CFOs View Sustainability as a Business Opportunity: Survey

CFOs View Sustainability as a Business Opportunity: Survey

More than half of chief financial officers and finance executives in a recent survey believe their companies will boost revenue, investor returns and employee retention through sustainability.

CFO Research and commercial real estate and money management firm Jones Lang LaSalle surveyed 175 top finance executives for the report, "The Role of Finance in Environmental Sustainability Efforts." The executives represented Herman Miller, Dow Chemical, Bank of America, Weyerhaeuser and American Electric Power.

The survey found that regulatory compliance was the highest priority objective for incorporating sustainability into company initiatives, followed by improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and operations-related environmental impacts.

The difficulty in measuring the effects of sustainability on shareholder value and on financial performance proved to be the greatest barriers to incorporating sustainability into financial strategy.

CFOs, though not chiefly responsible for fueling sustainability initiatives, can play a role in using sustainability to improve financial performance, the survey found.

"Most CFOs believe sustainability can lead to cost savings, increased revenues, greater customer retention and a competitive advantage, so clearly this is an opportunity that can not be ignored," said Lauralee Martin, global chief operating and financial officer at Jones Land LaSalle. "The question each of us should ask is whether we are taking an aggressive enough position, given the rapidly approaching tipping point of this issue."