Chief Financial Officers from across Canada are coming together to encourage better integration of sustainable development principles in business.

The Canadian CFO Leadership Network, which held its first meeting in Toronto a few days ago, is part of the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) initiative established by the Prince of Wales. It is the first group of its kind in the country to focus on the role CFOs play in integrating environmental and social issues into financial decisions. The goal of the initiative is to influence the environment in which organizations operate so that sustainable approaches become standard practice. “CFOs play a key role in setting the strategic agenda, measuring progress, and of course deciding what gets financed and what does not,” said Jessica Fries, A4S executive chairman. “As such they have a vital role to play in the development and adoption of sustainable approaches, finding ways to align commercial objectives with environmental and social risk and opportunity.”

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The founding members of the Canadian CFO Leadership Network. Front, left to right : Bruce West, Steve Roder et Benita Warmbold. Behind, from left to right : Patrice Impey, Pamela Steer, Jonathan Simmons, Robert Siddall et Brian Lawson

The founding members of this Canadian Chapter are the CFOs of the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, Brookfield Asset Management, The Co-operators Group, City of Vancouver, Manulife, Metrolinx, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, and the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) of Ontario. “It’s about finance leaders coming together to make a tangible contribution to the continued sustainability of our economy, society and environment, and by doing so, to the profitability of business and investment,” explained Steve Roder, senior executive vice-president and chief financial officer at Manulife, and co-chair of the Canadian Chapter. “The A4S CFO Leadership Network will be an important vehicle for the financial community in Canada to gather, share best practices and solve challenges together so that we are all working toward more sustainable outcomes,” added Pamela Steer, CFO at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and member of the Advisory Council for A4S.

The Canadian Chapter will be run in partnership with the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

 

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