ASEAN Chief Finance Officers to Discuss the Important Role of CFOs in Rebuilding the Region’s Corporate Financing

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 12 November 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and these are even more prominent factors in ASEAN as companies strive to rebuild businesses with higher resilience around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As stewards of over US$14 trillion a year in global corporate investments, Chief Finance Officers (CFO) are a driving force for the achievement of the SDGs (estimated to be attained by a funding of US$5-7 trillion per year), and that has created new operational and cost risks, which CFOs are grappling with.

To provide a guiding framework by putting corporate finance at the centre of the Sustainable Finance agenda, the UN Global Compact Network (UNGC) launched the UNGC CFO Taskforce in 2020, which will meet for the second term during the upcoming Go ESG ASEAN 2021 virtual conference on 24 & 25November 2021 to discuss:

  1. The required financial support in closing the SDG financing gap in the ASEAN region, to ensure a sustainable recovery 
  2. How CFOs can incorporate sustainable finance practices into their operations, and contribute in advancing the sustainable finance landscape in the region

“The world is facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution that started way before the pandemic arose. ASEAN faces the same problems as the other regions, with the additional risk that the crisis will likely increase poverty, conflict and migration,” said Faroze Nadar, Executive Director of UN Global Compact Network Malaysia & Brunei (UNGCMYB), organisers of the 2-day conference.

“ASEAN’s pathway towards a sustainable future, however, will differ from its global counterparts, considering the differing social and economic development factors, which present an opportunity for ASEAN businesses, and CFOs are uniquely positioned to reshape the future of corporate finance and investment as a catalyst for growth, value creation and social impact,” he said.

The CFO Taskforce convenes a multi-sector group of corporate finance leaders to interact with their peers, investors, financial institutions and the United Nations to share ideas, develop new concepts and frameworks, and provide recommendations to unlock private capital and create a market for mainstream SDG investments. 

The UNGC recently announced that 60 companies with a global market capitalisation of over US$1.7 trillion have already committed to implement the ‘CFO Principles on Integrated SDG Investment and Finance‘ within their organisation, by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress against the principles.  

“The session will also be examining the challenges and opportunities of getting more ASEAN corporate leaders to join the CFO Taskforce, as we only have a handful of regional representatives,” Faroze added. 

Source: PR Newswire Asia