Several CFOs, including those at Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, Ford Motor Company and Verizon, are calling on fellow C-suite members to help fight poverty and climate change, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The CFO group published a framework Monday aimed at helping companies' decision-making in areas such as corporate finance and investing to support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015. Group members include the CFOs of over 30 companies across industries and countries. The group is planning to issue guidance, case studies and research on sustainable corporate finance in the months ahead, the Journal reported.
The goals detailed in the U.N.'s plan include "zero hunger," clean water and sanitation, eradicating poverty by 2030, and working towards affordable and clean energy. "We believe that being a sustainable company also means that you are more efficient," AB InBev CFO Fernando Tennenbaum told the Journal. "It goes hand in hand."
The CFOs urge other finance executives to allocate their companies' resources to projects supporting the U.N.'s goals, and to expand their funding to include green bonds and other sustainability tools, the Journal said.
"Because of the seats we sit in within our companies [and giving our support] makes people take a second look and say, 'Hey, maybe there are things we can do,'" Verizon CFO Matthew Ellis said.
Last week, Verizon issued a $1 billion green bond, the proceeds of which they said they would use to support the U.N.'s clean energy and economic growth goals. Verizon also plans to invest in solar and wind facilities to power its networks, according to the Journal.
The CFO group, which made its announcement during this year's United Nations virtual General Assembly, encouraged their companies to set clear contribution goals and assess the necessary investments.
Because CFOs are instrumental in investor relations, capital raises and investment decisions, the group aims to encourage their peers to collaborate with corporate sustainability officers to "improve external reporting and create more ambitious goals," Scott Mather, chief investment officer of U.S. core strategies at Pacific Investment Management Co., the fund management company, told the Journal.
Finance executives also should obtain financing that meets sustainability targets and develop sound reporting practices, the group said, according to the Journal.
"We're calling for large, impactful [company-wide] shifts," said Sanda Ojiambo, executive director of U.N. Global Compact, which focuses on sustainable business practices and established the CFO group.