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.
Living a purpose
Investors aren’t the only oil and gas skeptics. Many consumers don’t believe traditional oil and gas companies can play a role in expanding access to affordable, clean energy solutions. The most recent Global Consumer Pulse research from Accenture Strategy confirmed that people want companies they engage with to not just do well, but do good. Companies that don't will pay the price. Nearly half of consumers who are disappointed with a brand walk away. Nearly one fifth never come back.
Future employees, too, question the industry’s commitment to sustainability. They wonder if oil and gas companies can offer the technical maturity or employment stability they seek. Their lack of trust poses problems for companies that need new skills to build new business models, products and services.
Leading oil & gas companies will focus on the expectations of consumers and employees.
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.