How a modern CFO exemplifies sustainability-focused leadership

How a modern CFO exemplifies sustainability-focused leadership

The country’s top finance chief will receive the ING-FINEX award this November
/ 11:05 AM October 24, 2023

Calls for social awareness have pushed companies and enterprises worldwide to realign their practices with the principles of the Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) framework. While tagged as a non-financial performance indicator, ESG represents the sustainable and ethical impact of a company’s corporate financial interests, putting the onus on finance departments to lead the way.

Thus, the role of Chief Finance Officers (CFO) has drastically evolved. Modern CFOs today are expected to step up as leaders and proponents of sustainability. This November, the annual ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Award will honor the most outstanding modern finance chief in the Philippines who embodies this year’s theme, #LeadershipAndSustainabilityInNumbers.

CFO leadership ING

The longest-running and most prestigious Award for CFOs supports the idea that modern finance chiefs must fulfill four core functions to become sustainability-focused leaders. These roles are catalyst, strategist, steward, and operator.

As catalysts in an organization aiming for sustainability transformation, CFOs can implement strategies and steer operations to expedite the process. Finance chiefs are in a position to prioritize initiatives that push for the cause by using the power of the purse and more. However, the goal is to drive change not only to the corporate level but to the entire organization.

CFOs can also drive performance as strategists. From setting strategic goals to making decisions to drawing up finance strategies, CFOs can shape the future of the company. Finance leaders must utilize their core finance skills from financial analysis to resource allocation and more to actively lead the transition towards a sustainable enterprise.

Meanwhile, as stewards, CFOs manage compliance and control systems.

At the very least, CFOs must ensure that the company has understood and complied with the increasingly complex sustainability legislation. They must have a clear grasp of the most pressing ESG issues and quantify their impact on long-term performance.

Lastly, CFOs have to ensure that their finance departments run smoothly as operators. Demands for more reliable sustainability information are increasing among stakeholders, giving finance departments the important role of guaranteeing that companies can report non-financial information. The finance team, led by its CFO, must be able to access, transform and interpret this vital data quickly.

The ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Award, organized annually, recognizes the finance chief who best fulfills these four roles. The search involves a strict endorsement and nomination process, followed by a rigorous set of panel interviews to determine the new CFO of the Year awardee. The search uses clearly defined qualitative and quantitative criteria designed by FINEX Foundation, together with the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

This year, the Award is in its 17th edition. Past awardees include Delfin Gonzalez Jr., who won the inaugural trophy in 2007 when he was CFO of Globe Telecom, followed by Sherisa Nuesa, who was recognized as CFO of Manila Water. The awardees in the succeeding years were Jose Sio, Ysmael Baysa, Jaime Ysmael, Jeffrey Lim, Felipe Yalong, Jose Jerome Pascual III, Luis Juan Oreta, Danny Yu, Jose Teodoro Limcaoco, Ferdinand Constantino, Augusto Bengzon, Mylene Kasiban, Anabelle Lim-Chua, and Grant Cheng.

For more information about the ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Award, visit Follow the Award as well on Facebook and Instagram (@ingfinexcfooftheyear) and LinkedIn.


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