The value of an organization far exceeds what financial statements show. It is estimated that eighty percent of the valuation of a company actually depends on the worth of its intangible assets. With this in mind, this report by Delphine Gibassier, Ph.D., Toulouse Business School, Diane-Laure Arjalies, Ph.D., Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada and Claire Garnier, HEC Montreal in Montreal, Quebec examines a new occupation emerging in the field of accounting: The sustainability CFO. The sustainability CFO is a senior executive responsible exclusively for monitoring and reporting on the non-financial performance of a company.
Companies that appoint sustainability CFOs want to be at the forefront of the integration of social and environmental concerns into their organizational practices. These companies typically have a well-established sustainability strategy, a chief sustainability officer, and a desire to lead the sustainability accounting movement. Thanks to their accounting background, sustainability CFOs are expected to connect the discipline of accounting to the needs of sustainable development.
Sustainability CFOs remain rare, but the creation of this new position is of particular interest for the profession. One can wonder whether this emergence is a signal of profound change. This report addresses this question by exploring who sustainability CFOs are, what they do, the main challenges they face, and what the future could hold for both them and their fellow CFOs.