I have worked with hundreds of CFOs in my career– big and small companies, for-profit, non-profit, mean, nice.   They all speak a common language- show me the business plan.  That is how they were born and why they are successful.  It can be intimidating, but don’t let it get to you.  After a couple of meetings, once they see you making the effort to speak their language they will help you.

You can approach with a problem statement, cost, savings and the strategic outcome.   Your pitch can start simple, like “we estimate our organization produces X emissions that cost Y dollars each year.  We want to discuss with you how we can reduce our emissions, save the organization money and build a long-term sustainability strategic fund.”    I have done some research which estimates the average hospital admission produces ~5 tons of carbon emissions.  (You can adjust that to a range of 20% on either side and say its between 4-6 tons.  Remember, the point is to show the CFO you are attempting to speak their language and the organization really doesn’t know its emissions, which is also a problem you want their help to figure out).  Multiply by your total admissions and you have a carbon emissions estimate.  You can then add the organization’s spend on electricity, natural gas, anesthesia, vehicle fleet and supplies to get a partial spend that produces those emissions.   You can get spend estimates from the leaders of those departments.

Now you have the CFO saying .  .”Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that, how do we reduce it and save money?!”    You can feel the CFO leaning in.  This is the language in which they are fluent and they appreciate your effort.  They are becoming your ally.   The next step will be to brainstorm on some projects to attack. . .   such as “Well, we can look at electricity and gas, call our utility, call facilities, talk with our Chief Medical Officer and supply chain leader.   Would you like me to do that?”   Voila, now you have a workgroup with the direction to report back to the CFO!   At a recent conference, one of my fellow panelists remarked about how important this relationship is to her sustainability agenda and how proud she was about exceeding the CFOs aggressive targets.  So be ready for that!

I love this stuff and  I want to help you!   Sustainability is a bonus for your organization, Earth and your customers!   Our CarbonEMR has tons of projects, ROI estimates and documents to help get you a running start on Day 1!   Oh and by the way, make sure HR is included because employees want to be engaged in solving this problem, too!


Published On: April 17, 2024Categories: Carbon accounting, Finance, Health system carbon reduction, ROI

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SION60 is committed to offering affordable carbon reduction as a service to health systems, nonprofits and small businesses.