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Finance for the Future: past winners’ stories

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 31 May 2022

As the deadline for entries to Finance for the Future 2022 approaches, previous winners offer examples of the direction of travel for finance and accountancy.

The Finance for the Future Awards were created in 2012 to recognise leadership within the finance function to drive sustainable economies. The Awards are free to enter and open to all individuals and organisations globally, including businesses, charities, social enterprises, the public sector, education institutions, think tanks, collaborations and coalitions. Entries for 2022 close on 14 June. Here are just a few examples of the achievements of past winners.

Britvic: monitoring ESG effectively

Healthier People, Healthier Planet is an integral part of Britvic’s core business strategy, and the company has adopted a people, planet and performance approach to decision making to support this. The responsibility for managing and monitoring this sits with the finance function: the CFO chairs the ESG committee, while the finance team works closely with the sustainable business team on tools and processes, including a carbon calculator and sustainable business screen. 

Monthly management reports, prepared by finance, include non-financial performance and report progress against Healthier People, Healthier Planet KPIs. The finance team’s reporting centre of excellence has played a key role in enhancing the quality of non-financial reporting, streamlining processes and removing duplication. 

Medical Credit fund: tailored healthcare lending in Africa

Medical Credit Fund (MCF) specialises in providing loans and technical assistance to private healthcare SMEs in Africa. In 2017, MCF launched Cash Advance, its first digital loan product, using Kenya’s mobile money system, M-Pesa, to make flexible, unsecured loans for up to six months. Repayments are based on a percentage of a facility’s mobile money revenues. After a loan has been repaid, a borrower can apply for the next loan straight away.

Using the same digital lending system as Cash Advance, borrowers can also access financing for equipment and other assets, including laboratory equipment, specialist imaging machines and ambulances. Healthcare providers can rent this equipment to other local clinics, gaining an extra revenue stream and increasing access for patients. The collateral for these loans is the equipment itself. 

Alex Edmans: a practical framework for sustainable business practices

Edmans acknowledges the challenges of embedding sustainability into corporate practice. His work is rooted in evidence, including research that questions the value of sustainability in a business context. This nuanced approach helps to reach sustainability sceptics.

Three principles, including comparative advantage and materiality, are part of Edmans’s ‘growing-the-pie’ framework. His 2020 book, Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit, includes a practical framework to help business and finance professionals create purpose-driven organisations. Edmans uses this framework in his work with banks, investors, financial services firms and regular corporations. Edmans uses ‘Grow the Pie’ in his elective course, ‘Managing and Investing in Responsible Businesses’, at London Business School, and he shares his teaching slides with other academics.

Audencia and Nepsen: the LIFTS system

French business school Audencia developed the methodology for the Limits and Foundations Towards Sustainability (LIFTS) Accounting Model through its Integrated Multi-Capital Performance Research Centre. The model was tested and refined in a partnership between Audencia and Nepsen, an engineering and consultancy SME that specialises in ecological transition. 

The LIFTS Accounting Model uses internationally recognised benchmarks. A budget was defined for each planetary boundary and social foundation in the pilot, using the framework or initiative that has the most international consensus. Non-financial statements show the results for each planetary boundary and social foundation. To help the finance team or other stakeholders understand the data, the non-financial statements can be converted into monetary units.

Software, a handbook and a toolkit with several templates to support SMEs to implement the LIFTS Accounting Model is on the way. The research centre is also developing training modules and supporting larger companies to experiment with the model.

Entries close on 14 June, find out how to enter at Finance for the Future Awards 2022

Finance for the Future excellence

The Finance for the Future awards programme is a partnership between ICAEW, A4S and Deloitte. The awards recognise and showcase high-quality examples of financial leadership. They're also about inspiring others, boosting ambition and building community by sharing knowledge and creating momentum for real change.

Finance for the Future Awards logo

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