- Emmanuel Flattetco-founding partner of .Figures, a consulting and chartered accountant firm dedicated to the ecological transition
- Stephane Faustin-Leybachpurchasing director and former supply chain director of NAOS, an international skincare group based in Aix-en-Provence
- Thomas WattezResearch and innovation manager at Ecocem, a disruptive company in the field of construction
- Pascale Boissierco-founder of Silbo, a firm specializing in transition support
Three years. This is the deadline set by the latest report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Group on Climate Research) published on April 4 to succeed in reversing the curve of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 if humanity wants hope to keep a “liveable” planet. More than ever, the fight against climate deregulation is everyone’s business: global, European and state institutions, economic players, associations, citizens. And frames of course.
Some companies are at the stage of becoming aware of the extent of climate change. Others are beginning to implement their ecological transition. Still others wonder: why revolutionize my business model, since my lights are still green? This defensive strategy may not last very long.
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Counting differently: the financial director will become a director of value
Many CFOs underestimate the magnitude of the change in the profession.
“Today, most CFOs understand value through financial capital alone. The ecological emergency pushes them to change the paradigm to aim for a global performance that combines financial capital, human capital and natural capital”, says Emmanuel Flattet, co-founding partner of .Figures, a consulting and chartered accountant firm dedicated to the ecological transition.
Concretely, how can the DAF, and even should it carry out its revolution? “On the one hand, regulations are essential, like the Green Taxonomy, a European directive that governs corporate climate reporting. On the other hand, in our VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – marked by the explosion of transport costs, the scarcity of raw materials and conflicts, the CFO is expected in its role as a business partner. It is up to him to carry out stress tests (what happens to the company if the price of copper increases by 50% and the logistics cost by 25%) and to guide the choices of relocation or investment. », he explains.
Before predicting “We are at the dawn of a movement. Many CFOs underestimate the magnitude of the change in the profession. They will have to extend their measurement of value to extra-financial criteria. The title of “Chief Value Officer (CVO)” could appear in the comex of companies. And replace that of DAF ». The value revolution has only just begun.
Buy differently: become your suppliers’ best customer
You have to earn your legitimacy within your company. And therefore spend a lot of time in the field, especially with internal prescribers.
How to buy in a finite world where the raw material becomes rare? Stéphane Faustin-Leybach, Purchasing Director and former Supply Chain Director of NAOS, an international Skincare group based in Aix-en-Provence, gives advice matured by experience: “it’s up to you to become your suppliers’ best customer”. It is that the roles have been reversed. Purchasing managers must adapt to this new situation. The time when they could “impose their law” to suppliers is over.
“In the context of relocation and enhancement of the premises, a craftsman from a region will be spoiled for choice when it comes to selling his materials and raw materials to companies established nearby. Hence the importance of respecting suppliers and building tailor-made relationships with them,” explains the one who chose the environment camp more than twenty years ago.
How to evangelize the Comex and the company as a whole, when, like Stéphane Faustin-Leybach, we are convinced that the company must be part of the long term, cultivate frugality, work more locally. reduce packaging?
And the fight to reduce the carbon footprint requires method. “It’s not easy to take the management team of a company with you. Expertise is not enough for you. You have to develop your leadership and gain legitimacy within your company. And therefore spend a lot of time in the field, especially with internal prescribers. In our world still governed by return on investment (the famous ROI, editor’s note), to sell your project, you must provide proof that your approach, which takes into account the ecological transition, rhymes with profitability, efficiency and sustainability. Then the financial, logistics or even HR functions join you”, entrusts the one who received, in 2021, the silver medal for the Purchasing Decision Maker of the Year Award.
Innovate differently: the solutions exist
Thomas Wattez, 35, INSA engineer and graduate of a doctorate at the CEA on nuclear energy, belongs to this generation which has seen the emergence of the ecological transition. And his job must be aligned with his convictions.
I aim for impact in my daily life as a professional and as a citizen.
His position ? Research and innovation manager at Ecocem, a disruptive company in one of the most polluting industries on the planet, that of building materials. The company, founded in Dublin in 2000 and established in Western Europe, has adopted a circular economy model for the production of an alternative to ordinary cement, a key component of concrete. It involves nothing less than recycling a co-product of steel, blast furnace slag, to replace clinker, which has a very high carbon footprint.
“I collaborate with the Research and Innovation teams, but also with production, sales, finance… At Ecocem, nearly 20% of the 180 employees work on innovation, compared to 5% in general in companies in the sector. All functions are impacted and involved”, explains Thomas Wattez. This is because the transition process is necessarily transversal.
This green cement revolution – which goes much further than “simple” decarbonization – attracts renowned investors, like Bill Gates, and shakes up the historical leaders of the construction sector. It’s a bit like David versus Goliath. The large-scale projects carried out with Ecocem ground slag – the ITER project, the Vinci headquarters in La Défense, and even the athletes’ village for the Paris Olympics – show that the transition is under way.
Lucid, Thomas Wattez confides: “The solutions exist. Everything then depends on the political will internally in the companies, and externally, on a global scale, in Europe and in the countries”.
Communicate differently: regain a strategic role and contribute to soft power
If you associate communication and ecological transition, the term greenwashing Is not far.
” Companies are rarely deliberately misleading, they rather tend to present as structuring achievements that are in fact micro actions”, analysis Pascale Boissier, co-founder of Silbo, a firm specializing in transition support, which leads communication departments to ask themselves the following question: “cow do I make visible in an authentic way what my company is doing in terms of transition? “. Indeed, we read more articles or tweets on the installation of water fountains than on the implementation of extra-financial accounting or the overhaul of a company’s supply chain. The Communication Department remains at the service, therefore dependent on the company’s strategy.
What about the concrete, when we know the strong carbon footprint of large event masses, apps, videos and other digital devices?
It is up to the Dircom to develop its practices to make them more sober, more ethical and more respectful of planetary limits. It is up to him to train for example at the Ademe, to know the rules of ethics and the laws which govern responsible communication, to follow the transformations of society.
While the communication departments have had tendency in recent years to lose their strategic role within the Comex, it is essential that professionals take hold of the ecological and social transition and contribute to soft power by raising awareness among DGs who have not yet realized the extent of the ongoing change », points out Pascale Boissier.
And to conclude: “Basically, communication must regain its role as a transmission belt and carry the voice of the stakeholders within the company to better meet their expectations, which today are those of society as a whole”. Definitely, the com is not limited to let-know.
We understand that by reading these testimonials, neither the general management nor any function will succeed alone in meeting the challenge of ecological transition. This far-reaching change requires a collective approach. Everyone can do their part. A bit like in the legend of the hummingbird, told by Pierre Rabi:
One day there was a huge forest fire. All terrified animals, aghast, watched helplessly disaster. Only the little hummingbird was busy, fetching a few drops with its beak to throw them on the fire. After a while, the armadillo, annoyed by this ridiculous agitation, said to him: “Hummingbird! You’re not crazy ? It is not with these drops of water that you will put out the fire! And the hummingbird replied, “I know that, but I’m doing my part.” »