Reports on Ernst & Young Survey Highlighting Disconnect Between Tax and Sustainability Departments

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Companies Are Missing Key Financial Opportunities As A Result

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Companies with tax departments that aren’t taking sustainability efforts into account are missing an opportunity, the premier social networking forum for professionals and alumni of Accenture, Andersen, BearingPoint, Capgemini, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC has reported on a new Ernst & Young survey, Working Together: Linking sustainability and tax to reduce the cost of implementing sustainability initiatives, that reveals only 16% of responding companies that have or are developing an environmental sustainability strategy which include their tax or finance departments. The breakdown of the respondents showed that 19% were Chief Sustainability Officers (CFOs) while the majority at 81% were tax directors or their equivalents.

Paul Naumoff, Global and Americas Leader of Climate Change and Sustainability Services and CleanTech Tax Services was well aware of the consequences of disconnect between the departments.

“Reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, switching to alternative energy and fuel sources, innovating for cleaner technologies and offsetting carbon emissions – all of these efforts have tax considerations,” he said. “Companies with tax departments that aren’t taking sustainability efforts into account are missing an opportunity.” also noted other consequences of this lack of involvement by the tax department. Thirty seven percent of respondents were unaware of the incentives that were available for sustainability initiatives and of those that knew of them, only 17% said their companies actually took advantage of the offerings. Since there is a traditionally lower ROI on some of these sustainability projects, the Ernst & Young survey concluded that reducing the overall cost means including the tax department to make use of all available incentives.

A remedy devised by Ernst & young suggests that companies frame the discussion in broad Reduce, Switch, Innovate and Offset (RSIO) categories.

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Kristy Short
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