LONDON: As the urgency to transition to a net zero future increases, a recent survey of international CFOs has found a gap between the sustainability ambitions of organizations and the skills needed to make them a reality. Against this backdrop, the globally recognized A4S Academy has announced that applications are now open for its learning and implementation programme to equip senior finance leaders with the critical skills and competencies required to succeed in the face of environmental and social risks and opportunities.
The survey conducted by Accounting for Sustainability (A4S), found that less than half of CFOs who were questioned believed their finance team had the skills and competencies to support sustainability efforts. The Academy programme aims to fill that gap.
The effectiveness of the programme to empower change is reflected in a survey of recent Academy graduates. Following their participation, 98% said they felt empowered to drive change and 89% said they had been able to do so within the first year of taking part.
Among the most recent participants is Dr Christian Multerer, Head of SAP Corporate Controlling SAP SE, who set up a specialized team focused on sustainability controlling to help drive and enable decision making.
“A key learning was realizing that sustainability is not an isolated topic, it must be considered in all actions and decisions a company takes. The finance organization is an important agent to drive this transition. With the accomplishment of this programme, we have [leapt] forward in embedding sustainability into SAP’s Controlling and steering processes,“ Dr Multerer said.
Nicola Acutt, ESG Vice President at VMware Inc., paid tribute to her Senior Director of Financial Planning & Analysis and ESG Finance, Jancy Castro, who was also a 2023 Award winner.
“Her leadership helped to keep together and mature the financial disclosure working group, advancing the integrated reporting agenda in a hectic year full of uncertainty,” Ms Acutt said.
A4S Executive Director in charge of the Academy, Helen Slinger, says sustainable business leadership is becoming synonymous with financial leadership.
“We equip participants with the knowledge and know how to enact change within their own organization. Participants develop practical, real-time plans and projects that embed sustainable practices and decision making in their own organizations and, by doing so, help to address the ever increasing environmental and social risks and opportunities,” she said.
“Our founder, His Majesty King Charles III, said at COP28 that in 2050 our grandchildren won’t be asking what we said, they will be living with the consequences of what we did or didn’t do. The Academy is responding to this call for urgent action, given that what we do today will determine the future world we live in.”
The 2023 cohort of more than 80 participants who have just graduated join a growing alumni network of more than 240 senior finance professionals from around the world who have graduated from the Academy.
Applications are open for the new programme starting in June 2024 which, through a series of interactive seminars and support, will give participants the skills and tools needed for their organizations to succeed in the face of increasing climate-related risks and opportunities.
To find out more about the programme, eligibility and how to apply, see A4S Academy.
THE A4S ACADEMY
The A4S Academy is an 18-month online learning and implementation programme for senior finance leaders to embed sustainability. The programme empowers and equips finance teams with the skills needed for their businesses to succeed in the face of environmental and social risks and opportunities.
Making a direct, practical impact on the organization is built into the programme. Following a series of seminars, participants develop and deliver a personal implementation plan to drive change within their organizations.
- Application deadline: 29 March 2024
- Start date: June 2024
- Duration: 18-month programme, with 5 months of live, interactive seminars and 12 months of implementation
- Format: Online seminars, followed by practical implementation within own organization
- Hours: 21-46 hours of contact time, and 2-4 hours of pre-work per seminar
- Language: English
- Participants: Senior finance professionals
- Geography: Global
ACCOUNTING FOR SUSTAINABILITY (A4S)
A4S was established by HM King Charles III in 2004 to make sustainable business, business as usual. We are part of the King Charles III Charitable Fund Group of Charities.
We work with the global finance and accounting community to:
- Inspire finance leaders to adopt sustainable and resilient business models
- Transform financial decision making to respond to the opportunities and risks posed by the climate crisis and other environment and social issues
- Scale up action to transition to a sustainable economy
A4S leverages its global networks, including the CFO Leadership Network, Circles of Practice, Accounting Bodies Network and Asset Owners Network, to enable the finance and accounting community to take a leadership role on sustainability. Through our outreach activities and Academy learning and implementation programme, we empower and equip finance and accounting teams to embed sustainability in their organizations.