Treasury Today May/June 2021

Published: May 2021



Time to act

As this edition goes to press, two days of climate discussions close with ambitious new emission pledges from countries including Japan, Canada and South Korea, counterbalanced by foot-dragging from Australia and Brazil.

A new wave of targets is a clear warning sign to public companies that governments’ regulatory and reporting demands around emissions are set to increase. Companies have been producing sustainability reports for years, but as climate risk becomes financially material, sustainability and treasury teams will increasingly have to pool their expertise, processes and rigour to detail corporate emissions as a liability on the balance sheet and provide deep dive analysis of the emissions across their supply chain. It’s a reporting burden that screams the need to act now. “This is the direction of travel,” warns one of our interviewees.

Elsewhere, we focus on a more familiar treasury challenge: cash management. Cathy Fields, Assistant Treasurer and Director of Global Risk Management at Hitachi Vantara, recounts how she has transformed banking infrastructure and cash management at the division of the Japanese IT conglomerate. The process depended on clear messaging and communication, education and breaking down silos.

No doubt an interesting lens into transformational change for Matthew Ebersold, Head of Treasury at US photography pioneer Kodak. In our Insight and Analysis feature he talks about how post pandemic treasury strategy at the company will focus on identifying and implementing efficiencies, particularly around cash management, as the company seeks to reduce its “hundreds” of bank accounts around the world and the associated fees.

This edition also gathers expert opinion on the Greensill fallout, reminding readers that Greensill’s risky future receivables financing isn’t a traditional trade finance product. Minna Helppi, Group Treasurer at Finland’s Metso Outotec, espouses the win-win of supply chain finance for suppliers and treasury and predicts regulation and more investment bank involvement ahead.

Finally, it’s that time of the year again! The Adam Smith Awards programme recognises best practice and innovation, regardless of company size, budget or industry sector. Following the success of our 2020 virtual delivery, we will again run the Adam Smith Awards 2021 digitally, announcing the winners on 8th June.

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