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Finance for Future Awards 2021: Highly commended

Author: ICAEW

Published: 08 Nov 2021

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Given the exceptionally high calibre of entrants to this year’s awards, the judges wanted to commend entrants in a number of categories across a broad range of sectors.

The Finance for the Future awards are about recognising and showcasing high-quality examples of financial leadership. This year’s winners included innovative cross-border, multi-sector projects that led to life-saving treatments, food-chain sustainability and renewable energy generation.

However, given the exceptionally high calibre of entrants to this year’s Finance for Future Awards, the judges also wanted to commend certain entrants in the following categories of Moving financial markets, Embedding an integrated approach and Driving change.

At a glance: highly commended 

 Category  Organisation
 Moving financial markets  Net Purpose
 Embedding an integrated approach  Mars
 Driving change  Audencia

Moving Financial Markets: Net Purpose

The judges were extremely impressed with Net Purpose, and commended its progressive aim of helping investors make more sustainable investment decisions.

Net Purpose’s platform enables investors to view and measure the impact of their investment over time, as well as checking on their portfolio’s sustainability. Data is extracted through a mix of human input and AI extraction.

The product, which incorporates global accounting standards across sustainable themes, aggregates the standards with data to underpin all of the prescribed metrics. 

The platform also provides data on themes that link to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, including clean energy, water use and affordable housing. 

The business aims to make life easier for asset managers so they can evidence sustainable performance more easily and attract other investors.

The company partnered with Cloud Factory, which provides employment opportunities in emerging economies, to add to Net Purpose’s social impact by having a team of analysts based in Kenya. 

Samantha Duncan, Founder and CEO of Net Purpose said: “At Net Purpose, we are on a mission to make impact measurement effortless for investors. We support asset managers managing sustainable and impact funds to measure the sustainability of their portfolios.

“We work every day to make impact effortless for investors and I think that we see the future of finance as where every investor can measure the impact of every portfolio, and their contribution towards global goals.

“Awards like these are really important to raise awareness around organisations, companies and investors who are committed to investing in a more sustainable way, and also to advance the dialogue towards what we believe is the finance for the future.”

Embedding an Integrated Approach: Mars

The competition was extremely fierce this year, which led the judges to extend their recognition to those who competed at a high level with our winners.

One of those finalists was Mars, who the judges thought deserved praise for their internal operations, which embeds ESG principles in the decision making and strategy of the business.

Mars, a US-based consumer goods company, strategic objectives are set out in the MarsCompass, which balances profit and purpose across four dimensions.

Two are financial (strong financial performance and quality growth) and two are non-financial (positive societal impact and being a trusted partner).

Judges praised Mars’ three-year Integrated Value Creation Plan, reviewed quarterly, which sets out how all areas of the company will deliver on each Compass area.

Mars finance team, which played a major role in embedding sustainability priorities into the planning process, also came in for high praise from the judges.

The company’s balanced approach to business has resulted in a deforestation-free palm oil supply chain, recognised here as embedding climate change action into an integrated approach.

Driving Change: Audencia

Our judges this year also commended French business school Audencia, which co-wrote the principle for responsible management education. 

Our judges noted that with its key educational offering, the chief value officer executive MBA, focused on shifting the role of CFO to Chief Value Officer, that the course teaches students about multi-capital thinking and gives them the tools to create change in their own organisations.

Delphine Gibassier, academic director of Executive MBA CVO, the director of Audencia’s research centre, said the Awards have meant a lot to the world of finance and sustainability over the past nine years.

"All the participants make a real change and are considered as at the forefront of change in finance and sustainability,'' she says. "I am extremely proud that we were Highly Commended in this particular category.”

Audencia created its own case studies for the course to help students engage with practical business issues related to sustainability.

The judges praised the immersive residencies in Canada and Costa Rica in providing students with exposure to real business examples of sustainability in different country contexts. 

"The programme is the first executive MBA to move the world of finance to sustainability," Gibassier said. "We hope that this particular programme, being at the forefront of what education should be for finance in the future, sets an example for others to follow.”

The programme is a partnership between ICAEW, A4S and Deloitte, and is a chance for all parties involved in the process to build community by sharing knowledge and creating momentum for real change. Despite the myriad challenges to businesses across the globe, the standard of entrants to the awards remained high. 

Read about the award winners here: Finance for Future Award winners 2021 announced

Ready more about Finance for the Future here: Finance for the Future Awards

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