- Dec 14, 2018
In their recent IMA report, “Sustainability CFO: The CFO of the Future?” professors Diane-Laure Arjaliès (Ivey Business School), Delphine Gibassier (Toulouse Business School), and Claire Garnier (HEC Montréal) discuss the role of the sustainability CFO.
A sustainability CFO is separate from the existing CFO and focuses on the nonfinancial performance of the company. Their overall mission is to gauge how their company contributes to and participates in sustainable development. The tasks of a sustainability CFO are aligned with that of a CFO but geared only towards nonfinancial issues. Their primary tasks are reporting, conforming to existing nonfinancial standards and regulations, benchmarking, performance measurement, putting systems and controls in place, business partnering/education, inventing the accounting metrics of tomorrow, lobbying and representation, and linking to “traditional finance.” While very few companies currently have sustainability CFOs, the authors suggest that the growth of this new role should be of particular interest to the accounting profession.
In their full report, the authors summarize their findings from interviews with various accounting and sustainability professionals. They discuss who sustainability CFOs are, what they do, why they exist, the challenges of the position, and whether they are here to stay.