CFOs in China are expected to play broader roles when it comes to sustainability, as a result of the country’s green finance market expansion and the increasing demand for corporate carbon emissions audit, said Deloitte recently when releasing results of its China CFO Survey.
The survey, completed in Jan 2022, collected responses from CFOs in Chinese mainland, Hong Kong SAR, and Macau SAR, according to the company.
The 'dual carbon' goals set forth by China last year has imposed higher requirements for companies from certain industries in pursuing sustainability, Deloitte observed, adding that driving sustainable development under this trend would bring positive financial impacts for the company.
While a large proportion respondents believe that sustainability strategies will have a positive impact and many of them have started to implement sustainability-related work, the level of emphasis on sustainable development differs across industries given the varying degrees of impact from the ‘dual carbon’ goals, the firm said.
Traditional sectors, especially the energy, resources and industrials sector, are the most impacted, while financial services and technology, media and communications sectors also experience major impacts, the firm added.
With increasing regulatory requirements for climate risk information disclosure, the current responsibility for CFOs centres around the disclosure of financial information related to sustainable development, Deloitte noted.
However, as there’s a growing demand for auditing corporate carbon emissions and an expanding green finance market, CFOs in China need to be more proactive in addressing the challenges they are facing, Deloitte advised.
These challenges includethe lack of complete data to assist decision-making, the absence of a clear and unified carbon emissions-reduction strategy and accountability system for the management, and the shortage of professional talents with "climate literacy”, the firm added.
The diffusion of China's carbon peak, carbon neutral and ESG visions to all regions and businesses presents both challenges and opportunities for companies, said Allan Xie, Deloitte China Climate and Sustainability Leader.
"Their achievements in addressing climate change and driving green development will become a core competitive edge for each of them,” Xie noted. “Deloitte’s advice is that companies should assess their own climate and sustainability strategies as early as possible, and seize the opportunity to reshape their strategies from the perspective of long-term development."