May 19, 2020

Six Cost-Effective Sustainability Changes Every Organization Can Make

business tips
Economic recovery
Sustainable Initiatives
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Six Cost-Effective Sustainability Changes Every Organization Can Make

Written by Bob Doppelt

Our manufacturing technologies and the chemistry they employ were developed in a very different era. When our industrial production and consumption systems were developed, global population was more than a third less than today, environmental problems were small and localized, not global and potentially catastrophic as climate disruption and ocean acidification are now, and the level of toxicity and waste were minimal. Under these conditions, businesses had no reason to pay attention to the adverse impacts of what they produce, purchase, or use.
To the contrary, people were rightfully thankful for the benefits of burning coal, oil, and gas to run their organizations, make travel easier, and power the economy. They appreciated cheap, light weight plastics for the ease they provided over heavier metals and glass. They reveled in the availability of a vast array of synthetic chemicals to meet all sorts of needs. These goods and services raised the standard of living and gave the appearance of progress, so people were oblivious to the costs on the planet and its people of choices that at the time were well-meaning. 
But conditions have fundamentally changed and we now know that grave perils face humanity. Yet the methods, composition, and impacts of the things we make, buy, and use on a daily basis today are still for the most part the outcomes of decisions and processes made 50-100 years ago.  As a result, most production processes, goods, and services have significant adverse impacts in our workplaces--and on the natural environment that is the source of all life. 
The economic rule of thumb of the past century--more and cheaper is better-- must be be supplanted by a new refrain for economic success and personal happiness-- sustainable is better, healthier, morally just--and essential to sustain life on the planet. Here are six cost-effective changes every organization can make to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly and ensure it increases it’s longevity:
1. Complete a comprehensive value-chain wide 'Life Cycle Analysis' (LCA) of the environmental and social impacts of your goods and services. Most firms don't realize the benefits of an LCA, but they are substantial. This will help your company see the systems it is part of and understand the consequences of its current activities on those systems.  
2. As the LCA is being completed, undergo an energy audit and carbon footprint analysis for your production and distribution facilities, and retail outlets to understand how energy is used and the greenhouse gas emissions generated. This is an easy and inexpensive way to find ways to save money.
3. Hold a company wide dialogue and adopt a clear set of ethical tenets to guide all of the firm's activities focused on 'doing no harm' to the natural environment and other people, here or abroad. 
4. Then, demonstrate a commitment to that tenet by setting an ambitious target---say 30%--and implementing an efficiency and conservation plan in your facilities to reduce energy use. Then, look for ways to achieve similar energy reductions throughout your company's entire value chain.
5. Similarly, develop a plan to phase out the use of coal, oil and gas fossil fuels throughout your entire value chain within 5-10 years. Use a combination of increased energy efficiency and clean renewable energy such as wind and solar power to achieve that goal. This is very doable.
6. In addition, set an ambitious goal--say 30%--and phase in a plan to reduce waste to landfills by increasing reuse and recycling at all of your facilities. Then, look for ways to achieve similar goals throughout your company's entire value chain. This is another relatively easy cost saver.
About the Author: Bob Doppelt is the Executive Director of The Resource Innovation Group (TRIG) and an adjunct professor in the Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon where he teaches systems thinking and global warming policy. He is the author of From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life. For more information, please visit,

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Jun 8, 2021

Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda

Kate Birch
4 min
As businesses accelerate their transformation journeys, tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value. Deloitte reveals six tax trends

New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.

According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.

And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.

Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.

Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.

According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”

Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models

Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.

Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected

in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.

"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."

Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities

Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.

At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”

Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting

Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.

Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact 

Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements

Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.

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