Baker Hughes: from ‘cost out’ to ‘carbon out’

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'Carbon out' with Baker Hughes

Baker Hughes is an energy technology company that provides solutions for energy and industrial customers worldwide. Conducting business in more than 120 countries, the company’s innovative technologies and services are aimed at taking energy forward – making it safer, cleaner, and more efficient for people and the

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Ed Irwin, Value Creation & Realisation Partner, PwC:

We're here today to talk about a fantastic case study, of how PwC is working with Baker Hughes as they go on their journey towards net zero. I'm joined by Allyson Anderson Book and Shyam Mashru, key players on that journey, and they'll be giving some advice to other organisations who are about to embark on the same mission. So, Allyson, help set the scene for us, you've obviously been working at this really hard for the last three or four years. Where did you start and how did you get people on board?

Allyson Anderson Book, Chief Sustainability Officer, Baker Hughes:

So, we started in 2019 with a pledge to get to net zero for operational emissions by 2050. We were one of the first in the sector actually, and it's something that we're proud of. That said, we needed to do a lot of work to make sure that we had credible pathways to get to where we need to go. Where we are today is, we realised pretty quickly that we had to actually think more about sustainability from a holistic sense, versus it just being, 'How do you cut emissions?' You can't cut emissions if you don't operate in a smarter way.

Ed Irwin:

Shyam, as you've been, kind of, working day-to-day, what's been the biggest challenge you've seen to build the momentum that's been created?

Shyam Mashru, Senior Manager, Value Creation & Realisation, PwC:

Yes, one of the biggest challenges we've had, and we've spoken about it for quite a while, is how we operationalise this and mature the function, because ESG, sustainability is so new. So, actually the cascade of getting things stacked in the right order and making sure that we have the right data sources, making sure people know what they're doing, hiring, all of those things that are normal in every single other function and just happen without even thinking. That was a quite complex task but we've got there, and pretty proud to say, we've matured quite a lot over the last couple of years.

Allyson Anderson Book:

Yes. I mean, if we miss even a week in that sequence, things get thrown off and it cascades, and it could be six months to a year that you can, sort of, miss your delivery window. So, that was a very big challenge.

Ed Irwin:

Yes, and I suppose that's been, especially as your function has started to interact more with the broader business, suddenly that ramps up the pressure around some of those timelines, and I'd be really fascinated to understand how you won the hearts and minds across the organisation as you, kind of, moved into that new territory.

Allyson Anderson Book:

It was very much, sort of, an existential journey for us because we have this challenge, the energy transition is the phase-out of fossil fuels to many people. It isn't to us, for us, it's about enabling a lower carbon future and getting the world to net zero, and so overcoming that has meant you build trust and a large part of that is showing that, you know, we have technical competence in that aspect. Mostly, what really propelled us forward was to have the 'from the top' sponsorship, and so our members of our executive leadership team, as well as our CEO, Lorenzo Simonelli, are very enthusiastic and supportive in what we try to do.

Ed Irwin:

Yes, absolutely key, and I suppose, just on that note, for organisations about the embark on their own journey towards net zero and becoming more sustainable, I'll put this question to you both but Shyam first, what would be your top tip for any other organisation about to start on their journey?

Shyam Mashru:

Yes, so I think leadership alignment is key, as we said, really simplifying it, there's a lot of complexity in this space, so we've spent a lot of time figuring out, 'Okay, what do we want to achieve and by when do we want to achieve it?' So, that's key. Understanding your dataflows, that is pivotal to everything, engaging with the business, I think, Allyson, you and the team in Baker Hughes have done an excellent job, 55,000 people across Fortune 500, very mobilised. Then the fifth tip would be enjoy it. I mean, it's been, for me personally, I think for all of us, one of the most thrilling rides over the last couple of years and it's just going to get more and more thrilling, so make sure you enjoy it.

Allyson Anderson Book:

Yes, I would say everything he said, and then, additionally, don't let up on the educational process, and when people first start to do this, it can be very intimidating and everything changes from week to week in the world of sustainability, so you've just got to, you know, be patient and have some ability to cut through the noise and just start with your quantification engine. If you need help, call a friend. We're certainly always here to help people, even that's not a part of our core business, we do like to peer-mentor and help other companies inside and outside of the sector.

Ed Irwin:

Amazing, and absolutely, this is a collective challenge for all of us.

Allyson Anderson Book:

All of society, yes.

Ed Irwin:

All of society, so absolutely, it's one that we can go on together. Well, thank you so much for joining me today.

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Ed Irwin

Ed Irwin

Operational Restructuring Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7725 707227

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