In brief

In brief

  • Trust in the oil and gas industry’s traditional role—extracting hydrocarbons people need and delivering returns investors demand—is fading.
  • Investors, consumers, employees and partners doubt the industry’s purpose, commitment to sustainability, and role in the energy transition.
  • According to the Accenture Strategy Competitive Agility Index, this loss of confidence may put nearly 4 percent of future revenue at risk.
  • With the industry’s future relevance at stake, it’s time for oil and gas companies to put their energy into building trust.

Obtaining a green light for growth

Amid declining returns and growing demand for cleaner energy and sustainable products, investors are increasingly skeptical of energy companies’ willingness or ability to embrace business models that will have positive environmental and social impact, as well as their aptitude to generate meaningful returns in the energy transition.

Their doubts are troubling. The energy industry will need nearly US$40 trillion in investment capital by 2040. While at least half of that will go toward growing their core operations, a significant share will need to be allocated to new business models and diverse growth opportunities. Leading oil & gas companies will prove they can compete and grow in the years ahead.


Nearly two-thirds of consumers are attracted to companies that take a stand on sustainability. Oil and gas companies must define—and prove—their purpose.


Fewer than one in 10 recent college graduates want to work for energy companies. Oil and gas companies must reposition themselves as employers-of-choice.

Building valued—and valuable—partnerships

Future competitiveness will require oil and gas companies to expand across value chains and deliver new categories of products and services at scale. They can’t do it alone. New ecosystems of suppliers, peers, partners, customers, government agencies, academia and NGOs will be needed to generate value. Yet, Accenture Strategy research found only 33 percent of oil and gas companies are using ecosystems to support new business models. That’s lower than any other industry. The energy companies of the future will up their partnership game.

From trust deficit to trust advantage

To recapture the trust of their stakeholders, energy companies need to be a force for good by boldly advocating for integrity, ethics, safety, transparency, and environmental and societal sustainability. Measuring trust deficits and quantifying their impacts can inform specific actions that are needed:

  • Reassure investors with well-reasoned portfolio investments and demonstrations of how healthy returns can be generated.
  • Win over consumers by educating them about the beneficial role the oil and gas industry will play in the energy future.
  • Attract talent by actively communicating the industry’s position at the leading edge—technologically, societally and economically.
  • Persuade ecosystem partners by defining new rules of collaboration and shared commitments.

First things first

No two companies will build trust as a source of competitive agility in the same way. There are many options. The important thing is for oil and gas companies to start rebuilding stakeholder confidence today. Their future competitiveness depends on it.

About the Authors

Muqsit Ashraf

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Energy

Rich Kho

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Energy

Herve Wilczynski

Managing Director – Accenture Consulting, Energy

Mauricio Bermudez Neubauer

Director – Accenture Strategy, Sustainability


Arnold Volkenborn

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Energy


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