CFOs Taking Strategic Leadership Role in Carbon Management Programs

September 14th, 2010

54% of public companies are not familiar with regulations related to carbon emissions.

Energy Advantage and Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation just released its research study on carbon management. Below is the media release and a link to download a copy of the study.

Toronto, Ontario, September-14-2010 – Faced with increased regulatory reporting, companies are making investments in greenhouse gas reduction and creating business units that specialize in environmental strategy and programs. Carbon Management: Critical Issues For Strategic Finance, the most recent study by the Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF), shows that nearly half (46%) of heavy-carbon emitting firms reported their CFO is assuming greater responsibility in the strategic development of carbon management programs. This new role for the CFO is also true of smaller public and private companies that are not heavy emitters. The study was sponsored by Energy Advantage.

“As environmental concerns grow, companies, particularly heavy-carbon emitters, are realizing the importance of strategic carbon management,” said Michael Conway, chief executive and national president, FEI Canada. “Forty-seven percent of heavy-emitting companies are already implementing these programs for the purpose of public reporting. This is a significant step in overall carbon management in Canada.”

Fifty-six percent of heavy-carbon emitting firms and 72% of low-carbon emitters said they did not previously report emissions publicly. However, 34% of all heavy emitters report through Corporate Sustainability Reports and 19% report specifically to shareholders. In comparison, 13% of low-carbon emitters report through the sustainability reports, with 9% reporting directly to shareholders.

“There is a growing focus on carbon management which is driving a change in how Canadian companies approach their overall strategic planning,” said Shane Pepin, vice president operations and sustainability, Energy Advantage. “New regulations are on the horizon which mandate Ontario companies to report on their emissions—these emerging regulatory changes should prompt organizations to start preparing for carbon management activities, such as tracking their carbon emission data. Beyond compliance there are multiple benefits to tracking and reporting carbon emissions data, including energy cost savings, risk management and reduced environmental impact”.

In addition to CFO leadership, the study also revealed increased board participation in carbon management and reporting. The level of board involvement is reportedly higher in heavy-carbon emitting firms, where 25% reported that board involvement resulted in the development of a structured emissions management and reporting plan. Only 15% of low-emitting firms reported having this result. Similarly, 19% of heavy-carbon emitting companies indicated board involvement resulted in emissions management to be assigned to an executive sponsor within their organization, more often than not, the CFO.

The statutory and regulatory actions taking shape in Canada have the potential to significantly impact the operations of Canadian organizations. In fact, 33% of heavy emitting companies surveyed said they expect the legislation to influence shareholders’ demands of improved carbon management and reporting.

While the strategic impact of carbon use on the overall sustainability of organizations seems to be well established across the business community, 54% of public companies surveyed were not at all familiar with Ontario Securities Commission regulations that relate to carbon emissions.

The report encompasses the results of both a survey of senior finance executives from public and private companies in January and February 2010, as well as insights obtained through an executive research forum held in Toronto on January 22, 2010. To review the full study, please visit http://www.feicanada.org/cferf/cferf_research_papers.html or http://www.energyadvantage.com.

THE CANADIAN FINANCIAL EXECUTIVES RESEARCH FOUNDATION (CFERF) is the non-profit research institute of Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada). The Foundation’s mandate is to advance the profession and practices of financial management through research. CFERF undertakes objective research projects relevant to the needs of Canada’s senior financial executives in working toward the advancement of corporate efficiency in Canada.

FINANCIAL EXECUTIVES INTERNATIONAL CANADA (FEI CANADA) is the all industry professional membership association for senior financial executives. With eleven chapters across Canada and more than 2,000 members, FEI Canada provides professional development, thought leadership and advocacy services to its members. The association membership, which consists of Chief Financial Officers, Audit Committee Directors and senior executives in the Finance, Controller, Treasury and Taxation functions, represents a significant number of Canada’s leading and most influential corporations. http://www.feicanada.org.

ENERGY ADVANTAGE INC. provides total energy and environmental management services to many notable North American organizations. Fully independent from energy commodity and equipment suppliers, Energy Advantage sits with its longstanding customers on their side of the table providing objectivity in developing the best solutions to their overall energy management and sustainability challenges. Energy Advantage has helped its customers reduce their energy costs by up to 20%, representing $10’s of millions in tangible benefits. The Energy Advantage holistic approach is centered on total energy and environmental data and analysis, which help its customers make informed business decisions to achieve improved risk management, cost savings and reduced environmental impact. Further information can be found at http://www.energyadvantage.com.

For more information or to arrange a media interview, please contact:
Caroline Spivak
Media Relations
FEI Canada
416.371.9740
Caroline@profilecoms.com

Rosemary Petrossi
Media Relations
FEI Canada
289.895.8737
Rosemary@profilecoms.com

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