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5 ways to fast-track sustainable transformation in manufacturing companies

In Singapore, only 37% of companies have implemented sustainability initiatives.

The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), Deloitte, and Singapore Management University (SMU) have listed five recommendations for manufacturing companies to accelerate their sustainability transformation.

To further drive sustainability transformation, the experts recommended that manufacturing companies create a C-suite position for the Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer (CFSO).

"A CFSO can help translate sustainability measurements and data into the financial bottom line," said the experts in a report.

Manufacturing companies should also integrate sustainability considerations into current operations. Doing so will ensure that sustainability initiatives and business strategies are aligned.

Third, experts advised companies to leverage international and/or local communities of practice to stay informed on sustainability matters.

"Plugging into sustainability discussions will keep the company abreast of initiatives, best practices, and innovations by sustainability leaders," the experts stated.

Assessing upstream or downstream supply chain opportunities and risks can also help manufacturing companies with their sustainability transformation.

"With value chains becoming more compliant with sustainability requirements, companies need to take advantage of ensuing business opportunities and mitigate any related risks," the experts stated.

Lastly, experts recommended that companies discover new business niches: "These efforts can lead to the creation of innovative, marketable products that cater to the growing demand for sustainable solutions."

Meanwhile, the report ISCA, SMF, Deloitte and SMU also found that accountancy and finance professionals are well-suited to pick up the 10 skills required for sustainability transformation in the manufacturing sector. 

These skillsets are as follows:

  1. Stakeholder and community engagement
  2. Circular economy and resource efficiency
  3. Carbon and decarbonisation strategies management
  4. Sustainability data management and impact measurement
  5. Sustainability reporting
  6. Sustainability risk management
  7. Sustainable Finance
  8. Internal audit on sustainability governance
  9. Climate and nature financial implication qualification
  10. Natural capital management

"There is evidence that this is already happening in the Singapore manufacturing sector. The study found that 55% of manufacturing companies surveyed have either begun or planned to collect non-financial data about sustainability. Among this group, 90% expect their accounting and finance functions to shoulder high-value strategic roles for their organisations," the experts stated.

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