Toronto, Ontario, 02-February-2010 – Canadian Financial Executive Research Foundation (CFERF) and Energy Advantage have partnered on a research study to examine the strategic issues faced by Canadian organizations emerging from the various North American carbon management regulatory activities underway today. This study is based on gaining feedback from Chief Financial Officers across a wide spectrum of Canadian organizations on the issues they face, and the responding actions their organizations are taking in the management and reporting of carbon use.
Gathering on January 22nd, 2010 in Toronto for an executive research forum, CFERF and Energy Advantage joined with Chief Financial Officers from 16 of Canada’s leading organizations to explore their views on carbon management issues and what actions their organizations have taken (if any) to address them. The result of this insight will be incorporated with the results of a wider survey to form the basis of the research findings.
“The issue of climate change and its general elements are widely understood by the mainstream public, having been a topic of public discourse for a number of years. However, what’s not clearly understood or agreed upon is the role and approach on the part of organizations towards managing climate change and the broader challenges and opportunities this may create.”
These opening remarks from Shane Pepin, Executive Director, Sustainability Solutions of Energy Advantage kicked off a vibrant morning session of discussions around carbon management and the critical role that Chief Financial Officers play given their holistic operational perspective.
Following a round table format, the forum focused on four major areas – governance, compliance and reporting, management practices, and business performance measurement. Below summarizes popular themes discussed at the forum.
Opening with discussions around the current and evolving regulatory environment, we explored the awareness level and respective views on how emerging regulations, such as, Waxman-Markey/American Clean Energy and Security Act, British Columbia Carbon Tax, Ontario Bill, OSC disclosure, Federal Government’s ‘Turning the Corner’ plan, Alberta Carbon Market, Western Climate Initiative, Carbon Disclosure Project, are affecting organizations.
The role of the stakeholder community (investors, regulators, customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, non-governmental organizations) in carbon planning activities was discussed including the degree of executive and/or board involvement and their prevailing influence. Reporting process, priorities and transparency were included.
Compliance and Reporting
This topic began with a discussion on carbon management compliance and reporting actions being taken by the representative organizations, both voluntary and/or mandated, to gain an understanding of the various approaches and channels being used today. A key area of discussion focused on if and how organizations are planning to integrate carbon reporting into their corporate information infrastructures.
Carbon related competitive, reputational, financial, legal, stakeholder and supplier risks were all discussed with respect to an organization’s overall business strategy. As well, multiple opportunities were offered around carbon management, including capital related activities both from an investor perspective and new revenue streams (selling carbon credits), the benefits of an enhanced reputation, increased market share, etc.
This topic focused on gaining an understanding of specific actions organizations have taken as a result of executive and/or board involvement (if any) on carbon management, such as, accountability, performance tracking, goals and objectives, and key performance indicators. A key focal point of the discussion was related to the role of the Chief Financial Officer in carbon management activities and whether it should be a supportive or leadership position.
Additionally, greenhouse gas emissions reporting targets were discussed in reference to their role in corporate, departmental and individual performance measurements.
Business Performance Measurement
Focusing on the impact that greenhouse gas emissions performance levels have on an organizations overall business valuation, this section discussed diverse strategies (if any) organizations have made to incorporate carbon management into the valuation of their business. Related discussion occurred on how capital markets and/or institutional investors may take into account carbon management factors in their business valuations.
In addition to the executive research forum, a research survey, distributed to Financial Executive International’s 10,000 members, will be conducted and be accompanied by a final report that will highlight insight from both the survey and forum results.
As we conclude the research, Energy Advantage and CFERF will broadly publish the final report on holistic carbon management and present the results to various Financial Executive International chapters across Canada and at the Financial Executive International June, 2010 annual conference in Victoria, British Columbia.
CFERF is a leading Canadian not-for-profit think tank and the research institute of Financial Executive International Canada. CFERF has a unique focus on the issues most pressing to strategic financial management in Canadian companies.
About Energy Advantage Inc.
Energy Advantage Inc. provides total energy management solutions to our customers’ sustainability challenges, delivering them best results in managing their risks, reducing their costs and enhancing their reputation within the markets and communities they serve. Our company is fully independent from energy commodity and equipment suppliers. We sit with our customers on their side of the table, providing objectivity in seeking and developing the best solutions to their sustainability challenges. With a depth of expertise in the energy and energy related environmental areas, we have been providing notable North American organizations with effective energy management solutions for over 12 years.