More CFOs Are Being Thrust into the Role of a ‘Chief Sustainability Officer’

The CFO’s responsibilities are ever-increasing — with finance chiefs sometimes overseeing everything from IT to corporate counsel to HR. Now, add the sustainability effort to their workload at more and more corporations.

In a new working paper, Harvard Business School’s Robert Eccles and George Serafeim and London Business School’s Ioannis Ioannou report that, according to their study of 180 companies, those firms that voluntarily adopted environmental and socially responsible policies many years ago (“high-sustainability companies”) outperform ones with almost no sustainability-related policies. The outperformance is measured both in stock price and accounting performance. High-sustainability companies also are more likely to link top-executive pay to sustainability metrics.

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