The COVID-19 outbreak has illuminated the global energy industry’s resiliency and presented unique opportunities to fast forward the energy transformation. The energy industry is facing multiple sets of challenges, from those already in progress before COVID-19, to permanent impacts from the response to the pandemic, and even more as-yet-unseen developments to come in 2021. Recovery from the pandemic does not mean a return to ‘normal’. Instead, there is an opportunity to define a new future for the industry, and three actions areas will be critical: sustainability, digital and talent.
Energy CEOs embrace sustainability
There were some concerns early in the public health crisis that disruption would slow the implementation of clean energy legislation and projects across the world. In reality, the market for renewables has been remarkably resilient, and, in some countries, even increased the focus on ESG and sustainability.
"Modernizing ESG practices is becoming a priority for every industry, from energy to technology to healthcare to retail, to support both financial performance and resilience. As a result, global organizations are looking to integrate environmental and financial risks associated with the cost of carbon into their real estate portfolio approach, using emerging technologies to validate their data and strategy."
Global Head of Climate Change & Decarbonization,
KPMG IMPACT & Global Head of Renewables
KPMG International Limited
Read our latest thinking and top-of-mind resources on climate change and sustainability to help you build long-term value in a rapidly changing world.
Accelerate the adoption of digital technologies
Since the COVID-19 shutdown, the world has grown far more comfortable with virtual work, school, shopping, socialization, and more. Digital capabilities are now table stakes, and energy companies need to figure out how to digitize anything, from contactless call centers through which customers can raise issues or track orders, to wholesale marketing transactions enabled by blockchain solutions for real-time settlement. Approximately half of the Energy CEOs surveyed plan to invest capital in new technology, digitalization, workforce skills, and capabilities.
"Collectively, our energy industry learned a critical lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic and simultaneous geopolitical events that disrupted the oil industry: if we want to survive, we must be agile and re-think all facets of our operating models to remain resilient in this new reality. This includes our part in the energy transition, our approach to people and talent, and our digital readiness. Companies that get this right will do more than survive—they’ll thrive."
Global Head of Energy
KPMG International Limited
Read our insights on driving transformation to help create sources of value, operate with more agility and precision, enhance customer centricity, and empower your workforce.
The new energy workforce
Energy CEOs now identify talent risk—recruitment and retention, as well as employee health and wellbeing—as the greatest threat to growth; prior to the pandemic, it was barely on their risk radar. The flexible and remote work that became necessary during the shutdown could be here to stay, and that has sweeping ramifications for how and where companies will operate. With potentially permanent remote work for tens of thousands of employees, the workplace could become a perk rather than a required daily destination. In fact, nearly 70 percent of energy CEOs surveyed said they expect to downsize their office space.
Read our research led insights and learn what workers are telling us about where they are struggling, and what energy companies should do next.
In a time of great uncertainty, CEOs are having to make important decisions with long-term consequences. They are having to do their utmost to protect their people while facing massive economic pressure that could potentially threaten the future of their business. We invite you to explore the insights from eight energy CEOs on how they are navigating unprecedented challenges.