Last April, IPCC experts warned of the importance of reducing CO2 emissions over the next three years or risk facing irreversible global warming. Companies have an extremely important role to play in this climate change. They must therefore move towards a greener, more sustainable growth. It is important to define what this sustainable growth is. “As a society, it’s about having growth but also being virtuous. It is then necessary have a path while being profitable to continue to invest in technologies or in teams. The difficulty is to find this balance between being more and more virtuous while remaining profitable,” explains Bruno Vibert, CFO of Technip Energies, during a round table during 100% Finance.
On the banks’ side, the expectations regarding this sustainable growth are somewhat different, as explained by Elena Burdykina, Executive Director Sustainable Banking at CA CIB. “For us, sustainable growth is make the link between what our client companies have as a sustainable development strategy and the different expectations they may encounter, either from investors or from ourselves, banking partners. Our customers also help us plan for the future and build our positive trajectory in green growth because this subject of growth is very present and we want to capture as much as possible all the market trends around the issue of CSR. »
Major strategic issues
This sustainable growth challenge needs to be prepared all the more urgently as some companies will have to reinvent their approach to business. This is for example the case of Technip Energies as indicated by Bruno Vibert. “We operate in areas of oil and gas infrastructure. The question is to know what will be our place tomorrow, with energy changes and the possible transition to hydrogen, electricity, etc. Will the added value we bring today still be just as relevant tomorrow? Another question concerns the skills of our teams, which may not be adapted to the new challenges. »
Christophe Adam, Product Marketing Manager at Sage, observes for his part three major strategic and operational issues in the feedback given by his customers, mainly SMEs and ETIs, about this sustainable growth. “The first is a challenge in terms of pilotingto can control your investments and therefore have very good visibility. There is also a very important subject around the human. You have to be able to reduce the level of effort of employees, this goes through automation and information sharing in order to give meaning to their daily jobs, ultimately to empower them. »
On the question of investments, Elena Burdykina insists on the importance of make this transition quickly in order to be able to access financing in future years, as investors and banks will be increasingly sensitive to this issue. “Very clearly, we are seeing a real difference in perception with respect to the CSR profiles of companies. These profiles play an increasingly important role for investors and banks. »
The omnipresence of Daf
To integrate these issues and launch this approach within its company, the Daf obviously has a very important role. It also faces new challenges. “The Daf must ask himself a lot of questions. Now he must ask himself what is the impact of the activities of his business. He also faces a new challenge, that of to accept or refuse new contracts if they are not compatible with its CSR approach. Internally, we have set up criteria where we look at the risks associated with certain projects and we intervene only if these risks are under control. We have for example refused projects which were profitable to us but which were not compatible with our roadmap and our ambitions. It is then necessary to define what is its compatibility and what is its roadmap, ” analyzes Bruno Vibert.
The Daf also has a very important role to play concerning the date. “One of the roles of the Daf is now to be data keeper and to ensure that all the indicators are relevant. His challenge at this level is tohave enough informationto be able to capture this information and enrich it in order to be able to implement CSR initiatives. In summary, a significant volume of data will make it possible to make decisions on very specific subjects and to better manage this transformation,” completes Christophe Adam.
A financial director who will have to work hand in hand with the CSR department within his company, if it exists. “There is a real need to work together during structuring of sustainable finance products. But even beyond that, it is always easier to move our ideas and projects forward when inside the company there is a real cohesion between the Daf and the CSR manager. To come back to the question of data quality, this notion is essential for all companies but also extremely important for us as a bank because it is the basis of our analysis. These are the indicators that serve to justify the virtuous side and the KPIs,” says Elena Burdykina.
It is at this level, in the understanding of KPIs, that the technical expertise of the Daf and its teams will be necessary. “The CSRD is about 130 new KPIs which today are not necessarily homogeneous depending on the country, the ways of calculating, the different suppliers… The financial director who used to consolidate data , working with certain standards will necessarily be integral part of these projects, continues Bruno Vibert.
Taxonomy, still vague
In order to frame this sustainable growth, the European taxonomy is essential. “Europe is the only region today that has this repository, defends Elena Burdykina. It is certainly imperfect, binary, which is surely its biggest problem, but it has the merit of existing. And he helps companies a lot on reflections and the structuring of sustainable finance. It is also thanks to this that Europe is ahead of the whole world on this issue. »
But this text remains all the same pretty blurry for business. “It is a project which is complete but which has certain inconsistencies. It is also important that there is alignment of requirements. In addition to CSRD in Europe, the United States is working on a new standard, China and the United Kingdom as well. Today, when we intervene all over the world, it is impossible for each country to have different standards. Bankers, investors or even those for whom this information has real value also cannot compare companies,” develops Bruno Vibert.
The transition to greener growth is finally source of business opportunitiesin particular concerning these financings. “Pockets of liquidity are dedicated to companies having a more virtuous behaviorwhich measure and understand their impact,” reports Elena Burdykina.
A responsible company will also be much better able to recruit easily. “Today, if you don’t show real ambition on ESG criteria, it will be much more complicated to attract or retain talent. In addition, there is a very high chance that your employees will find themselves demotivated,” relates Bruno Vibert. On this point, Christophe Adam is totally in line. “It is indeed very important to demonstrate to future employees that we have this commitment. This is why it is essential to have solutions that integrate this ability to embrace this transition and to implement very concrete actions. »
Find the round table in full by clicking here