Anglian Water joins financial leadership network launched by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Anglian Water and Chief Financial Officers of some of Europe’s biggest organisations have joined forces to create a network of leaders aimed at embedding environmental and social issues into company strategy and finances.

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Leadership Network was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales at the Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S)’s eighth Annual Forum last week (12 December).

It is the first group of its kind to focus on the role CFOs play in integrating environmental and social issues into financial decision making and will demonstrate leadership on how companies should respond to challenges including climate change, a rising and ageing global population, rapid urbanisation, and increased consumption, which are putting unprecedented pressure on natural resources and society.

It’s become increasingly important for businesses to take these factors into account if they are to futureproof their organisations; and there is now clear evidence that companies which address environmental and social issues deliver improved commercial returns.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales said:
"CFOs have a vital role to play in making sure their businesses thrive, not just today, but tomorrow and into the future. The bottom line is that sustainable business equals good business. I am therefore delighted that the A4S CFO Leadership Network will play a key role not only in communicating why sustainability makes business sense, but how to start accounting for it. Our children and grandchildren are depending on it.”

On becoming a member of the A4S CFO Leadership Network, Scott Longhurst, Anglian Water Finance Director, said: “The challenges facing the water industry and society as a whole go way beyond current economic uncertainty. Climate change and population growth demand nothing less than a new way of doing business.”

The CFO Leadership Network will focus on developing and sharing successful strategies so these become the 'norm' across all businesses. This will include improved modelling of future risk and uncertainty as well as engagement with investors and other stakeholders to increase their understanding of the commercial benefits of sustainable business models.

John Rogers, Co-Chair of the A4S CFO Leadership Network and CFO of Sainsbury's said:
“HRH The Prince of Wales has rightly recognised the vital importance of bringing sustainability issues into the very heart of corporate governance and accounting. What used to be seen as greenwash needs to become as natural to company finance teams as it is to CR departments or even NGOs. I'm pleased to be co-chairing this significant new initiative and urge my counterparts in business and public organisations to contribute their skills and experience to the A4S CFO Leadership Network.”

Member organisations joining the Network are: Anglian Water, BUPA, Burberry Group, British Land, The Crown Estate, Danone, Royal DSM, Marks & Spencer, National Grid, Sainsbury’s, SSE, South West Water, Unilever, United Utilities, Walmart EMEA and Yorkshire Water.

The Network will be extended globally during the course of 2014.