A group of leading US CFOs have this month announced the launch of the first US Chapter of the global A4S Chief Financial Leadership Network. This prestigious group includes Warren Zaccaro, CFO of ICMIF member Securian Financial.
Established by the Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), a nonprofit founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2004, this collaborative Network helps business leaders integrate sustainability and solutions to social and environmental challenges into core strategy and business processes.
Speaking about Securian Financial’s involvement in the new US A4S chapter, Warren Zaccaro said: “One of the biggest benefits of being an A4S member company for Securian Financial is learning from other companies to influence change. As an insurance company, Securian Financial does not produce tangible “stuff” — and the corresponding pollution — but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from and apply to our business what other A4S companies are doing. Our involvement in A4S will help us put an umbrella over our current sustainability initiatives and find additional places where we can make an even greater impact.”
ICMIF Chief Executive Shaun Tarbuck said: “I am delighted to hear about the official launch of the US chapter of the A4S Chief Financial Leadership Network. ICMIF members have been at the forefront of corporate social responsibility reporting for many years now, due to their longer-term thinking and greater alignment with the communities they serve. There is a desire amongst mutual and cooperative insurers to protect both their immediate communities as well as our planet as a whole. It seemed natural to my team and me that we would align ourselves with A4S and its aims and encourage our members to become actively engaged in its work.”
Tarbuck continued: “ICMIF is committed to promoting the great work already being done by A4S to convince CFOs that there is a way to incorporate sustainable financial practices in accounting reporting. The role for the finance community in achieving a sustainable world is critical, and mutuals and cooperatives are ideal candidates to be actively involved in this work. The topic of sustainable finance and investing is one which will be covered during the ICMIF Biennial Conference in Auckland in November this year.”
According to the US government’s National Climate Assessment, climate change could deliver a 10 percent hit to the nation's GDP by the end of the century, presenting a significant challenge to businesses. However, implementing sustainable business models can improve commercial returns, reduce the cost of capital and improve market performance.
According to A4S, a CFO is one of the key creators of sustainable value within an organisation. CFOs play a crucial role in addressing challenges and opportunities related to social and environmental risks. The Leadership Network’s members have signed up to a charter in which they have committed to take action. They will use their collective influence to engage, enable and collaborate with the wider CFO and finance communities.
The founding members of the US Chapter comprise a mixed-sector group of chief financial officers from global technology, machinery, insurance, consumer and healthcare companies, with total combined assets of more than USD 226 billion. The founding members are:
- Warren Zaccaro, Securian Financial
- Mark Hawkins, Salesforce
- Andrew Bonfield, Caterpillar
- Scott Herren, Autodesk
- Zane Rowe, VMWare
- Harmit Singh, Levi Strauss & Co
- Keith Taylor, Equinix
- Robin Washington, Gilead Sciences
At a Summit held by A4S in November 2018, The Prince of Wales said: “The finance community is absolutely critical to a change in enabling the flow of finance towards sustainable outcomes, as well as enabling sustainability to be considered in all business decision-making. You are all vital in ensuring that this monumental shift, which absolutely must take place, occurs in a measured and transparent way.”
There is also a Canadian chapter of the CFO Leadership Network which was launched in March 2017. Karen Higgins, Executive Vice President-Finance and Chief Financial Officer at ICMIF member organisation, The Co-operators Group, is a member of this chapter.”
Photo shows:Warren Zaccaro (third from left) and other CFOs meet with Prince Charles in London
About The Prince’s Accounting For Sustainability Project (A4S)
The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) was established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2004 with the aim to make sustainable decision making “business as usual.”
A4S works with the finance and accounting community to:
- Inspire finance leaders to adopt sustainable and resilient business models
- Transform financial decision making to enable an integrated approach, reflective of the opportunities and risks posed by environmental and social issues
- Scale up action across the global finance and accounting community
A4S has three global networks: the Chief Financial Officers Leadership Network, a group of CFOs from leading organisations seeking to transform finance and accounting; the Accounting Bodies Network, whose members comprise approximately two thirds of the world’s accountants; and the Asset Owners Network, which brings together Pension Fund Chairs to integrate sustainability into investments.