Early September I spoke at the CFO Forum in Interlaken organized by Richmonds Events. The key note speaker Friday morning (after an energizing drum circle ;) was Geraldine Matchett. She is an experienced CFO and in 2014 was appointed CFO for Royal DSM. Her key note did not focus on IFRS, investors, or any similar technical topic. She spoke about the role of the CFO in advancing the sustainability agenda - both for the company and possibly in society and the corporate world in general.
"It is time for the CFO to step forward" - like she herself does by supporting the "Accounting for Sustainability" organization. Geraldine gave many practical examples of how the CFO can shape the agenda. After all the CFO does not simply report results. By introducing the right metrics, she/he can put focus and spotlight on the right areas for future development.
But for me the key message was "we can all step forward and lead" regardless the role and goal, be it sustainability, ethical leadership, social responsibility. And we need neither leave it to others (CEO, Board) to lead, nor assume we are alone in our quest. One of the biggest surprise I personally experienced is how many agree with you after you spoke up: "I was always hoping someone would bring this topic up".
So what should we take away from this key note, from Geraldine's example? We should see, if our company already has an agenda, that we can support. If it does, find a way how to support it visibly and with the power of our person and the one of our role. Fortunately for us at Swiss Re we already have a very strong sustainability agenda. If a company doesn't, let's drive the development of such an agenda.
After all the win/win between a corporate responsibility agenda and employee and customer loyalty is evident.
Category: Sustainable energy