Top finance teams that have led the way in driving sustainability in their organisations were recognised last night at the Finance for the Future Awards. Now in their third year, the awards, hosted by ICAEW and HRH The Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), recognise leadership in financial innovation which places sustainability at the heart of a business’s operations.
The winners with the judge’s citations are:
Large Business Winner – Unilever
Unilever’s entry was a great example of how to leverage the skill-set of the finance team to the best advantage, helping to embed sustainability throughout the whole organisation globally. They provided integrated analysis at a product level across commercial and sustainability measures. Through bringing a systematic and rigorous approach to the way targets are incorporated into decisions, the finance team have played a vital role in progressing towards Unilever’s aim of doubling the size of their business whilst halving the environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact.
SME Award Winner – Vegware
The judges were particularly impressed with the work that the company has been doing regarding education, Eco-audits and the Food Waste Network. Quite clearly, sustainability is an integral part of Vegware and without taking it seriously and promoting it, there wouldn’t be a business. In other words, from a sustainability perspective, Vegware stood out as the clear winner of their category.
Public Sector Award Winner – The Crown Estate
As one of the UK’s largest, most diverse and most successful property businesses, sustainability is at the core of Crown Estate’s decision making. The Finance Team has taken the initiative to develop external integrated reporting, demonstrating clear leadership for the whole property sector. Involving all functions within its business, the finance team has also developed a new, innovative way of measuring progress, driving fundamental changes & buy in across the whole organisation
Social Enterprise Award Winner – Belu Water
This was an extremely challenging category to judge as the finalists were very different and all brought inspiring stories. Belu won because it is ambitiously using what it does as a business – selling bottled water – to solve a global problem of access to clean water. In so doing it points to the possibility of business with purpose being normative
Innovative New Idea Award Winner – Threadneedle Investments
We were impressed to see such a diversity of new ideas, which suggests an exciting future for finance professionals. Threadneedle Investments stood out for us because it brings the mainstream, in the shape of the bond market, to the issues of sustainability
Highly commended awards were also presented to:
Large Business – Interserve & Sainsbury’s
Public Sector – The Royal Mint
Richard Spencer, ICAEW’s Head of Sustainability, said:
The standard this year was extremely high, and we are delighted to congratulate our winners. ICAEW believes the accountancy and finance profession has a critical role to play in driving sustainability; in the long term, sustainability has to make business sense, then it can be embedded at every level of an organisation’s operations and planning. Other companies can learn lot from what these companies are doing, which is one reason why we helped found these awards, so we can both recognise and showcase the businesses that are doing this brilliantly
Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman, A4S, said:
The winners of these awards have shown that commercial and sustainability outcomes go hand-in hand, and that finance teams have a vital role to play in ‘hard-wiring’ this thinking into every decision an organisation takes. They have shown the importance of the role that finance plays in helping businesses achieve strong financial, environmental and social performance