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An Earth Day message? Try sustainability.


It's Earth Day ... and to commemorate the occasion, here's a reminder that being good to the environment doesn't have to be bad for business -- quite the opposite, in fact.

To drive the point home, here's a post from September 2011 featuring words of wisdom from Tom Hood, CFO magazine, and BLI thought leader Jennifer Elder.


We've heard Tom Hood's insightful take on how CFOs can build value through sustainability.

"This is a great opportunity for CFOs to consider taking a leadership role with this emerging issue," Tom wrote recently, and he's right.

Beyond that, it's turning out to be a terrific way to stave off the economic zombies that are roaming the corporate countryside.

"CFOs looking to squeeze as much efficiency out of their plants and operations as possible have found that certain cornerstones of the sustainability movement, such as reducing waste and power usage, offer fresh ways to do what they do so well: manage risk and control costs," writes's Kate O'Sullivan. "The environmental benefits are a nice outcome, too, of course, but they are not the main motivation behind many companies' heightened focus on green initiatives."

But what about CPAs in public practice? What's in it for them?

Jennifer Elder has a few ideas.

Jennifer is a CPA, an MACPA member, and president and founder of The Sustainable CFO, and she has some terrific reasons why CPAs need to be paying attention to the sustainability movement.

Hint: It goes way beyond being "green."

  • Employee retention: "Generations X and Y cut their teeth on recycling," Elder said. "Recycling and environment issues are important to them. There are a variety of studies that show an employee who believes he or she is working for a socially responsible company is 50 percent more likely to stay. When this economy turns around and jobs are available, you're going to need every reason to keep your employees."
  • New services: Alert CPA firms will be able to offer a number of new services that cater to the sustainability movement. These include new reporting services because, as Elder says, "These companies are starting to report publicly. It's not mandated by the SEC yet, (but) it will be."
  • A leg up on the competition: "Consumers are looking for (sustainability)," Elder says. "If there are two accounting firms you can choose from and one of them is supporting local community non-profits, I'd go with that firm versus another one that isn't doing that."

Bottom line: Sustainability makes good business sense, and not just for the companies that are doing it.

Listen to Elder's thoughts in their entirety in this MACPA video interview:

What are you doing to boost your triple bottom line? Let us know, then check out these related learning opportunities offered through the Business Learning Institute:


Bill Sheridan