On Monday 5th July, FWB Park Brown hosted the latest in their “Building Back Better” CFO Leadership series. Katie Murray, CFO of NatWest Group, spoke to provide a view of the current business landscape from her and the bank’s perspective, and opened the floor to contributions from attendees, who represented senior finance executives from a wide range of sectors. Points raised across the hour of discussion were insightful and provided a depth of understanding of the pandemic’s impact across sectors, as well as the outlook ahead.
Discussion centred on three topics: Enterprise, Skills & Learning and Climate, with Climate being shown as being at the top of many companies’ agendas. Many businesses are experiencing increasing pressure from customers in understanding their organisation’s approach to sustainability prior to committing to partnering with them. Therefore, many senior finance professionals are accepting opportunities to develop their understanding of how best to “Account for Sustainability”, with companies considering the environmental impact of internal activity, their supply chain, and subsequent investment output. Consequently, a significant focus lies on building long term value for shareholders and customers by sustainability initiatives, to drive growth and build back better following the pandemic.
It was noted that considerations of financial impacts on sustainability can be difficult to achieve, particularly in smaller organisations. With SMEs contributing 25% of the UK’s emissions, this is certainly an area of key consideration for the green agenda. As well as the change coming from within businesses, it was suggested that some of the weight of this responsibility be placed on universities and other educational providers to the financial services sector, ensuring the financial leaders of tomorrow are equipped with the skills to consider the sustainability of business practices.
Whilst government will always play a crucial role in driving business behaviour, the impact of investors and lenders focusing on green credentials and carbon reduction is currently driving rapid change. With major banks seeking to reduce the carbon impact of their balance sheets, there is significant encouragement for businesses to invest in sustainable practices. While there remains confidence for the future across all sectors, significant change must arrive soon in order to meet targets.
FWB Park Brown
FWB Park Brown continues to deliver its full range of services which includes providing support and advice during the Covid- 19 Public Health and developing global economic crisis.
We have established a range of cross sector as well as sector focused discussion forums for Chairs, NEDs, CEOs and all the main business management disciplines. We are also working closely with the Scottish HR Leadership Group to provide constructive support including discussion forums and Q & As.
Summaries of the discussions will be posted on our news section and also on LinkedIn.
For further information about any of these forums please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org