In recent years, businesses have been sent a clear message, especially by external stakeholders: conduct business responsibly. Stakeholders have expanded beyond shareholders to include regulators, investors, consumers, financiers, insurance carriers, suppliers, employees and the communities they serve. Their expectation is clear: that businesses operate in line with the parameters of sustainable development. The products of today should not become the problems of tomorrow, and businesses should focus equally on long-term impacts and short-term profits.
And while corporate sustainability is receiving increasing attention from regulators, investors and consumers, global non-financial reporting standards and other sustainability regulations are being rapidly developed.
To show that they are transforming their business to meet these expectations and regulations, companies are entering a new era of environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and accountability. CFOs have a key role to play in this endeavour.