Some 31 percent of chief financial officers say they are rarely involved or not at all involved in sustainability strategy and governance at their companies, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte.
This hands off attitude is evident despite a majority of CFOs saying they are aware that sustainability will affect their “mainstream” duties, according to “Sustainable Finance: The risks and opportunities that (some) CFOs are overlooking.”
At the tactical level, however, many CFOs are meaningfully engaged with sustainability, Deloitte says. More than 70 percent of those surveyed expect sustainability to have an impact on compliance and risk management, and more than 60 percent foresee changes to functions like financial auditing and reporting.
Yet when it comes to sustainability as part of the overall business strategy, Deloitte says there are still blind spots. For instance, according to the survey, only 29 percent of CFOs believe that merger and acquisitions activities would be affected by sustainability.
The survey was conducted among 208 CFOs of large companies in 10 countries during the first half of calendar 2011.
According to an Ernst & Young report released in August, sustainability is increasingly falling under the jurisdiction of CFOs.
The report says that while sustainability issues have traditionally fallen outside the remit of the chief financial officer, job silos are crumbling as investors, customers and other stakeholders increasingly evaluate companies on their environmental, social and economic “triple bottom line.”