Six energy leaders commit to improve gender equality in the industry

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Leaders of BP, Drax, Engie, EON UK, Subsea 7 and Wood have signed up to the Energy Leaders’ Coalition, a public commitment to improve gender diversity and inclusion within their own organisations and across the UK energy sector.

Louise Kingham OBE FEI, Board Member of POWERful Women and Chief Executive of the Energy Institute, commented on the announcement: “We’re delighted to welcome six new members to the Energy Leaders’ Coalition.

“Each is demonstrating true leadership on gender diversity and inclusion.

“They recognise that their business will be better equipped for the energy and economic challenges that lie ahead if it can tap into the very best talent available, and they are also sending a powerful message to other major employers in the industry.

“The Energy Leaders’ Coalition is a safe space created by POWERful Women for company leaders to interact honestly with their peers and to explore the diversity and inclusion ideas that matter and the strategies that work.

“They find it helpful not just for gender diversity, but for taking care of everyone in their organisation.

“We’re looking forward to working with the new members to ramp up progress on female representation in the sector as we still have a long way to go.”

Louise Kingham OBE FEI

The new members join the existing eight members of the Coalition, formed in May 2018 as part of POWERful Women’s campaign to advance the careers of women in energy.

According to POWERful Women, recent analysis by PwC of the boards of the top c.80 UK energy companies showed that representation at senior levels ‘remains low, although some progress has been made’:

  • 21% of board seats are occupied by women – up from 16% in 2019 and 13% in 2018
  • 13% of executive board seats are occupied by women – more than double last year’s 6%
  • However, more than a third (38%) of the UK’s top energy companies have no women on their boards at all
  • More than two-thirds (79%) have no women occupying executive board seats.

The new members of Energy Leaders’ Coalition voiced their excitement about joining forces with the existing Coalition members, which include Good Energy, National Grid, Shell, SSE and ScottishPower.

Michael Lewis, CEO of EON UK commented: “At E.ON, we believe our people are crucial for the future success of our business and critical to achieving our UK purpose of leading the energy transition.

“I’m proud of the work being done across E.ON to improve the diversity of our workforce and pledge my personal commitment to making sure that we continue to create a culture where everyone’s welcome, can be themselves and achieve their full potential.

“Joining the Coalition helps us to challenge ourselves to keep improving and working towards our goal of achieving gender diversity at all levels.’’

Nicola Lovett, CEO of ENGIE UK & Ireland, commented: “ENGIE has for many years practised a conscious policy of promoting gender diversity and professional equality – but we recognise that as a business and more importantly as an industry sector there is much more that can be done.

“As business leaders, we are collectively in a position to drive real change on important themes such as diversity and inclusion.

“I am delighted to be joining the Energy Leaders’ Coalition and look forward to working closely with all of the members to exchange perspectives and explore ways to continue to take positive steps to increase levels of female representation within our leadership teams and also to ensure we inspire a diverse next generation of talent into a rewarding career in the energy industry.“

Robin Watson, Chief Executive of Wood, commented: “Wood is influencing positive change in gender diversity as part of our commitment to building a sustainable future for generations to come.

“Retaining and nurturing brilliant talent and generating the boldest solutions, takes creating a community that welcomes, celebrates and values difference in background, viewpoint and experience.

“Our membership of the coalition is testament to both our ambition and focus.”

Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax, commented: “Women hold around a fifth of senior roles at Drax – more than the global average for energy companies – but we can do much better and I am committed to make that happen, because it’s the right thing to do and diverse and inclusive businesses are more successful.

“We aim to progress women and people from diverse backgrounds throughout all levels of our business and are taking steps to achieve that from even the earliest stages of career development by working with schools, colleges and universities.

“Joining the Energy Leaders’ Coalition gives us a helpful forum to learn what works and what doesn’t, so we can ensure that we continue to drive meaningful change across a sector that has historically faced a long-standing gender and diversity imbalance.”

Peter Mather, SVP Europe and Head of Country UK for bp commented: “At BP we have had a gender ambition since 2012 and have actively increased our female representation at all levels of the company.

“We are passionate about ensuring that all our employees have equitable access to opportunities within the company.

“We review and improve our processes and systems to ensure that we have consciously inclusive elements built into the way we manage people and we encourage an inclusive culture among our colleagues by supporting active and influential Business Resource Groups of which our BPWIN network is the most longstanding.

“We are delighted to be a part of the Energy Leaders Coalition to push ourselves and our industry to do more in this hugely important area.”

John Evans, CEO of Subsea 7, added: “At Subsea 7, we’re committed in offering you a place for innovation, an environment where you can thrive, and a career you can be proud of.

“We work hard to make our workplace fair, respectful, diverse, and inclusive for everyone, and take pride in the truly global workforce we have.

“No doubt we still have work to do to improve female representation in our company, that’s why our membership of the coalition is a declaration of our commitment.

“At Subsea 7, we believe that a diverse workforce is not only good for business, but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.”