The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene
The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene

Oyindamola Animashaun

Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods
Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods

Sarah Gill

5 foolproof summer ‘fits
5 foolproof summer ‘fits

Sarah Finnan

The massage I’ve spent the past month thinking about
The massage I’ve spent the past month thinking about

Sarah Gill

Up your fitness game with our IMAGE Active event series
Up your fitness game with our IMAGE Active event series

IMAGE

This dreamy garden room extension in Santry is a gardener’s delight
This dreamy garden room extension in Santry is a gardener’s delight

Amanda Kavanagh

Inside this bright Gorey home on the market for €450,000 
Inside this bright Gorey home on the market for €450,000 

Sarah Finnan

WIN a trip for two to the South of France
WIN a trip for two to the South of France

IMAGE

6 Irish stylists on their summer wardrobe wishlists
6 Irish stylists on their summer wardrobe wishlists

Holly O'Neill

Ask the Doctor: ‘How soon after a double mastectomy could I have reconstructive surgery?’
Ask the Doctor: ‘How soon after a double mastectomy could I have reconstructive surgery?’

Sarah Gill

Image / Agenda / Business
Sponsored

“From small companies to large organisations, all changes are important”: Siobhán McHugh, Energy & Utilities Consulting Lead with PwC on making impactful progress

Sponsored By

By Megan Burns
11th Nov 2023
Sponsored By
“From small companies to large organisations, all changes are important”: Siobhán McHugh, Energy & Utilities Consulting Lead with PwC on making impactful progress

In our ever-changing world, sustainability is increasingly important for successful businesses. Siobhán McHugh, Energy & Utilities Consulting Lead with PwC Ireland, has vast experience in the energy sector, helping clients to make meaningful change.

Savvy business leaders know that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is an important focus of any successful organisation. From the need for energy efficiency, to diversity in your workforce, to data security, its remit is broad and varied, but each aspect provides both risks and opportunities for a company.

PwC helps clients create strategies, transform and report on all aspects of ESG to make sure they are always moving in the right direction, and Siobhán McHugh, Energy & Utilities Consulting Lead with PwC Ireland, knows a lot about the needs of businesses today.

With a focus on clients in the electricity, water and gas sectors, she has broad energy expertise, having studied industrial engineering, and worked across energy infrastructure, markets and decarbonisation policy.

“It’s an ever-moving sector,” Siobhán says. “There are always new things to learn and implement.” In her current role at PwC, she works with “a diverse set of colleagues who have specialist skills in everything from strategy to people and organisation, to cybersecurity – any kind of transformation challenge you can think of. I help them connect from a sectoral basis, what are the needs of our clients and what’s happening in the sector, so we combine our skill sets to tackle the problems that our clients need to solve.”

Those problems can encompass a range of things, but examples include collecting and analysing data to measure targets, moves towards decarbonisation, or changing their investment strategies. “It can be quite difficult for companies who’ve been in a different business mode but we’re definitely seeing a willingness there,” Siobhán says. “They want to understand more about how they’re operating today, and then what steps they need to take to align with their ESG goals.”

We can help clients look at different scenarios, what’s changing in the world – how do they react and how do they plan? It’s sustainably operating for today, but very much into the future.

The energy aspect of a company’s environmental focus is particularly topical at the moment, with almost daily headlines about climate change, and the need for decarbonisation and energy security. “All of those factors drive how companies in the sector have to operate their businesses, the kinds of targets they set, and the kinds of challenges they have,” Siobhán says. “Those topics are heightened and complex, so we deal with driving activity strategically in what companies are doing, but also how they operate day to day as well.”

And while ESG is always driven by regulations and legislation, as Siobhán points out, these are often a perfect starting point for considering what is the best action for the business, both now and in the future. “Those things can be useful to put a frame on how you answer the question of what is this company doing for our stakeholders, our customers, our employees, our investors? How do we show that we’re doing the right thing and what we care about? We can help clients look at different scenarios, what’s changing in the world around them – how do they react and how do they plan? It’s sustainably operating for today, but very much into the future because these are things that will give benefits to the company but also wider society.”

Working in the energy sector, while Siobhán sees the impact of large companies making positive changes, she also points out that even small actions can make a difference, in business or in our own day-to-day habits, “whether that’s taking public transport or changing how you buy clothes. All those little things add up. People can be overwhelmed by the number of choices, but small steps are good steps and they lead you on to other things.” 

In her own life, she has taken steps including buying less, but buying better quality, and living near Dublin city centre, transport is a big one for her. “Choices around public transport, walking, cycling, those are easier for me to make, so I absolutely do. I also find the social aspect of ESG very important – thinking about where things come from, how things are made, how people are treated, how they’re paid, so I also like to think about the kinds of businesses I support day-to-day.”

It’s the same in business – from small companies taking their first steps to improving their carbon footprint to large organisations making far-reaching changes, it’s all important in achieving our larger goals. 

As someone with intimate knowledge of the energy sector, a trend that Siobhán is particularly interested in is a shift towards the interaction of technology and energy usage. “We as users can get more information on how we’re using energy. There’s now an intersection with the tech and digital worlds. That is going to develop in the coming years, and will help people make changes in their home or their business.” It’s just the latest innovation in this industry that is always innovating. 

PwC works with businesses from all sectors to bring their expertise and insight to climate and sustainability considerations; from defining your ESG strategy to reporting effectively. To find out how PwC can support your business, visit pwc.ie/esg.