According to a recent Ernst & Young LLP survey, though there are two important green benefits for companies who make efforts for sustainability – environmental friendliness, and financial savings – many are not able to take advantage of those opportunities due to a lack of integration between sustainability programs and tax departments.
In fact, only 16 percent of the survey respondents that stated that they either currently have or are already working on the creation of an environmental sustainability strategy, also claimed that their finance or tax departments played an active role in the effort.
The title of the survey was “Working Together: Linking sustainability and tax to reduce the cost of implementing sustainability initiatives”. It included the participation of 223 senior execs from companies that were primarily located in the U.S. Among the participants, 19 percent were chief sustainability officers, and 81 percent were either tax directors or the company’s equivalent.
The results from the surveys to each group were significantly different, which underscores the failure to coordinate between those two critical elements. For example, among the chief sustainability officers, 90 percent believed that their company was either currently involved in a sustainability strategy or was in the process of developing one. Only 28 percent of the tax directors believed the same.
According to the Global and Americas Leader of Climate Change and Sustainability Services and CleanTech Tax Services, Paul Naumoff, reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption, offsetting carbon emissions, choosing alternative fuel and energy sources, and innovating for cleaner technologies are all projects that have tax considerations. Naumoff pointed out that when the tax department of a company isn’t involved in that company’s strategies for sustainability, there are important financial opportunities being missed.