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Report considers the future of chief sustainability officers

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Deloitte UK and the Institute of International Finance have released a report on survey findings taken from 80 global sustainability professionals and senior executives on the role of chief sustainability officers, addressing environmental, social and governance.

The report explores how financial services firms are mobilising to address ESG and how firms see the role of a chief sustainability officer. It looks at why some firms decide to appoint one, what is expected from them, and how the role contributes to a broader governance structure.

The role of a chief sustainability officer is seen as “helping organisations navigate the external environment, reconfiguring business strategy and connecting the dots within their organisation, is expected to gain prominence over the next two years”.

Deloitte said that as companies widen their view of risks and opportunities within their business, driving a process around disclosure strategy will be important. It said this coincides with external stakeholders increasing their reliance on companies’ ESG disclosures to achieve their own objectives.

“While the current corporate reporting ecosystem is comprised of many voluntary ESG standards and reporting frameworks, this landscape is rapidly evolving, with five of the leading sustainability and integrated reporting organisations issuing a joint statement in the fall of 2020 to work towards a comprehensive corporate reporting standard,” Deloitte said.

Elizabeth Cava, audit and assurance partner at Deloitte Bermuda, said: “As companies move ESG programmes from singular committees to integrated ERM programmes in their operations, transparency will be important and can drive value to assist companies navigate changing stakeholder expectations. Developing a robust governance structure, integrating internal audit and the board of directors, and obtaining external assurance can help companies make informed disclosure strategies responsive to these expectations. The rapid pace of change suggests companies should start the designs of these systems now.”

John Johnston, CEO, Deloitte Bermuda and Caribbean Region, said: “Here in Bermuda it is clear to see how financial services firms are uniquely exposed to the physical, transition and liability risks from climate change; what is less apparent is the critical role such firms can play in transitioning the global economy to a low carbon reality through systems of sustainable finance. The reporting framework for ESG is evolving quickly and Bermuda financial services firms, insurers and reinsurers in particular, have an opportunity to be leaders on this front.”

To read the full report, visit https://www2.deloitte.com/bm/en/pages/financial-services/articles/the-future-of-the-chief-sustainability-officer.html

Elizabeth Cava (Photograph supplied)
John Johnston (Photograph supplied)

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Published March 10, 2021 at 2:39 pm (Updated April 04, 2021 at 2:00 pm)

Report considers the future of chief sustainability officers

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