Green is the new Lean, so says Alix Stuart in CFO Magazine’s cover article by the same title. It goes on to say that “doing more with less is what many sustainability initiatives are all about. That’s why CFOs are embracing them.” Not only have companies jumped on the bandwagon of sustainability and actually been successful with it, but they are finding that going green has helped streamline their business, provided eligibility for government entitlements and tax breaks, and made them heroes in the eyes of stakeholders. Today even the supply chain is being given a closer look to see if suppliers are adhering to human-rights standards and environmental regulations.
In other words, sustainability programs have been elevated to executive offices. According to an Ernst & Young survey of 272 companies with revenues greater than $1B, the top five drivers of sustainability in the next two years are: cost reduction, stakeholders’ expectations, managing risks, revenue generation and government regulation.
That somewhat mirrors the objectives of business process optimization. Over the last few years, CFOs recognized that automating financial processes not only reaped productivity efficiencies, it also reduced cost, better served their business partners, and the reduction of paper met sustainability objectives. Working with electronic documents has fostered huge improvements in business performance, and financial operations such as accounts payable, purchasing and order processing have become efficient knowledge centers that add to the bottom line. Being able to do more business with less of what it takes to run a business is a win-win for management, customers, suppliers and stockholders.
Reducing cost + managing cash flows + mitigating risk = transformative results. Stuart sums up her article saying sustainability efforts are increasingly about efficiency and growing the bottom line. How’s this for being in sync?