Nearly two-thirds of CFOs are now directly involved in their companies’ sustainability efforts, according to a new survey.

The survey of 272 business executives from 24 industry sectors, conducted by Ernst & Young and the GreenBiz Group media and research company, found that 65 percent of CFOs are now directly involved in corporate sustainability efforts to protect natural resources. In addition, 76 percent of the survey respondents (which included CFOs, corporate sustainability officers and other executives involved with coporate enviornmental strategy) anticipate that shortages of natural resources such as water will affect their core business objectives over the next three to five years. Eighty percent of the survey respondents see revenue opportunities in sustainability, 66 percent said their companies report on their greenhouse gas emissions, and 62 percent report on their water footprint.

“These findings suggest sustainability efforts are becoming integrated into the corporate fabric of most large companies,” said Ernst & Young LLP Americas leader of climate change and sustainability services Steve Starbuck in a statement. “However, sustainability projects may be challenged by the fact that two-thirds of companies require them to meet the same financial payback requirements as other investments. While sustainability initiatives can provide financial returns, their intangible benefits, such as employee retention and reputational advantages should also be factored into the return on investment.”

The survey also found that 66 percent said they have seen an increase in inquiries about sustainability-related issues in the past 12 months from investors and shareholders. In addition, 92 percent expect their sustainability funding to stay the same or increase over the next three years.

About one in four of the survey respondents said their companies use packaged software to handle a portion of their needs. The primary data collection tools remain spreadsheets, emails and phone calls.

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