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A4S Academy Award Winners

The A4S Academy awards are given to participants who have shown particular commitment and resilience, they have innovated and inspired, and became true champions of sustainability in finance.

There are five categories for the Awards:

  • Impact 
    The participant has achieved, or is likely to achieve, tangible environmental and/or social benefits, and it is clear that the implementation plan and objectives set out by the participant are linked to the benefits achieved. These benefits are in addition to delivering positive financial outcomes. 
  • Innovation 
    The participant has developed a new and different product, service, offering or way of working that has the potential to drive organizational change in the direction of positive sustainable impact.
  • Inspiration
    The participant has inspired others to take action, and they have clearly demonstrated that others are following their positive example.   
  • Resilience 
    The participant has faced and overcome (or has set out a plan to overcome) significant challenges, and has made progress despite the obstacles faced.
  • Advocacy
    The participant has played an active role in supporting the A4S Academy and advocated for integration of sustainability within and outside their organizations.

Apply Now

Applications for the next cycle are now open, closing 29 March 2024. The programme starts June 2024. If you are interested in joining, click on the button below to find out more about the A4S Academy and how to apply.



Impact Award – Jancy Castro, VMware

Jancy helped integrate ESG issues into financial planning and budgeting. She upskilled the finance team in sustainability and brought finance and ESG together on several projects. She also developed a portfolio of top ESG priorities to highlight the most important initiatives to fund. Jancy compiled a process framework to assess data quality and controls of over 300 ESG metrics and addressed any control risks.

Key achievements:

  • Improved integration of ESG issues into financial planning and budgeting and developed a portfolio of the top ESG priorities.
  • Developed a framework to prioritize budget requests.
  • Developed criteria and governance for a ringfencing model. This was used in FY24 planning to protect capital from budget restrictions.
  • Ran training sessions on the role of finance in sustainability and developed materials for sustainable finance workshops.
  • Implemented a framework to assess the data quality and controls of 300+ metrics (eg GHG emissions, diversity, equity and inclusion) and remediated any control risks.

We were impressed by Jancy’s ambition and her efforts to bring about change. Integrating ESG into financial planning and budgeting will have significant positive knock-on effects within the organization. Jancy’s work is a great demonstration of the actions needed for meaningful change to happen.” – The Judges

Innovation Award - Peter Lööw, Stora Enso

Peter conducted a pilot of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Framework. This was centred within the biomaterials division, looking at value chain dependencies and the impact on nature (with chemicals identified as having a material impact). Peter also worked to publish a new Green Bond and Sustainability-Linked Framework and to include a biodiversity KPI within the sustainability-linked bond part of the framework.

Key achievements:

  • Supported a pilot TNFD assessment within the biomaterials division, identifying key value chain dependencies and impacts on nature.
  • Strongly advocated for TNFD within the organization.
  • Collaborated with wider teams on developing a new green and sustainability-linked bond framework, which included biodiversity KPIs.

We were excited to read about Peter’s work and see how he is working towards integrating nature into decision making. The inclusion of biodiversity within sustainable finance is not something we see regularly, but we expect to see much more over the next few years, as it can support protection.” – The Judges 

Inspiration Award – Rachael Ryan, Verizon

Rachael drove the finance team’s involvement – in the form of digital solutions, analysis and governance – to create significant improvement and acceleration in Verizon's GHG emissions reporting process. This brought the process forward by over three months. Rachael was also instrumental in developing a three-stage training programme for finance professionals to give them a better understanding of ESG and how it relates to their role.

Key achievements:

  • Accelerated GHG emissions data collection by three-and-a-half months.
  • Streamlined the collection, reporting, and assurance of scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions through analysis, simple digital tools and financial oversight.
  • Developed a three-stage training programme to equip the finance team with sustainability competencies, completing delivery of stage one training in September 2023.

