature loss, and mounting inequality. Increasingly therefore has sustainability become a strategic challenge. Organisations are looking at ways to limit climate risk, risk of stranded assets, are looking for mechanisms to judge which markets to serve and which big investments to make.

Successful companies will make full use of specialist knowledge built by sustainability departments to create links between the traditional sustainability agenda and the finance function. This is particularly important in getting up to speed and telling the corporate sustainability story effectively to financial markets, shareholders and consumers.

This shift of responsibility towards Finance makes sense. Amongst the biggest challenges in sustainability are dealing with the availability and quality of new sets of data and management information. As busy as they are, Finance functions typically have the most mature capabilities within organisations in dealing with this challenge. This holds true where the KPIs are new – e.g. CO2 emitted versus dollars earned.

This impacts Finance professionals in a major way, as they are getting to understand this new non-financial lexicon. The rewards are big. This understanding will empower organisations to get better insights into how value is created and ultimately will lead to better decision-making.

Follow this link for a short movie with Finance leads speaking about their progress.