Accountants can save the Planet

Jeffrey Levine
4 min readFeb 16, 2021

This slogan was said by Professor Mervyn King, Chair Emeritus of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), Chairman Emeritus of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and a member of the Private Sector Advisory Group to the World Bank on Corporate Governance. He chaired the United Nations Committee on Governance and Oversight and his “King Reports” are part of the Law in South Africa.

Sustainability, Integrated Reporting ESG are the new buzz words.

With this, there is a need big need for Companies to have the correct management in place. We have now have job titles like CVO — Chief Value Officer, CSO — Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), and head of ESG.

In his book, Chief Value Officer, Prof King writes how Accountants and CFOs are using their core skill sets and transforming into the role of CVO.

At an Event, He spoke about the need for this and how a leading University is offering a course in upscaling CFOs to becoming CVO's.

I recently signed for a LinkedIn course on Sustainable Strategies

So, let's briefly look at this in some more detail.

The CVO Book highlights “Integrated Reporting is having a profound impact on corporate thinking and reporting. Value is being assessed on the basis of the sources of value creation used by an organization and not through a financial lens alone. In Chief Value Officer: Accountants Can Save the Planet, Mervyn King, a global corporate governance and reporting leader, challenges some of the systemic issues preventing organizations from managing in an integrated value-creation way. The shareholder-centric governance model, currently favoured by most companies, will not result in changes to corporate behaviour that can create value in a sustainable manner. The book, therefore, firmly places the accountant in the position of changemaker — the finance professional today should be more of a value officer than a financial officer. Consequently, the Chief Finance Officer should be known as the Chief Value Officer. This book explains this new approach. It encapsulates the essential reasons for adopting integrated reporting, explains its application to date, and proposes the next steps needed to achieve change that will improve business, social and environmental sustainability”

In they featured the following article Finance firms look to CSOs

“Nearly every financial firm believes the role of chief sustainability officer (CSO) will grow in importance as ESG becomes a major priority for corporates in financial services.

In a report published by Deloitte and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), 99 percent of firms said the role of the CSO would become more important over the next two years. The report noted the single dissenter reasoned, that by 2022 they hoped sustainability would be embedded in organisational thinking.

“The financial sector in particular really seems to be, front of the stage, in terms of how our sector is helping to use finance and capital to help support the changes that we’re already seeing in the world,” said Val Smith, CSO at Citi while speaking on a panel discussing the report's findings”

So. what are the implications here — The whole mindset of the way Companies are run needs to change

In the 20th Century, Shareholder Profit was key and many businesses exploited natural resources and put Profit ahead of their customers.

Today, there is evidence that the Market Cap of S&P is highly influenced by Sustainability and ESG Factors- much more than the Balance Sheet of Profit and Loss. Firms that actively pursue ESG have higher Markets Cap.

All firms will need to have correct policies in place as everybody is part of the Supply Chain. They need to start having an ESG Framework and look at basic Water and Energy Supply, Transfer Purchases to less Toxic Materials, Turn Data into actionable Actions, Eliminate or change suppliers by sending them a clear message and Invite them to be part of the solution to create a sustainable offering. They need to adopt Renewable Resource s– can be replaced , and phase out non Renewable can be replenished eg oil. Transparency is key here with greenwashing should be avoided,

Call of Action

If you need any inspiration or advice on sustainability, and interested in connecting with Entrepreneurs, Companies that want to make an impact and create real change — then be in touch.

I manage the LinkedIn groups:

ESG — Invest for a better World — Environment Waste2Energy, Renewable Energy and Invite you to join the Impact / ESG Movement in making our world a better place —

CFO Israel

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Further Readings




Jeffrey Levine

Jeffrey Levine provides CFO, Director, ESG Advisory Services through and is a promoter of ideas and trends where Innovation meets ESG