Rachael took on ambitious objectives as part of her plan; improving reporting cycles can be very hard and running a training programme for finance colleagues shows tenacity. It is inspiring to see how Rachael approached these goals, and how this positively influenced those around her.” – The Judges

Resilience Award – Tan Swee Chuan, CapitaLand Investment Limited

Swee Chuan embedded material sustainability reporting requirements into CapitaLand’s new ERP system. Key metrics were identified and signed off and are due to be rolled out in early 2024. Swee Chuan also raised the finance team’s awareness of sustainability reporting through training. His key challenges included push back from project teams, concerns over timelines, and a lack of understanding and consistency across functions relating to sustainability requirements. Swee Chuan worked to reach an agreement on scope and expected outcomes.

Key achievements:

  • Embedded sustainability reporting requirements into the new ERP system, which will be rolled out in early 2024.
  • Formed a working group and conducted sustainability training for finance staff to help them better understand their role in supporting the organization’s wider sustainability goals. This included a technical briefing on the new ISSB exposure drafts and workshops on the implications of sustainability requirements for accounting and finance.
  • Shared training sessions with finance, treasury and sustainability teams on the group's sustainability achievements and updated 2030 targets.

We were impressed with Swee Chuan’s resilience when faced with internal push back and his commitment to reach a resolution so that sustainability reporting is part of the build of the new ERP system. Swee Chuan’s continued efforts will ensure that when the new ERP system is rolled out early next year, it will help the business deliver on its wider sustainability goals and reporting needs.” – The Judges



Impact Award - Ashleigh Langs-Saltzman, Autodesk

Ashleigh supported the launch of a sustainability financing framework that allowed sustainability to be better incorporated into the organization's financing strategy. This has allowed Autodesk to develop its first sustainability bond of US$1 billion, which will fund projects in a broad range of areas, such as eco-efficient products, production technologies and processes, sustainable water and water management, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and socioeconomic advancement and empowerment.  

Autodesk also refinanced its line of credit in 2021, as it wanted KPIs to be tied to corporate sustainability targets (reducing scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the number of women working in technology). 

We were impressed by Ashleigh’s passion and achievements throughout her time at the A4S Academy, and in particular can see the potential for lasting and tangible impact that her work can have. This is through a combination of the notable size of the debt raised, the KPIs linked to the refinanced line of credit and also the breadth of the areas the funds will invest in, including socioeconomic advancement and empowerment; and increasing the number of women working in technology.

The Judges

Innovation Award - Emily Francis, Burberry

Emily led the TCFD disclosures programme, which included complex and ambitious scenario analysis across multiple temperature changes and climate-related risks. She partnered with the University of Cambridge for Risk Studies on developing the scenario analysis. This provided a quantified range of examples around how climate-related risks may impact the business, which was externally assured by EY. 

Emily also set up a cross-disciplinary team and curated a training programme of bitesize events for the global COO team of circa 700 colleagues. 

Emily’s Progress Report showed us that Burberry is ahead of the curve when it comes to TCFD reporting. It’s great to see the innovation, strategic thinking and collaboration that she has applied to these disclosures.”  

The Judges

Inspiration Award - Andy Mounsey, John Lewis Partnership

Andy embedded Ethics and Sustainability (E&S) into John Lewis Partnership's financial strategy and set out how profits should be invested in supporting their three organizational pillars: 'Happier Business, Happier People and Happier World'. He is also developing a new mechanism for measuring E&S linked appraisals – for example, looking at how scores are weighted for sustainability investments.  

Andy placed emphasis on capturing the hearts as well as minds in the finance function. In so doing he tailored training to cover personal, technical and partnering perspectives. Andy also supported the creation of a Finance Sustainability Squad, led by A4S Academy participant Nicola Wright, which is a team of partners focused on sharing knowledge and taking action to drive a sustainable future. 

Andy’s emphasis on capturing the hearts as well as the minds of those in the finance team has allowed him to bring in the wider skills and experience of his colleagues to help to integrate sustainability within the finance function at John Lewis Partnerships.” 

The Judges





Download the 2021 and 2022 Academy Yearbooks to read the story of each of our graduates. These stories illustrate what is possible by rethinking the role of finance.

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